On Nov. 28, this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award recipients were celebrated at a Rideau Hall gala.
Click on the thumbnails to see photos of the English-language winners.
Amber Dawn has won the City of Vancouver Book Award for her memoir How Poetry Saved My Life: A Hustler’s Memoir, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. The $2,000 prize, which recognizes books that “contribute to the appreciation and understanding of Vancouver’s history, unique character, or the achievements of its residents,” was presented at the Mayor’s Arts Awards Gala on Friday.
Dawn, who is also the author of the 2010 novel Sub Rosa, was shortlisted for the award alongside Jancis M. Andrews (The Ballad of Mrs. Smith, Hedgerow Press), Sean Kheraj (Inventing Stanley Park, UBC Press), Brad Cran (Ink on Paper, Nightwood Editions), and co-authors Harold Kalman and Robin Ward (Exploring Vancouver: The Architectural Guide, Douglas & McIntyre).
The ReLit Awards has abandoned its infamously thorough longlists in favour of 10-title shortlists.
Founded by writer Kenneth J. Harvey, the annual awards recognize novels, short fiction, and poetry published by Canadian independent literary presses. The winners will be presented with specially crafted ReLit rings at a date to be announced.*
- Trobairitz, Catherine Owen (Anvil Press)
- The Unmemntioable, Erín Moure (House of Anansi Press)
- New and Selected Poems, Cliff Burns (Black Dog Press)
- Conflict, Christine McNair (BookThug)
- Riot Lung, Leah Horlick (Thistledown Press)
- Cloudy with a Fire in the Basement, Ronna Bloom (Pedlar Press)
- Natural Capital, Jason Heroux (Mansfield Press)
- Our Gleaming Bones Unrobed, Grant Loveys (ECW Press)
- Personals, Ian Williams (Freehand Books)
- Omens in the Year of the Ox, Steven Price (Brick Books)
- Love and the Mess We’re In, Stephen Marche (Gaspereau Press)
- Minor Episodes Major Ruckus, Garry Thomas Morse (Talonbooks)
- The Lava in My Bones, Barry Webster (Arsenal Pulp Press)
- Given, Susan Musgrave (Thistledown)
- Mount Royal, Basil Papademos (Tightrope Books)
- Heidegger Stairwell, Kayt Burgess (Arsenal Pulp)
- Life Is About Losing Everything, Lynn Crosbie (Anansi)
- The Complete Lockpick Pornography, Joey Comeau (ECW)
- Ninja Versus Pirate Featuring Zombies, James Marshall (ChiZine Publications)
- Maidenhead, Tamara Faith Berger (Coach House Books)
- Texas, Claudio Gaudio (Quattro Books)
- Dirty Bird, Keir Lowther (Tightrope)
- Husk, Corey Redekop (ECW)
- Whitetail Shooting Gallery, Annette Lapointe (Anvil)
- Tracie’s Revenge & Other Stories, Wade Bell (Guernica Editions)
- Seen Reading, Julie Wilson (Freehand)
- People Who Disappear, Alex Leslie (Freehand)
- Escape and Other Stories, Trevor Clark (Now or Never)
- Dibidalen, Sean Virgo (Thistledown)
- The Weeping Chair, Donald Ward (Thistledown)
- Subtitles, Domenico Capilongo (Guernica)
- How to Get Along with Women, Elisabeth De Mariaffi (Invisible Publishing)
- Every House Is Haunted, Ian Rogers (ChiZine)
Update, Nov. 25: The awards will be presented Dec. 11.
Anne Applebaum is the recipient of the 2013 Cundill Prize in Historical Literature for Iron Curtain: The Crushing of Eastern Europe 1944–1956 (McClelland & Stewart), announced at an award ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday night.
The $75,000 (U.S.) prize, administered by McGill University’s Dean of Arts and the McGill Institute for the Study of Canada, recognizes books that have a “profound literary, social and academic impact in the area of history.” Iron Curtain was one of three finalists selected from a list of six titles, itself culled from 116 international submissions in English or English translation.
Recognition of Excellence awards of $10,000 each were given to runners-up Christopher Clark for The Sleepwalkers: How Europe Went to War in 1914 (HarperCollins) and Fredrik Logevall for Embers of War: The Fall of an Empire and the Making of America’s Vietnam (Random House).
