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Local author visits library

Tyler Curotte

Tyler Curotte

It’s been a long time coming for self-published Mohawk author Tara White. 

The local author visited the Kahnawake Library this past Sunday, where she read one of her children’s books and did an activity with the children, followed by a reading of an excerpt from her latest novel, Finding Joy, as well as a question-and-answer session where she spoke about her experiences as an Indigenous author.

White, who was born in Kahnawake, moved off the reserve to the Greater Toronto Area when she was 10.

White is a full-time accountant who works as an author in her free time. She embarked on a mission to publish 12 books this year, one for every month. She is successfully on track to meet her goal, as she published five this year and is expected to finalize her sixth book sometime this coming week.

Finding Joy follows the life of a woman rediscovering herself after the death of her husband and her three children moving away for school. After turning to social media and television, she begins a journey of self-discovery and healing to discover her true self and sense of purpose.

White, who published her first book in 2006 through traditional channels, decided to self-publish after facing rejections and being limited in the stories she could tell.

She uses storytelling to work through her own complex identity issues. Many of her stories draw upon her personal lived experiences regarding dealing with and discovering what her biracial identity means to her.

“The Kahnawake Library has hosted an author or illustrator once a year since 2007 in conjunction with Canadian Children’s Book Week,” said Melanie Phillips-Kirby, the children’s library coordinator at the Kahnawake Library. “The library is the ideal place to encourage and enhance literacy. By supporting and promoting authors, it may inspire others to become authors themselves.”

White enjoyed writing from a young age, creating books during childhood. However, it was only after giving birth to her daughter in 2002 that she was inspired to take writing classes and began to seriously consider becoming an author as a profession.

She published two books through a traditional publishing company. Her first book, “I Like Who I Am,” was published in 2008 and follows a young girl, Celina, who struggles with her biracial identity after moving to her mother’s reserve for the first time and deciding whether or not to dance in the powwow. It’s a touching story about bullying and self-acceptance. 

White now publishes books under her own publishing company, Whispering Woods Books, Inc.

Inspiration often strikes White at random times, as she wrote most of her book “A Hippo Swimming In My Bathtub” as a voice memo on her phone while on her way to a client meeting. 

When asked if she had any advice for young, aspiring writers, she said, “Just start writing. I know for me, the hardest thing when writing is finding the time, and when life gets busy, that was the thing I always pushed aside.” White said. 

“So now I am making that effort to focus and put in the time. I always joke that my brain is at my fingertips, and as soon as I sit at a computer, that’s when the stories come out. Even if it’s only for five minutes.”

tyler@easterndoor.com

This article was originally published in print on June 28 in issue 33.26 of The Eastern Door.

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