DAVID A. ROBERTSON
Author, Freelancer, Public Speaker
For booking inquiries, click here.
DAVID A. ROBERTSON (he, him) was the 2021 recipient of the Writers’ Union of Canada Freedom to Read Award as well as the Globe and Mail Children's Storyteller of the Year. He is the author of numerous books for young readers including When We Were Alone, which won the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award and the McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People Award. The Barren Grounds, Book 1 of the middle-grade The Misewa Saga series, was shortlisted for the Ontario Library Association’s Silver Birch Award, and was a finalist for the 2020 Governor General’s Literary Award. The Stone Child, Book 2 of The Misewa Saga, won the McNally Robinson Best Book for Young People Award. David's memoir, Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory, was a Globe and Mail and Quill & Quire book of the year in 2020, and won the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction and the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award at the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards. On The Trapline, illustrated by Julie Flett, won David's second Governor General's Literary Award, the TD Canadian Children's Literature Award, and was named one of the best picture books of 2021 by the CCBC, The Horn Book, New York Public Library, Quill & Quire, and American Indians in Children's Literature. Dave is the writer and host of the podcast Kíwew (Key-Way-Oh), winner of the 2021 RTDNA Prairie Region Award for Best Podcast. His first adult fiction novel, The Theory of Crows, was published in 2022 and won a second Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award at the 2023 Manitoba Book Awards. He is a member of Norway House Cree Nation and currently lives in Winnipeg.
Dave's Books, Podcast, and Selected Anthology Contributions
"David A. Robertson has written such a fine, beautiful novel. He manages to combine hard truths about our history with a Narnia-like fantasy, sweeping us into the world of the story while opening our hearts as well." --Susin Nielsen, author of We Are All Made of Molecules and No Fixed Address
"This middle-grade fantasy deftly and compellingly centers Indigenous culture." --STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
“This is a book that is rich in its characterization, evocative in its descriptions, and skillful in its weaving together of traditions of the past and life in the present.” --CM Magazine
“[T]he treatment of Cree culture resonates, and the engaging characters and folklore ensure readers will look forward to the next installment.” --Publishers Weekly
“Reminiscent of C.S. Lewis’s Narnia stories, this fantasy is very much its own tale of ruptured Indigenous culture, of environmental reciprocity and care.” --Toronto Star
“The Barren Grounds has a strong message about living with the earth and not taking more than you need.” --Toronto Public Library
Praise for The Barren Grounds
“An outstanding contribution to the literature about family, intergenerational friendship, remembrance, community, Indigenous experience, and more.” —STARRED REVIEW, The Horn Book
“Robertson’s text is as spare as Flett’s artwork, leaving plenty of space for readers to feel the emotions evoked by both.” —STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews
“A deeply affecting journey of memory and history.” —STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly
“This second collaboration between the Governor-General’s Award-winning writer-illustrator team — who share common Cree ancestry — focuses on the connection between a boy and his moshom (grandpa) as they travel by plane, foot and boat to the northern wilderness, where a young moshom once lived off the land with his family.” —Globe and Mail
"Reading this quiet and beautiful picture book is a perfect way for caregivers and children to bond over storytime." —Canadian Children’s Book Centre
“[A] powerful story well told in an understated manner.” —CM: Canadian Review of Materials
“On the Trapline is a stunning picture book that highlights Indigenous values, including the deep connections to family and the land.” —Mutually Inclusive
Praise for On the Trapline
“When someone lives their life in a good way, the Haisla call them handsome people. David A. Robertson’s biography is the perfect example of someone who takes care with his words and speaks respectfully; he tackles identity and racism, family bonds and breaks, with nuance and honesty. The power of this approach makes Black Water an essential and timely book.” - Eden Robinson, bestselling author of The Trickster Trilogy
