Sheridan Reads: Moon of the Crusted Snow

Story by Taneal Lockstadt, Cassy Nicholls and Kael Blackburn

Sheridan Reads returned March 9th to welcome Anishinaabe journalist/author Waubgeshig Rice and his novel Moon of the Crusted Snow. A conversation between Rice and Naben Ruthnum, took place at Sheridan College’s Mississauga campus to discuss the book and offer an insider’s look at the sequel, Moon of the Turning Leaves.

Moon of the Crusted Snow, a post-apocalyptic novel explores a small northern Anishinaabe community as it goes dark just before winter. As the confused community becomes overwhelmed with panic and a dwindling food supply, an unexpected visitor arrives from the crumbling south. As the society collapses, a new one is born. The bestselling novel, published by ECW Press, is on the Canada Reads 2023 longlist.

Rice speaks on the importance of holding events like Sheridan Reads, “There’s so many different bits of wisdom that you can receive in just an hour-long conversation. Bringing people working in various professions into post-secondary education, at any time is just massive for any student.”

Sheridan Reads is a reading event that allows for students, staff and faculty connect with community groups, libraries and organizations within Mississauga, Oakville and Brampton to discuss and honour the work of writers, home and abroad. The Creative Writing and Publishing degree program at Sheridan College allows students to take an event planning course in their fourth year. Many students then join the student planning committee which was the key to the development of the Waubgeshig Rice event.

For six weeks students have been planning and curating the event. Genevieve Amaral, Associate Dean of Humanities and Creativity commended the committee for its work on the event and the ‘conscientiousness around the needs of their community and outreach”. The main focus of these events is to find an interest within a wide community. Novels chosen are usually timely and current to what’s happening around us, while also showcasing voices that may not always be heard.

It really spoke to hopefulness around a post-disaster moment which we’re all living right now.

Genevieve Amaral

Naben Ruthnum, the 2022-2023 Creative Writing & Publishing Writer-in-Residence, has a pre-existing relationship with Rice which helped students bring the event to life. Ruthnum believes events like this are important for students and allows people to get excited about writing. “It helps students know that it’s actually totally okay to take writing seriously and to take art seriously because theres guys like Waub who do that and they do it for a living and they do really well at it and their work is important” he states.

For students seeking creativity, Sheridan College provides many programs and organizations to find your passion – especially with events like Sheridan Reads. Outside of this, Rice believes social media and technology is a powerful tool to learn from.

You’re a storyteller already. It’s just a matter of building on that and it’s a developmental process that can really help you flourish.

Waubgeshig Rice

All Sheridan students, staff and faculty as well as interested members of the broader community were invited to the free event. An hour-long conversation between Naben and Waubgeshig was followed by questions from the audience and a book signing.