Napatsi Folger is a literary artist from Iqaluit, NU, currently living in North Vancouver, BC. Her primary artistic practice is creative writing, specifically in the genres of comic art, fiction and nonfiction, and she also draws and beads. The experience of being Inuk and Indigenous and family relationships are prominent themes across her writing.
Folger has been a storyteller her whole life, creating comics and narratives for friends and family since childhood. While working in policy for the Government of Nunavut, she wrote a children’s book for Inuit about Inuit, called Joy of Apex (2011). The experience made her passion for writing apparent and led her to complete a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing at the University of British Columbia in 2021.
Growing up in a creative family, Folger’s penchant for storytelling and sense of humour was influenced by her father, Edward Folger, who was a writer, photographer and filmmaker. Other sources of inspiration came from comic artists, such as Art Spiegelman, Indigenous writers like Eden Robinson and Katherine Vermette, and early twentieth-century poets—particularly “the more cerebral approaches of exploring consciousness” found in works by Wallace Stevens, Philip Larkin and William Carlos Williams.1 Folger is also drawn to visual art. Ningiukulu Teevee’s whimsy, for example, evokes joy, laughter and reminds her of home, and the expressive characters in drawings by Maurice Sendak were influential during childhood.
Nonfiction makes up the bulk of Folger’s work, but her favourite medium is comic art because it allows her to embrace a style that layers deep, emotional stories with humour. In 2020 Folger also took up beading after moderating a “De-ICE-olation” workshop during the pandemic, offered by Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership. The session demystified the practice and motivated her to utilize life-long sewing skills and explore a new medium.
Folger has numerous publications. Her nonfiction and fiction work has been featured by the Canadian Heritage Photography Foundation, and can be found in The Town Crier and The Walrus, among others. Recent comic publications include: “First Contact?” (2021) in Carousel Magazine and “Momics” (2020) in Long Con Magazine. Her comic honouring artist Karoo Ashevak appeared on the Spring 2021 cover of the Inuit Art Quarterly, where Folger currently works as an Associate Editor.
In addition to publishing, Folger has been a literary judge, a co-writer for the film treatment of Tia and Piujuq II and has received numerous awards and honours, such as a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada (SSHRC) Graduate Scholarship, an Inuit Futures in Arts Leadership Fellowship from Concordia University, prizes for writing competitions and recognition for her book Joy of Apex (2011), which was featured in Best Books for Kids and Teens 2012.