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In an age where the South looks to the North and sees only empty polar landscapes, isolated communities and exploitable resources, this essay reminds us how important it is to note that the Inuit homeland encompasses extensive philosophical, political, and literary tradition. Keavy Martin considers writing, storytelling, and performance from a range of genres and historical periods – the classic stories and songs of Inuit oral traditions, life writing, oral histories, and contemporary fiction, poetry and film – and discusses the ways in which these texts constitute an autonomous literary tradition. She draws attention to the interconnection between language, form and context and illustrates the capacity of Inuit writers, singers and storytellers to instruct diverse audiences in the appreciation of Inuit texts. This reflection builds on the inherent adaptability and resilience of Inuit genres in order to foster greater southern awareness of a tradition whose audience has remained primarily northern.

Keavy Martin, Stories in a New Skin. Approaches to Inuit Literature in Nunavut, Winnipeg, University of Manitoba Press, “Contemporary Studies on the North” series, 2012, 180 p.

ISBN 978-0-88755-736-1