Barrow author will wear her atikluk to New York awards ceremony

Via Scoop.itNunavut

“My Name is Not Easy” by Debby Edwardson
is a young adult novel about a group of Inupiat children sent away to boarding school in the 1960s. And now, the author has been nominated for a National Book Award.
[excerpt] One Monday morning in October a phone rang in Barrow, and the news on the other end made Debby Edwardson’s heart stop. Rest assured, it was good news. Edwardson’s third book, “My Name is Not Easy,” was named as a finalist for the National Book Award. The National Book Foundation has been recognizing excellence in literature for more than 60 years. “My Name is Not Easy” is a young adult novel about a group of Inupiat children sent away to boarding school in the 1960s. The story follows their hope, homesickness and bonding as they try to navigate a world very different from the one they were born into. The National Book Foundation website described the novel: “Luke knows his Iñupiaq name is full of sounds white people can’t say. So he leaves it behind when he and his brothers are sent to boarding school hundreds of miles away from their Arctic village. At Sacred Heart School, students — Eskimo, Indian, White — line up on different sides of the cafeteria like there’s some kind of war going on. Here, speaking Iñupiaq — or any Native language — is forbidden.” Edwardson has lived in Barrow for more than 30 years, where she has worked as an educator, among other professions, and raised seven children. For this novel, she drew on boarding school stories from many neighbors and family members, including her husband, George Edwardson. She said her goal initially was to give the young people of the North Slope a story to relate to. See also: Alaska author named finalist for National Book Award – The Christian Science Monitor | Oct 13, 2011 #5 “My Name Is Not Easy,” by Debby Dahl Edwardson (Marshall Cavendish) Amiq, Luke, Chickie, Junior, Bunna, and Sonny are Alaskan natives who have been taken from their families and forced to attend Catholic boarding schools. Based on some ugly history of the 1960s, this work of fiction is aimed at young adults and addresses questions of race and justice.


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