“Black Water is a deeply moving book about “[t]he experiences of one generation felt by the next, and the next after that… engrained in us through the stories we pass down as gifts.” David A. Robertson writes of kinship and his father with enormous care, heart, and courage.” - David Chariandy, acclaimed author of Brother and I’ve Been Meaning to Tell You
“A story is a gift, and with Black Water, David A. Robertson is at his most generous. He shares, with candour and tenderness, a personal story of father-son love, deftly weaving it into a larger social and political history of loss, trauma, survival and resurgence. At once intimate and expansive, this is a story of healing and home.” - Rachel Giese, author of Boys: What it Means to Become a Man
“David A Robertson's memoir is rich in lore and insight and compassion. He explores Cree values and ideas and their richness and relevance in contemporary life. He does so by taking us through the story of one Indigenous family's journey through the twentieth century in Canada. We are faced with horrors and great loss, but also extraordinary warmth and heroics and a family who refused to ever be defined by anyone but themselves. A wondrous history lesson about love.” - Heather O’Neill, award-winning author of The Lonely Hearts Hotel
“This is the book I never knew I was waiting for but my whole body recognized when I read it. Black Water is mesmerizing, difficult, inviting, and tremendously gorgeous. It is a love letter about coming home. We are all better people because of the journey David took with his dad and I am forever grateful for having been allowed to accompany them. David A. Robertson is a treasure: kind, honest, and a master of storytelling. This is him at his best, and while I’m not sure we deserve him, we sure as hell need him.” - Cherie Dimaline, bestselling author of The Marrow Thieves and Empire of Wild
"An honest and moving memoir that builds an emotional crescendo . . . .A richly revealing account that is revealing yet respectful." - Galleries West
"A beautiful story of family and cultural ties remade anew." - Chatelaine
Praise for Black Water
"Each spread is compelling in its own way, offering remarkable depictions of resilience and the strong emotional ties within this family. An empowering and important story."
—Booklist, a starred review
"A quiet story…of love and resistance.… Flett’s collage illustrations, with their simplicity and earthy colors, are soulful and gentle…. All readers will connect with how Nókom lives in celebration of colors, her long hair, her language, and, most of all, her family."
—The Horn Book Magazine, a starred review
"When We Were Alone is exquisite and stunning, for the power conveyed by the words Robertson wrote, and for the illustrations that Flett created. I highly recommend it."
—Debbie Reese, American Indians in Children’s Literature
"Wow! Beautiful, painful, and shining with truth and dignity. Bravo!"
—Richard Van Camp, Author
"Spare, poetic, and moving, this Cree heritage story makes a powerful impression."
"When We Were Alone is one of our favourite picture books."
—CCBC’s Author’s Corner
Praise for When We Were Alone
"The Theory of Crows flies in the face of the expected, showing us how a suburban, swim-meet-attending, med-taking family's experience is as Indigenous as any other. David Robertson's vivid storytelling shows us in heart-aching detail that while his characters may not live on their homeland, their homeland lives on in them."
- Wab Kinew, author of The Reason You Walk
"This novel, completely absorbing and utterly transporting, has a father and daughter relationship at its centre and explores the healing that comes only through knowing the past. Honest, raw, and hopeful, this is a book I read with my heart in my mouth as they become lost and found by the land."
-Claire Cameron, author of The Last Neanderthal
"A brilliantly empathetic story that is both gentle and fierce."
-Thea Lim, author of An Ocean of Minutes
"In weaving together themes of identity, belonging, grief, and land, The Theory of Crows is a novel that approaches rapture."
-Yann Martel, author of The Life of Pi
"A family on the brink of shattering finds its way through ancient teachings of infinite connection and the roots of truth in the earth's living memory."
-Michelle Good, author of Five Little Indians
Praise for The Theory of Crows
"Your moshom used to talk about the crows. They would erupt from the trees like shards of night and circle above in a dance."
The Theory of Crows
CONTACT & PRESENTATION REQUESTS
David's standard hourly rate for virtual/local classroom presentations is $500/hour.
Multiple classes per virtual session is $750.
Keynotes, workshops, PD sessions, and more, are negotiated.
The form contact is not working reliably, so please contact David directly at the following email address: