The Book That Changed Your Life: Carleigh Baker

    1 of 2 2 of 2

      The Word Vancouver festival is gearing up for its 2017 edition with a huge and inclusive lineup of authors, appearing at venues around town from September 19 to 24.

      We asked a group of these acclaimed writers to tell us about their most memorable reading experiences. Which books shaped their imaginations early on? Which ones taught them the power of the written word?

      Here’s what local author Carleigh Baker told us. Among Baker’s most recent work is the widely admired short-story collection Bad Endings. She’ll be reading from it at 12:25 p.m. on September 24, on the Suspension Bridge stage outside the central branch of the Vancouver Public Library.

      I'm happy to share the work that took my understanding of the power of storytelling to a new level: Thomas King’s Massey Lectures, The Truth About Stories: A Native Narrative.

      King breaks down the impact of storytelling on history, religion, and politics, but he also shares some humorous and valuable insights on common issues for Indigenous writers. In “You’re Not the Indian I Had in Mind”, King talks about not appearing “Native enough” for non-Indigenous audiences early on in his career, and how a fringed suede jacket and beaded choker helped him to achieve an image that satisfied his critics.

      As an urban Métis who was raised outside her culture, this really resonated with me, and allowed me to laugh about my own insecurities. In The Truth About Stories, and I dare say everything King writes, he entertains and educates.

      His ability to confront hard truths with honesty and humour informs my storytelling to this day.