split tooth cover image
Tanya Tagaq

Split Tooth

Longlisted for the 2023-2024 Gordon Burn Prize

Longlisted for the 2018 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Winner of the 2019 Indigenous Voices Award for Published Prose in English

Fact can be as strange as fiction. It can also be as dark, as violent, as rapturous. In the end, there may be no difference between them. An Inuk girl grows up in Nunavut, Canada, in the 1970s. She knows joy, and friendship, and parents’ love. She knows boredom, and listlessness, and bullying. She knows the tedium of the everyday world, and the raw, amoral power of the ice and sky, the seductive energy of the animal world. She knows the ravages of alcohol, and violence at the hands of those she should be able to trust. She sees the spirits that surround her, and the immense power that dwarfs all of us.

When she becomes pregnant, she must navigate all this.

In this acclaimed debut novel – haunting, brooding, exhilarating, and tender all at once – Tanya Tagaq explores the grittiest features of a small Arctic town and the electrifying proximity of the worlds of animals and of myth.

Read an Excerpt
EBook: £11.99

About the Book

If you subscribed to And Other Stories by 31st May 2023, you will receive a copy of Split Tooth – in which all subscribers are thanked by name – in September 2023, before its official publication, as well as up to five other specially selected And Other Stories titles per year. Find out more about our subscriptions.

More Info

  • Hear Tanya read from her novel on the original edition’s booktrailer:
  • …and introduce herself and read from her book in this reading:

  • You can find out more about Tanya Tagaq, including videos of some of her performances, on her website.
  • You can read The Guardian‘s profile of Tanya Tagaq here.
  • The New Yorker reviewed Tanya Tagaq’s album Tongues, which includes poems from Split Tooth. You can read it here.
Print status: Available
Author: Tanya Tagaq
Original language: English
Format: B-format paperback
Publication date: 3 October 2023
ISBN: 9781913505806
Ebook ISBN: 9781913505813
Availability: UK & C (excl Canada) and Europe


Annie Hayter
The Big Issue

This is a novel beyond wounds, where brutality and compassion hold hands. Myth is braided with history in a reality that is mundane as it is magical with every step. Split Tooth records a life of loving and finding the sublime in the face of effacement.’

The New Yorker

‘Tagaq’s surreal meld of poetry and prose transmutes the Arctic’s boundless beauty, intensity, and desolation into a wrenching contemporary mythology.’

Quill and Quire

‘Though the protagonist’s coming-of-age story, generously and lovingly documented by Tagaq, is the anchor, Split Tooth is not a book that can be fully absorbed in one sitting. It’s possible to sink deeper and deeper into the narrative with each successive reading. Like a smirking teenager, Split Tooth blithely gives typical literary expectations the finger, daring us to see and experience narrative as chaotic, emotional, and deeply instinctive. And it succeeds.’


‘A raw, powerful voice breathes fresh air into traditional Inuit folklore to create a modern tale of mythological proportions.’

Oprah Magazine

‘[Split Tooth] straddles the line between memoir and fiction, prose and poetry, magic and harsh reality. . . [and] is infused with Tagaq's intimate knowledge of life in the Arctic.’

Toronto Life magazine

‘[A] forceful coming-of-age tale.’

Sean Michaels

‘In [Tanya Tagaq]’s forthcoming novel, Split Tooth, there’s a chapter called “Ritual” that is such a distillation of childhood magic and refuge that it made me feel like I was reading Tove Jansson or Roald Dahl for the first time.’

Rick Simonson, owner of Elliott Bay Book Company

Tanya Tagaq has written a book that should re-arrange the reader’s mind and very being in her astounding Split Tooth. She uses the narrative arc of a coming of age story to tell of coming of age in a northern, indigenous community that includes close experience of abuse, village violence, colonial exploitation, and also close kin ties, birth, death, a knowing of how we are really fed, an awareness of how small life can be, and how large … I look forward to putting this book in people’s hands.’


‘In simplest terms, Split Tooth is a punch to the throat…a stellar first novel; an incredible work of Canadian, indigenous, and world literatures.’

Inuit Art Quarterly

‘Tagaq has broken a new trail for all future Inuit writers to tread upon, describing the lived world of an Inuk child with writing that is breathtaking and singular…With this work Tagaq has reshaped what Inuit literature is… it is impossible to stop reading. It is delicious. And offers a new way forward for Inuit authors.’

Elliot Page

‘One of the best things I've ever read. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. Amazing. The last two pages of her book are just this whole beautiful piece about: I don’t want to forgive. But I forgive myself. I’ll pick it up every once in a while just to read that.’