Rudy Kelly was born and raised in Prince Rupert, British Columbia, the fourth son of eight children of Tsimshian First Nation Chiefs, Henry and Shirley Kelly. He is a member of the Gitsi’is (Raven) tribe. Construction Foundation’s Catalyst, Indigenous Communities, Dean Heron sat down with Kelly to discuss his career as an author and the inspiration behind his ‘All Native’ novel.
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A writer at an early age, Kelly wrote a weekly classroom magazine for his Grade 4 class, which included super-hero stories incorporating his classmates. He also wrote short stories and poetry throughout his school years, and into college. He earned a Diploma in Journalism at Mount Royal College in Calgary and was a reporter at a daily newspaper for 10 years.
“I loved comics and I loved stories and I used to read a lot as a kid too,” Kelly explained. “I just started writing my own stories as a kid when I was nine or ten.”
Kelly has been involved in theatre for over 20 years, having written 10 full-length plays and over 100 skits and stand-up comedy routines. At regional theatre festivals, he has been awarded two Best Director Awards, one Best Actor award, and two awards for Original Play.
Recently, Kelly fulfilled a life-long dream to write a novel. In January, 2020, his first novel, titled ‘All Native’, was published by Muskeg Press and is currently about to go to a second printing.
“I had seen other publications on the ‘All Native’ [indigenous basketball tournament] and they were all kind of dry,” Kelly explained. “Just saying who won, who the best players were and that sort of stuff…I thought it would be more interesting to tell it through a narrative instead, through the eyes of a child and then a teenager.”
You can view Dean Heron’s full interview with Rudy Kelly by clicking HERE.