Manitoba Book Awards

I’ve been attending the Manitoba Book Awards for years. I made a habit of it before I started writing seriously. Before I considered that I would ever be nominated for one myself. That first year, I went because an author friend of mine was up for a couple of awards. I felt my heart leap every time his name was mentioned, and whooped myself hoarse and clapped myself silly on his behalf.

It felt decidedly strange to be sitting there listening to my friends and family whoop and clap on my behalf. I thought I knew something about nerves after my book launch in the fall; after returning to my old high school for the first time in twenty years and talking to the Grade 11 and 12 English classes. This was an entirely new sensation.

I didn’t win either of the first two awards I was nominated for, but I was in exceptional company in both categories. By shortly after the intermission I had pretty much resigned myself to heading home empty-handed. And then Doug Symington of Friesens announced Thunder Road as the recipient of the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba publisher. This was very cool, as my book was printed at Friesens. Ah, the small world of publishing! But even cooler was that my parents were sitting right next to me and got to see this. Their support has been huge all through my writing journey, so it was a thrill to have them with me.

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Photo courtesy of Saffron Scott with Creastra.

I seem pretty happy there, right? What was actually going through my mind was a little closer to this:

Thanks, Sassy Walrus!

So. If I was so damned happy, why in the hell did I make this face?

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Photo courtesy of Saffron Scott with Creastra.

No man can say.

Photographer Saffron Scott, would later compare my face to that of famous Internet meme “Grumpy Cat“. I could only jokingly retort that the Grumpy Cat was my face’s default position. I don’t remember who I was looking at. With the stage lights in my face, I couldn’t see anyone at all (good thing, The West End Cultural Centre was packed that night). I have no idea what I was saying at that particular moment, either. I barely remember what I said at all. People seemed to like it though (I’ll find out eventually, local SF&F convention mainstay, John Mansfield recorded it for me). I don’t feel I was able to talk to everyone I wanted to speak with, I just followed the crush of the crowd. Normally, I slip from conversation to conversation, congratulate the winners and then slip back to the comfort of the folks I know best. That wasn’t an option on Sunday night, but I’m going to enjoy that feeling. Who knows if I’ll have another night like that?

So thank you to the jurors for selecting Thunder Road for three shortlists. Thank you to everyone who cheered for me, or came up to congratulate me after the awards. Thank you to everyone who attended the awards, period. Manitoba literature deserves to be celebrated in all of its forms (but especially when it’s full of gods and monsters).

Finally, a hearty congratulations to all my fellow nominees and fellow award recipients.

McNally Robinson Book of the Year
The House on Sugarbush Road by Méira Cook, published by Enfield & Wizenty, an imprint of Great Plains Publications

Aqua Lansdowne Prize for Poetry | Prix Lansdowne de poésie
The Politics of Knives by Jonathan Ballpublished by Coach House Books

Best Illustrated Book of the Year | Meilleur livre illustré de l’année
Imagining Winnipeg: History through the Photographs of L.B. Foote, by Esyllt W. Jones, design by Doowah Design, published by University of Manitoba Press

Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year | Prix Manuela-Dias de conception graphique en édition
Warehouse Journal Vol.21 edited and designed by Nicole Hunt and Brandon Bergem, published by the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture

Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book
Sonar by Kristian Enright, published by Turnstone Press

Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award | Prix littéraire Carol-Shields de la ville de Winnipeg
The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by HarperCollins Canada

Le Prix Littéraire rue-Deschambault
La Révolution Tranquille par Raymond – M. Hebert, publié par Les Éditions du Blé

Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction
The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by HarperCollins Canada

Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction | Prix Alexander-Kennedy-Isbister pour les études et essais
Creation and Transformation: Defining Moments in Inuit Art by Darlene Coward Wight, published by Douglas and MacIntyre and the Winnipeg Art Gallery

John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer
Kristian Enright

Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher | Prix Mary-Scorer pour le meilleur livre par un éditeur du Manitoba
Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, cover design by Jamis Paulson, interior design by Sharon Caseburg, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press

Lifetime Achievement Award
Dennis Cooley

McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award – Older Category
The Green-Eyed Queen of Suicide City by Kevin Marc Fournier, published by Great Plains Teen Fiction

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4 thoughts on “Manitoba Book Awards

  1. It was a great night with so many wonderful books nominated. You were very lucky to have your parents at your side when Doug Symington announced your book the winner! I can only imagine what that must have been like for you. Congratulations again! 🙂

  2. It was great to be a part of such a wonderful evening! And it was cool that your parents got to be there. When I was in school in Atlanta, my parents were able to come to my grad. I ended up winning student of the year for my faculty and was inducted to the who’s who of American junior colleges. I was so happy they could be there to see it. To see that my hard work and OCD behaviors paid off (my daytimer was color coded and sticky notes…). It is funny how, even as adults, there is that part of us that really want to make our parents happy and proud. Congratulations again 🙂

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