Governor General's Literary Awards

Indian Arm

Indian Arm

By Hiro Kanagawa

Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press



The uneasy intersection of privilege and birthright is explored in this modern adaptation of Henrik Ibsen’s Little Eyolf. Rita and Alfred live in an isolated cabin on native land overlooking Indian Arm, a still-untamed glacial fjord north of Vancouver, BC. Rita takes care of their adopted son Wolfie, a sensitive First Nations teen designated as “special needs.” But when Alfred returns early from a retreat and Rita’s alluring half-sister Asta visits, Rita’s resentments are pushed to their peak as both needle her with their own ideas of how to nurture Wolfie. When Janice, the surviving member of the Indigenous family who leased the land to Rita and Asta’s father comes to them for help, the fragile ground they’ve built their lives on is about to break. Each are engulfed by the secrets and contradictions of their lives and the land itself, and their stories are drawn inexorably toward an unspeakable tragedy.

"Indian Arm is a timely and evocative manifestation of the characters’ struggle with their relationship to the land. Hiro Kanagawa masterfully navigates the tension between Indigenous and settler identities as they work to figure out how we can live together. Mythic. Heart-breaking. Poetic."

- Peer assessment committee

Hiro Kanagawa
Hiro Kanagawa


Hiro Kanagawa wins his first Governor General's Literary Award in 2017 with Indian Arm. Although best known as an actor, he was a story editor on several critically-acclaimed Canadian television series: Da Vinci's Inquest, Da Vinci's City Hall, Intelligence, and Blackstone. His plays Tiger of Malaya and The Patron Saint of Stanley Park have been performed across Canada. His distinctions include an Asians on Film award and Jessie Richardson Awards for both acting and writing. Indian Arm previously received the 2015 Jessie Award for Outstanding Original Script. Hiro lives in Port Moody, BC with his wife and two children and is a youth football coach.

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