Colin McAdam has won the 2013 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for A Beautiful Truth (Hamish Hamilton Canada), which tells the parallel stories of a couple who adopt a chimpanzee named Looee and the primates at a research institute in Florida.
This is the first major Canadian literary prize win for McAdam, who received many accolades for his two previous novels. “I’m used to being the bridesmaid,” he joked after receiving the $25,000 award at Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio Wednesday evening.
McAdam was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize and a Governor General’s Literary Award for his first novel, Some Great Thing, which won the Amazon/Books in Canada First Novel Award. His second novel, Fall, was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize in 2009. A Beautiful Truth was also a finalist for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Award.
McAdam said A Beautiful Truth was his most challenging novel to write. “I’m used to believing in my work, but not in trying so earnestly to try to get a set of beliefs across,” he told Q&Q. “Things don’t work unless they convince emotionally, so it was a matter of translating these philosophical beliefs into a real story that could do the work that logic can’t.”
McAdam, who said his next novel won’t be as philosophically driven, won over Krista Bridge for The Eliot Girls, published by Douglas & McIntyre, and three House of Anansi Press authors: 2013 Giller winner Lynn Coady for Hellgoing, Cary Fagan for A Bird’s Eye, and Lisa Moore for Caught, which was also shortlisted for this year’s Giller. Each finalist received $2,500.
While Moore was overlooked for this year’s Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, she did receive the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award, also worth $25,000. The prize, chosen by a jury composed of past winners Jane Urquhart, Wayne Johnston, and Nino Ricci, is awarded to a writer in mid-career for a body of work.
Author and journalist Andrew Nikiforuk was the recipient of this year’s Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life, worth $20,000. The prize is awarded to “a writer dedicated to writing as a primary pursuit, for a body of work.” Author-illustrator Barbara Reid won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People, also worth $20,000.
The Writers’ Trust Distinguished Contribution Award, given to an individual or institution for their longstanding involvement with the organization, was awarded to Canadian publisher McClelland & Stewart, which helped establish the Journey Prize for short fiction.
Also among the night’s winners was Toronto writer Naben Ruthnum, who won the $10,000 Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for “Cinema Rex,” a story published in The Malahat Review. Ruthnum has published stories in Riddle Fence, Joyland, Qwerty, and Ellery Queen’s Mystery Magazine. He also recently completed a thriller called Scrapbook under a pseudonym, Nathan Ripley.
Ruthnum mounted the stage to accept the prize amid huge cheers from the other Journey Prize nominees, whom he acknowledged in his speech. Ruthnum also thanked jurors Miranda Hill, Mark Medley, and Russell Wangersky, as well as his “friend Simon McNab, who I used to work at Rogers Video with and obsess over movies with” and “my mother and father who, not only did I take my life from, I stole their lives as well to make a story out of. Except for all the creepy sexual details.”
*Correction: Nov. 22: An Earlier version of this story misspelled Naben Ruthnum’s name. Q&Q regrets the error.
The longlist has been announced for the 10th annual B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-fiction, worth $40,000. The jury, comprising The Globe and Mail books editor Jared Bland, journalist and author Daphne Bramham, and publishing veteran Anna Porter, selected the 10 titles from more than 140 submissions.
The shortlist will be announced Dec. 11 with the award to be presented in Vancouver in early 2014.
The longlisted books are:
- The Juggler’s Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us, Carolyn Abrahams (Random House Canada)
- Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life, James Daschuk (University of Regina Press)
- Black Code: Inside the Battle for Cyberspace, Ronald J. Deibert (McClelland & Stewart)
- The Book of Immortality: The Science, Belief, and Magic Behind Living Forever, Adam Leith Gollner (Doubleday Canada)
- The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master, and the Trial That Shocked a Country, Charlotte Gray (HarperCollins Canada)
- Nocturne: On the Life and Death of My Brother, Helen Humphreys (HarperCollins Canada)
- The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America, Thomas King (Doubleday Canada)
- The Once and Future World: Nature As It Was, As It Is, As It Could Be, J.B. MacKinnon (Random House Canada)
- The War That Ended Peace: The Road to 1914, Margaret MacMillan (Allen Lane Canada)
- The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan, Graeme Smith (Knopf Canada)
The Quebec Writers’ Federation’s annual literary awards, recognizing the best English-language works published by Quebec writers, were presented at a gala in Montreal on Tuesday night. The evening also served to celebrate the 15th anniversary of the federation.
