Michelle received a $25,000 cash prize for the Governor General’s Literary Award in Fiction and a $60,000 cash prize for the Amazon First Novel Award.
Set in the 1960’s, Five Little Indians chronicles the criss-crossing lives of residential-school survivors struggling to overcome the trauma they endured during their years at the school. Taken from their families when they were very young and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie, and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. Alone and without any skills, support, or family, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends intertwine over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the school.
Five Little Indians, Michelle’s first novel, won the 2018 HarperCollins/UBC Best New Fiction Prize. Michelle earned her MFA in Creative Writing while practicing law and managing her own law firm. She is a Cree writer and a member of the Red Pheasant Cree Nation in Saskatchewan. Michelle now lives and writes in the southern interior British Columbia.