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Carleigh Baker is a nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân/Icelandic writer. Her debut short story collection Bad Endings won the City of Vancouver Book Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award for fiction. Baker was writer-in-residence at the Berton House Writers’ Retreat in 2019 and a 2020 Jack and Doris Shadbolt Fellow at Simon Fraser University. She is currently completing The Matriarchs, a novel about woefully unprepared environmentalists in Yukon’s Peel River Watershed. An excerpt of this work was published by Hairstreak Butterfly Review. Baker lives in Vancouver. 

Award History

Jury Citation

“In Bad Endings, Carleigh Baker has created a skillfully woven tapestry of stories, centred on strong, contemporary female characters battling for agency over their own lives. Whether standing in a river catching salmon as part of rehab, spending time on a honey farm, or riding the SkyTrain, Baker’s characters are wholly autonomous, and wholly convincing. Their lives are awkward, absurd, beautiful, and desperate. We were impressed by the precisely drawn dilemmas the characters face, the way each story traces a quiet yet inevitable arc. Bad Endings is a work of a profoundly talented writer who wields gentleness, subtlety, and generosity as her tools. These stories are not about happy endings — they are about powerful endings, and we found them nothing short of electrifying.” — 2017 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury (Michael Christie, Christy Ann Conlin, and Tracey Lindberg)

Program History

2020 Rising Star

Rising Stars

Selected by

Thomas King


 “Carleigh Baker is one of those writers who can look at humanity and tell you where the bodies are buried. And she’s happy to dig a few up, dust them off, and send them on their way to find a story. Baker is blessed with an exacting eye for the disturbing and humorous detail and an ability to hear pain and sorrow, joy and delight, a rare talent who can make you smile and cringe and think in the same sentence.” —2020 Writers' Trust Rising Stars selector Thomas King

Works recognized by WT