Van Camp's World

Fine Arts

Writing grad and storyteller extraordinaire Richard Van Camp (BFA ’97) is back with a new book, Moccasin Square Gardens—a title referring to the nickname for a dance hall in Fort Smith, NWT, where the author grew up. Van Camp, a member of the Dogrib (Tłı̨chǫ) Dene Nation, is the author of 20 books for adults and children, including the acclaimed novel The Lesser Blessed, workshopped during his time at UVic, as well as bestselling children’s books such as We Sang You Home and Little You.

His latest book is a collection of short stories, many of which display his trademark wit, lively dialogue and penchant for pop culture. The collection includes parody addressing cultural scourges such as Man Babies, as well as futuristic horror about monsters called Wheetago that devour humans and returned to earth because of greed and global warming. Other stories feature time travel, aliens and alienation, Sky People and aunties, shamans and archivists—all from Denendeh, the land of the people north of the sixtieth parallel. The Edmonton resi­dent also explores some painful subjects, such as in the rumi­native “I Have to Trust.”

I Have to Trust

that all the friends and family we’ve lost along our


are the first to hold the babies who never made it into

our hands

or left too soon

So that when we see each other at the great feast in

the sky

our loved ones will hand us our beautiful babies first

and hold them with us together

to become an even bigger family

and be whole in our hearts and spirits



From Moccasin Square Gardens: Short Stories, by Richard Van Camp © 2019. Douglas & McIntyre. Reprinted with the permission of the publisher.


In this story

Keywords: alumni, writing

People: Richard Van Camp

Publication: The Torch

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