Naomi Fontaine

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Naomi Fontaine
Born(1987-09-29)September 29, 1987
OccupationNovelist, Teacher
Literary movementCanLit
Notable works
  • Kuessipan
  • Manikanetish

Naomi Fontaine is a Canadian writer from Quebec,[1] noted as one of the most prominent First Nations writers in contemporary francophone Canadian literature.[2]


A member of the Innu nation from Uashat, Quebec, she studied education at the Université Laval.[3]

Her 2011 debut novel Kuessipan[4] received an honourable mention from the Prix des cinq continents de la francophonie in 2012.[5] Kuessipan is an meditative novel about life in the wilds of northeastern Quebec. Fontaine wrote this novel in French at the age of twenty-three. She depicts a community of Innu, nomadic hunters and fishers, and of hard-working mothers and their children, enduring a harsh, sometimes cruel reality with quiet dignity. Pervading the book is a palpable sense of place and time played out as a series of moments. Elders who watch their kin grow up before their eyes; couples engaged in domestic crises, and young people undone by alcohol; caribou-skin drums that bring residents to their feet; and lives spent along a bay that reflects the beauty of the earth and the universal truth that life is a fleeting puzzle whose pieces must be put together before it can be fully lived.[6]

Her second novel, Manikanetish, was published in 2017,[3] and was a shortlisted finalist for the Governor General's Award for French-language fiction at the 2018 Governor General's Awards.[7] Also in 2017, her short piece "Tshinanu" was selected for inclusion in Granta's Canadian issue.[8]

Manikanetish was selected for the 2019 edition of Le Combat des livres, where it was defended by surgeon Stanley Vollant.[9]


  • Kuessipan. Mémoire d'encrier, 2011
    • English transl. David Homel: Kuessipan. Arsenal Pulp Press 2013
  • Manikanetish. Mémoire d'encrier, 2013
  • Avec Olivier Dezutter, Jean-François Létourneau éd.: Tracer un chemin: Meshkanatsheu. Hannenorak, 2017


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