Tomson Highway, playwright, novelist (b at Brochet, Man 6 Dec 1951). He was raised on the Brochet Reserve in northwest Manitoba and educated at the University of Manitoba and the University of Western Ontario, where he studied music and English literature and worked with playwright James REANEY. Tomson Highway's plays, which concern native society and dramatize the beauty, durability and optimism of native culture, include The Sage, the Dancer and the Fool (1984), Aria (1987) and Annie and the Old One (1988). His 2 best-known works, The Rez Sisters (1986), which focuses on the dreams and fears of 7 female characters, and its flip-side sequel, Dry Lips Oughta Move to Kapuskasing (1989), which features 7 males struggling with various preoccupations, both won the Dora Mavor Moore Award. Set on the fictional native reserve of Wasaychigan Hill in Ontario, both plays include a highly theatrical Trickster who is as pivotal and important a figure in the native world as Christ is in the realm of Christian mythology. In contrast to the life-affirming impulse and humour of The Rez Sisters, Dry Lips is a darker, more violent, and disturbing drama, though it offers hope that healing can take place. In Tomson Highway's first novel, Kiss of the Fur Queen (1998), 2 Cree brothers are removed from their homeland in northern Manitoba and enrolled in a boarding school 300 miles away. Subjected to abuse, hostility and humiliation, followed by violent confrontations on the racist streets of Winnipeg, the boys suffer a harsh transition to city life. The novel, however, also traces the brothers' artistic destinies and their lifelong triumph over tragedy.
Ken Rockburn interviews award-winning playwright Tomson Highway.
Highway, Tomson The playwright first gained recognition with his play The Rez Sisters (photo by Thomas King).
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The Carol Libman Online Script Collection
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See a list of published works and a biography of acclaimed Canadian playwright Tomson Highway.
A profile of Tomson Highway, the first Aboriginal writer to be inducted into the Order of Canada. From the Canadian Theatre Encyclopedia.
The universe of Tomson Highway
Playwright Tomson Highway discusses the challenges of reconciling the unique qualities of Cree and English in the writing process. From the Quill & Quire website.
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