Classic Catalog

A Mind Spread Out on the Ground

by Alicia Elliot

About the Book

Named for the Mohawk phrase for depression, A Mind Spread Out on the Ground is a light shined on darkness.

Haudenosaunee author Alicia Elliott looks at many serious subjects in this essay collection. She has lived with depression from a very early age. She grew up poor in a family that struggled with both alcohol and mental illness. Learning she was pregnant in high school shook her dreams of becoming a writer. As the daughter of a white mother and a Native American father, she saw the tension of race and existing between two worlds. 

For everything she has been through, Elliott doesn’t dwell on her own hardship. Her past is something she wants to learn and move on from. She uses her memories as a starting point to study these topics on a bigger scale. The pain she sees in the people she loves has deep roots. Many of these essays bounce between the personal and historical to get to its source. She speaks with sensitivity on issues that affect millions of people. They do not have easy solutions, and looking for answers only leads to more questions. Looking in the dark takes courage, and seeing light encourages others to search for it too.

About the Author

Alicia Elliott is a Tuscarora writer whose work has appeared in The Washington Post, Vice, Maclean’s and more.

Nominated several times for National Magazine Awards, her nonfiction essays won Gold in 2017. Her short fiction has appeared in Best American Short Stories 2018 and Best Canadian Stories 2018. She is the creative nonfiction editor at The Fiddlehead. A Mind Spread Out On the Ground is her first book. Elliott is from Six Nations of the Grand River, and currently lives in Brantford, Ontario.

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