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Robin McGrath (CA)

Life on the Mista Shipu: Dispatches from Labrador

Life on the Mista Shipu: Dispatches from Labrador

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In Life on the Mista Shipu, Robin McGrath acts as a navigator, guiding locals and visitors alike around parts of Labrador—particularly the interior—that are too often overlooked. In doing so, she offers candid glimpses of human and natural history, of local colour and characters, and of the culture of the three founding peoples of modern Labrador. Although a native of Newfoundland, she had spent much of her working life in what was then the Northwest Territories, now Nunavut. McGrath, a Newfoundland native, moved to Labrador in 2006, eager to learn, explore, and write in the Big Land. Over the next decade, she opened her ears and eyes to the people and places around her and wrote dozens of captivating articles and essays about her experiences. Labrador is very, very different from Newfoundland, and very different from the more northern parts of Canada also. Its geography is varied, its languages are complex, its history is unique. In her time there she met some of the nicest, bravest, most interesting people she has ever known. Innu activist Elizabeth Penashue and her husband Francis brought her into a part of Labrador that most people never see. Into the country, to the sweatlodges and remote beaches and into the homes and tents of their friends and relatives. They brought her to religious services, baby showers and funerals, berry picking and on fishing trips. This book is a collection of more than 50 of these pieces. The Mista Shipu is known as the Churchill River in English.

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Boulder Books


Robin McGrath is the author or editor of 15 books and has published more than 200 articles in magazines such as Canada's History, Inuit Art Quarterly, Fiddlehead and Room of One's Own. McGrath was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize (2003) for Donovan's Station, the Geldert Medal (2004) for her article, "Simon Solomon: Newfoundland's First Postmaster," and the first annual Heritage and History Award (2004) for Donovan's Station. She is a member of The Writers' Union of Canada and the Letterset Association of Newfoundland and Labrador. She reviews regularly for The Telegram and has a monthly column in The North East Avalon Times. She now lives in Harbour Main, NL.

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