Wenjack | Penguin Random House Canada
We have updated our Privacy Policy, effective May 25, 2018, to clarify how we collect and process your personal data. By continuing to use this website, you acknowledge that you have read and agree to the updated Privacy Policy.


Publisher: Hamish Hamilton
Shortlisted for the 2017 OLSN Northern Lit Award

An Ojibwe boy runs away from a North Ontario Indian School, not realizing just how far away home is. Along the way he's followed by Manitous, spirits of the forest who comment on his plight, cajoling, taunting, and ultimately offering him a type of comfort on his difficult journey back to the place he was so brutally removed from.

Written by Scotiabank Giller Prize–winning author Joseph Boyden and beautifully illustrated by acclaimed artist Kent Monkman, Wenjack is a powerful and poignant look into the world of a residential school runaway trying to find his way home.


Tonight is the night they line us up and then we climb in the water tub, two, or three of us if we’re real skinny, and we have to wash the back of the one in front. Then we get out and Fish Belly rubs each of us with a wet towel. This means tomorrow is prayer day. I can tell which niijii, which friend, ran away from...
Read More


Shortlisted for the 2017 OLSN Northern Lit Award

“A profoundly sensitive writer with the eye of a painter and a heart as big as the country about which he writes.” —Frederick Barton

“Boyden is such a fine writer, evoking his characters’ emotions in a touching and understandable way.” —Toronto Star

“Boyden continues the difficult conversation of reconciliation by allowing us a glimpse into the frightened mind of a child who only knows that home is where he should be—and that Cecilia Jeffrey Indian Residential School is not it.” —Maclean’s

“Joseph Boyden has written Wenjack, a novella that deftly suffuses Chanie’s tragedy with traditional Aboriginal beliefs…. This is a world of transformations where owls can turn into mice, and fish give themselves voluntarily to fishermen—a world in which all beings are interconnected through the ceaseless interplay of life and death…. At the end of the novella, Boyden shows Chanie in the afterlife dancing and feasting with the animals. The image, meant to convey an ecological and spiritual truth, does little to redeem his final, terrible hours on the tracks.” —Maclean’s
“Chanie Wenjack was just 12 when his body was found beside the railroad tracks just days after he ran away from his residential school in Kenora, Ont. Now, 50 years later, the young Ojibwe boy is being remembered in … this magical novella, the chapters alternating between Chanie’s journey and the spirit animals who document his quest — and wait to receive him when he passes over to their sphere.” —Toronto Star

“It should be required reading.” —CTV News