Sponsor BMO Financial Group awarded $2,000 to each of the following winning writers:
- Saleema Nawaz, Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction for Bone and Bread (House of Anansi Press)
- Adam Leith Gollner, Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction for The Book of Immortality (Doubleday Canada)
- Andrew Szymanski, Concordia University First Book Prize for The Barista and I (Insomniac Press)
- Ken Howe, A.M. Klein Prize for The Civic-Mindedness of Trees (Wolsak and Wynn)
- Donald Winkler, Cole Foundation Prize for Translation for The Major Verbs (Véhicule Press)
- Paul Blackwell, QWF Prize for Children’s and YA Literature for Undercurrent (Doubleday Canada)
Winners of the 2013 Quebec Writing Competition were also revealed. The first-place prize of $1,500 was awarded to Steven Manners for his short-story “Agnosis,” and Cora Sire received the second-place prize of $1,000 for “Corporate Citizen.” Both stories will be published in Maisonneuve magazine and read in instalments on CBC Radio One’s Cinq à Six. Véhicule Press will also publish a collection of all finalists’ stories.
Finally, a $350 prize honouring an outstanding submission to literary journal carte blanche was given to Juliet Waters for her essay “Bluefooted.” The runners-up were Lindsay Foran for her story “Finding Snow in Wyoming” and Caitlin Stall Paquet for her translation of Nicholas Chalifour’s “Death in the Midden.”
Two winners tied for the 2013 bpNichol Chapbook Award, announced at Meet the Presses collective’s Indie Literary Market in Toronto this weekend. The winners are: Sandra Allard for Naturally Speaking, published by Toronto’s espresso/paperplates press; and Gil McElroy for Ordinary Time: The Merton Lake Propers, published by baseline press of London, Ontario.
Alland is an interdisciplinary artist and writer who has published five works of poetry. Her performance art and videos have been exhibited internationally, including at London’s Tate Modern.
McElroy’s poems have been published in numerous periodicals, self-published chapbooks, and anthologies. He is also a curator and art critic whose writing has been published in three anthologies.
The winners will receive $1,000 each, donated anonymously, and the publishers will receive $250 each through donations from writers Jim Smith and Brian Dedora.
The other finalists for the prize are:
- thirteen poems for releasing love by joanne thorwaldson (leaf press)
- An OK Organ Man by Fenn Stewart (above/ground)
- fruit machine by Shannon Maguire (Ferno House)
- 21st century monsters by ryan fitzpatrick (Red Nettle Press)
The prize is administered by Meet the Presses, a volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events showcasing works produced by independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The collective consists of Gary Barwin, Paul Dutton, Ally Fleming, Beth Follett, Hazel Millar, Leigh Nash, Nicholas Power, and Stuart Ross.
Terry Fallis’s novel Up and Down (Random House Canada) has won the Forest of Reading’s 2013 Evergreen Award, which celebrates the best in Canadian fiction and non-fiction as voted by Ontario library patrons.
Up and Down beat out a shortlist selected by a committee of Ontario librarians. The other nominees were:
- Eating Dirt, Charlotte Gill (Greystone Books)
- Indian Horse, Richard Wagamese (Douglas & McIntyre)
- Intolerable: A Memoir of Extremes, Kamal Al-Solaylee (HarperCollins Canada)
- Tell It to the Trees, Anita Rau Badami (Knopf Canada)
- The Deception of Livvy Higgs, Donna Morrissey (Viking Canada)
- The Little Shadows, Marina Endicott (Doubleday Canada)
- The Western Light, Susan Swan (Cormorant Books)
- The Winter Palace, Eva Stachniak (Doubleday Canada)
- Triggers, Robert J. Sawyer (Viking Canada)
Fallis will receive the award at the Ontario Library Association’s Superconference in February.