Thomas King

Thomas King

Thomas King

"The truth about stories is that that's all we are."
(King, The Truth about Stories 2)

In his stories, novels, lectures and broadcasts Thomas King discusses profound cultural and social issues while demonstrating his own sense of humour which reflects an understanding and acceptance of human nature. In his review of King's first novel, Medicine River, Gary Draper states that the narrator Wil, good-natured and relaxed, with his understated deadpan humour, seems to be a reflection of the author whose comedic writing does not conceal the sorrows associated with "domestic violence, alcolholism, crime and imprisonment."

Born in 1943 in Sacramento, California, to a Cherokee father and a Greek mother, Thomas King grew up in a single parent home. He was abandoned by his father at the age of three or four. He was raised by his mother who supported herself and two sons in a world where the workforce was dominated by men. King had a wide variety of work experiences including being a management trainee at a bank, a member of a ship's crew, a deer-culler, a photographer and a journalist before he settled into a career as an academic and a writer.

King received his PhD in English literature at the University of Utah, and the worked as the chair of the American Indian Studies program at the University of Minnesota. For ten years, he taught in the Native Studies program at the University of Lethbridge and he is now a Canadian citizen.

In addition to his career as a scholar and writer, Thomas King also wrote and performed on the radio show Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour which continues to have a presence at the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's web site although the program is now off the air. Playing the role of an aboriginal person who has lost touch with his cultural roots, King used humour to promote awareness of Native cultures and political issues.

As a professor of English at the University of Guelph, Thomas King specializes in Native Literature and Creative Writing. In 2003 he became the first speaker of Native descent to deliver the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's Massey Lectures.

The Works of Thomas King
Links are included for works on Sale from

1989 - Medicine River - Novel

1992 - All My Relations - (Editor) Anthology of First Nations Literature

1992 - A Coyote Columbus Story - Children's Story illustrated by William Kent Monkman

1993 - One Good Story That One - Short Stories

1993 - Green Grass, Running Water - Novel

1998 - Coyote Sings to the Moon - Children's Story illustrated by Johnny Wales

1998 - Truth and Bright Water - Novel

2001 - Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour (March) - Audio Cassette

2001 - Dead Dog Cafe Comedy Hour (October) - Audio Cassette

2002 - Dreadfulwater Shows Up - Novel published under the pen name Hartley GoodWeather

2003 - The Truth About Stories - A Native Narrative - 2003 C.B.C. Massey Lectures (Audio CD Version)


Andrews, Jennifer. "Making associations." Canadian Literature. 4 January 2001: 151.

Davies, Natasha. "Thomas King: Canada's Native Writer Tells His Story." First Nations Drum. n.d.
(20 March 2003)

Draper, Gary. "Turning the Screw." Books in Canada. May 1990: 48-49.

Grose, Derrick. "Studies of Power: Thomas King's Green Grass Running Water and Lorne Simon's Stones
and Switches." Literary Links. 11 April 2000. Grose Educational Media. (20 March 2003)

King, Thomas. The Truth About Stories - A Native Narrative. Toronto: Anansi Press, 1993.

"Thomas King." Nothwest Passages Canadian Literature On-Line. 1996-1999.
Northwest Passages. (20 March 2003)

Wyile, Herb. "'Trust Tonto': Thomas King's subversive fictions and the politics of cultural literacy." Canadian Literature. 7 January 1999: 105.

Return to the Literary Links Page

© Grose Educational Media, 2004