Armand Garnet Ruffo draws on his Ojibway heritage for his writing. Born in Chapleau, northern Ontario, his roots extend to the Sagamok Ojibway First Nation and the Fox Lake Chapleau Cree First Nation. His publications include Grey Owl: the Mystery of Archie Belaney (Coteau Books, 1997); At Geronimo’s Grave (Coteau Books, 2001), winner of the Archibald Lampman Award for poetry; Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird (D&M, 2014), nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Award; and The Thunderbird Poems (Harbour Publishing, 2015). His recently co-edited An Introduction to Indigenous Literary Criticism (Broadview, 2016). Ruffo is currently the “Queen’s National Scholar in Indigenous Literature” at Queen’s University in Kingston.
His compelling biography delves into the life of Norval Morrisseau, a self-taught Ojibway artist who rose to prominence to become one of the most innovative and important Canadian painters of the 20th century. He was a charismatic – and troubled – figure who first started drawing sketches and age six in the sand on the shores of Lake Nipigon. He became a great internationally-known success, but struggled with alcoholism, often trading his art for booze, and landing in jail while his wife and children lived in poverty.
photo: Pearl Pirie
Years Participated: 2016