The Break

Published in 2016 by House of Anansi Press

Nominated for the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction,  the Rogers Trust Fiction Prize, and a finalist in Canada Reads and is now a Heather's Pick at Chapters Indigo

When Stella, a young Métis mother, looks out her window one evening and spots someone in trouble on the Break — a barren field on an isolated strip of land outside her house — she calls the police to alert them to a possible crime.

In a series of shifting narratives, people who are connected, both directly and indirectly, with the victim — police, family, and friends — tell their personal stories leading up to that fateful night. Lou, a social worker, grapples with the departure of her live-in boyfriend. Cheryl, an artist, mourns the premature death of her sister Rain. Paulina, a single mother, struggles to trust her new partner. Phoenix, a homeless teenager, is released from a youth detention centre. Officer Scott, a Métis policeman, feels caught between two worlds as he patrols the city. Through their various perspectives a larger, more comprehensive story about lives of the residents in Winnipeg’s North End is exposed.

A powerful intergenerational family saga, The Break showcases Vermette’s abundant writing talent and positions her as an exciting new voice in Canadian literature.


North End Love Songs

Published in 2012 by The Muses' Company

Winner of the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry, 2013

Cover Art for North End Love Songs

For Katherena Vermette, Winnipeg's North End is a neighbourhood of colourful birds, stately elms, and always wily rivers. It is where a brother's disappearance is trivialized by local media and police because he is young and aboriginal. It is also where young girls share secrets, movies, cigarettes, Big Gulps and stories of love -- where a young mother full of both maternal trepidation and joy watches her small daughters as they play in the park.

Praise for North End Love Songs

"In spare, minimalist language, North End Love Songs attends to the demands of Indigenous and European poetics, braiding an elegant journey that takes us from Winnipeg’s North End out into the world. We enter the undocumented lives of its citizens and celebrate them through Katherena Vermette’s beautiful poems." (GGLA Poetry Judges' Note 2013) 
"North End Love Songs is a debut collection from an emerging Winnipeg poet, a book that combines elegiac and fiercely ecstatic melodies to sing of a complicated love for a city, a river, and a neighbourhood. It is deep rooted in its location, yet will reach out to readers everywhere with its harsh and beautiful tunings of growing up female in Winnipeg's North End." (Tanis MacDonald from Prairie Fire Magazine)


Seven Teachings Stories

Published by Portage and Main Press, 2014 & 2015

The Just Right Gift

The Singing Sisters

The First Day

Kode's Quest(ion)

Amik Loves School

Misaabe's Stories

What's Truth, Betsy? 

The Seven Teachings Stories are inspired by the Seven Sacred Teachings of the Anishinaabe—love, wisdom, humility, courage, respect, honesty, and truth. These stories are set in urban landscapes, Indigenous children tell familiar stories about home, school, and community. The first four were published in December 2014, and the last three in March 2015.

Praise for The Seven Teachings Stories
"Katherena Vermette’s The Seven Teachings Stories are joyous, vivid, and have an irresistible cadence. But the stories have something more. Rich in culture and traditional knowledge, Katherena’s series addresses important topics—such as the residential school system — with the very teachings the series embodies: love, respect, courage, honesty, wisdom, humility, and truth."  
(David Alexander Robertson, author of Betty)
"The books are not only beautifully illustrated and engaging; they provide the children and families valuable cultural lessons making it easy for me to share the indigenous traditional world views contained in my classes. I have been using the books several times a week right from receiving them, during the 2014 holiday season. I have plans to invest in another set so I can provide borrowing opportunities to my families as well as use them as door prize gifts at special events.
One unique feature I truly enjoy is the books share the Anishinabemowin language, helping to spark greater use of the language. Many times I find myself teaching a bit more Ojibwe than the day’s lesson plan as teachable moments present themselves often when I am reading these books. I recommend these early readers to almost anyone as they are precious in so many facets both at home and in the schools."
(Ko'ona Cochrane, Anishnaabekwe Cultural Teacher)