The Unseen Ones, Short Stories


Drawing on both lived experience and cultural memory, Norma Dunning brings together six powerful new short stories centred on modern-day Inuk characters in Tainna. Ranging from homeless to extravagantly wealthy, from spiritual to jaded, young to elderly, and even from alive to deceased, Dunning’s characters are united by shared feelings of alienation, displacement and loneliness resulting from their experiences in southern Canada.


  • Winner, Governor General’s Literary Awards 2021
  • Short-listed, Short Story Collection Award at the Alberta Literary Awards 2022
  • Short-listed, ReLit Award (Short Fiction) 2022
  • Short-listed, 2021 Foreword INDIES Book of the Year Award 2021


“Dunning demonstrates considerable confidence in both her readers and her own skills, rarely slowing to explain, allowing the narrative to reveal connections and truths as it progresses.”

- <i>Quill and Quire</i>

“[Tainna] hit me right in the heart… my body responds to reading these stories.”

- Angie Abdou, <i>Daybreak Alberta</i> on CBC Radio One

“Dunning’s tone throughout the book is candid and colloquial...each [short] story uses a slightly different voice, and that’s where we see the elegance in Dunning’s craft as a writer...raw and profound...Readers will quickly realize that Tainna is a work of real-life fiction. The characters may be fabricated but the stories are undoubtedly ones of many truths. Tainna will break your heart, mend it, and break it again.”

- Ciana Hamilton, <i>Room Magazine</i>