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U of M Press publishes first English version of Inuit novel, wins award

January 28, 2015 — 

The University of Manitoba Press was honoured by having its cover for Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk’s Sanaaq listed as one of the best covers for 2014 at the annual Book, Jacket, and Journal Show.

The Association of American University Presses hosts the annual competition and it chose just 22 covers out of 330 entries.

The cover of Sanaaq, two glowing tents in the foreground sit against an imposing black background. SANAAQ cuts across the middle of the page and a blurred moon shines brilliantly in the cornerSanaaq’s cover and interiors were designed by Marvin Harder, whose other recent work for University of Manitoba Press includes Rob Alexander Innes’ Elder Brother and the Law of the People, Rick Monture’s We Share Our Matters, and Merle Massie’s Forest Prairie Edge.

Sanaaq’s cover image is by Yaaka M. Yaaka, taken at Wakeham river near Kangirsujuaq, in 2004. This location is meaningful because the author, Mitiarjuk Nappaaluk, wrote Sanaaq while living in Kangirsujuaq in the 1950s in response to a priest who requested she write down some Inuttituk phrases so that he could learn the language. Nappaaluk was 22 at the time and, over the next 20 years, those phrases coalesced into what would be one of the first Inuit novel, and one which the Globe and Mail praised for its sharp humour and striking insights.

UMP’s edition of Sanaaq is the first English edition – it appeared in the original Inuttituk syllabics in 1987 and a French translation appeared in 2002.

The winning entries from the Book, Jacket, and Journal Show are now touring and they will be arriving to the University of Manitoba in February. The U of M Archives & Special Collections will host the stunning display for two weeks, from February 2-13.

The show will be displayed in thirty-five cities this winter, including New York, Seattle, and Chicago. The only other Canadian stop was in Vancouver in January.

A small reception is being planned for the show on February 6 at 2:00 pm.


The University of Manitoba Press publishes 8-12 books a year, many of which end up on best-seller lists. Follow them on twitter (@umanitobapress) or like them on Facebook.



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