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.

MBA2013 SS07

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?

MBA2013 SS06

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

April Goals

So not only did I not manage to post a list of goals for March, I also didn’t follow up with how I did in February. Time to remedy both of those things.

April Goals:

  • Finish the first draft of my current (and newly untitled–man I hate thinking of titles) urban fantasy Work in Progress.
  • Look at my short fiction not currently on submission and send those stories to new markets.
  • Finish my latest review for Quill and Quire
  • Finish my latest review for The Winnipeg Review
  • Finalize my soundtrack for as-yet-untitled book three of the Thunder Road Trilogy (The soundtrack is the first step of my novel writing process–its essentially my first rudimentary outline).
  • When I finish reading or watching something that I really like, say something about it here on the blog.

Some other things that are up for April, but don’t really count as goals include:

  • Talk to my high school English teacher’s Grade 11 and 12 classes. Mr. Samborski at Morden Collegiate was a huge influence on me when I was in school. He challenged me and encouraged my love of the written word, helping it become a desire to scribble down some of my own. (He’s also the reason why I prefer King Lear to Hamlet)
  • Attend C4 Lit Fest. Other author guests include: Kelley Armstrong, Samantha Beiko, Anita Daher, Sierra Dean, Susan Rocan, and Craig Russell.
  • Attend The Manitoba Book Awards to defend the honour of Thunder Road.
  • Have you nominated your favourite Canadian Speculative Fiction for the Prix Aurora Awards? I still haven’t finalized my lists, but I’ll have to soon, the deadline is April 15th.

Finally, for those without the benefit of long memories, here’s what I had wanted to accomplish back in February:

How’d I do? Not too bad, actually.

Only the Letter Month Challenge didn’t get seen through to completion. I did have fun with it, though, and will probably participate again next year. It was kind of a last minute addition to my activities this year, so I think if I plan ahead a little, I’ll do better next year. It was awesome to get real mail again. I can’t even recall the last time I received a letter in the post before I joined the Letter Month club (and come to think of it, I still owe someone a letter…).

Of the two stories I submitted, one has already been rejected, but that’s okay. I’m free to send it off somewhere else (as per this month’s goals).

Write on!

Manitoba Book Awards Shortlists

The Shortlists for the 2013 Manitoba Book Awards were released yesterday and I was (and remain) absolutely gobsmacked to see Thunder Road show up three times. I am trying to be realistic about my chances. I mean, I share the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction shortlist with three former Book of the Year winners and two of this year’s Book of the Year nominees.

I’d like to give big congratulations to my pal Karen Dudley and my editor Wayne Tefs on their nominations, as well as to Jamis Paulson and Sharon Caseburg for making Thunder Road look as good as it did. It is also great to see so many of my fellow Turnstone Press authors nominated for their excellent work.

Finally, congrats to all the nominees, I am honoured to be in your excellent company, and thank you to the jurors, it’s not an easy job having to choose who makes up those shortlists.

If you’re reading this, I hope you can attend the awards. I’d love to share a drink of commiseration/celebration with you.

For Immediate Release – March 14, 2013

WINNIPEG, MANITOBA – The Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers are pleased to announce the Manitoba Book Awards shortlists. The awards will be presented at the Manitoba Book Awards gala, on Sunday April 28th at the West End Cultural Centre and hosted by Ismaila Alfa.  Doors open at 7:15 p.m., with the ceremony beginning at 8:00 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

The shortlists and recipients are selected by a variety of juries, comprised of writers, publishers and other book industry personnel from across Canada.

And the nominees are…

McNally Robinson Book of the Year

  • The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by Harper Collins Canada
  • Dating by Dave Williamson, published by Turnstone Press
  • The House on Sugarbush Road by Méira Cook, published by Enfield & Wizenty, an imprint of Great Plains Publications
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History through the Photographs of L.B. Foote, by Esyllt W. Jones, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Monstrance by Sarah Klassen, published by Turnstone Press
  • Whitetail Shooting Gallery by Annette Lapointe, published by Anvil Press

Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction

  • Creation and Transformation: Defining Movements in Inuit Art by Darlene Coward Wight, published by Douglas and MacIntyre and the Winnipeg Art Gallery
  • Dams of Contention by Bill Redekop, published by Heartland Associates    
  • On the Fly: A Hockey Fan’s View from the ‘Peg by Wayne Tefs, published by Turnstone Press    
  • Racialized Policing by Elizabeth Comack, published by Fernwood Publishing

Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry/Prix Lansdowne de poésie

  • Marchand d’intensité by Laurent Poliquin, published by L’Harmattan
  • Monstrance by Sarah Klassen, published by Turnstone Press
  • The Politics of Knives by Jonathan Ballpublished by Coach House Books

Best Illustrated Book of the Year

  • 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga by David Alexander Robertson, illustrations by Scott B. Henderson, design by Relish New Brand Experience, published by Highwater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press.
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History through the Photographs of L.B. Foote, by Esyllt W. Jones, design by Doowah Design, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Mike Grandmaison’s Prairie and Beyond, photographs by Mike Grandmaison, design by Jamis Paulson, published by Turnstone Press
  • Romulus + Remus: Issue 1 written, illustrated, and published by Scott Ford

Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

  • The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by Harper Collins
  • Dating: A Novel by Dave Williamson, published by Turnstone Press
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History Through the Photographs of L. B. Foote by Esyllt W. Jones, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • What You Get at Home by Dora Dueck, published by Turnstone Press

Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

  • All Things Considered by Joan-Dianne Smith, published by Goldfish Publishing
  • Sonar by Kristian Enright, published by Turnstone Press
  • Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press

John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

  • Kristian Enright
  • Kevin Marc Fournier
  • Katherena Vermette

Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year

  • Bedtime Stories for the Edge of the World by Shawna Dempsey and Lorri Millan, design by Lisa Friesen (Winnipeg Art Gallery), calligraphy by Nicole Coulson, published by ARP Books
  • I Know Who You Remind Me Of, stories by Naomi K. Lewis, design by Relish New Brand Experience, published by Enfield & Wizenty, an imprint of Great Plains Publications
  • The Marsh Keepers Journey: the Story of Ducks Unlimited Canada by Bruce Batt, design by Jeope Wolfe, published by Ducks Unlimited Canada.
  • Warehouse Journal Vol.21 co-edited by Nicole Hunt and Brandon Bergem, designed and published by the University of Manitoba’s Faculty of Architecture

The Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

  • The Age of Hope by David Bergen, published by Harper Collins Canada
  • Eleven Pipers Piping by C.C. Benison, published by Doubleday Canada
  • The House on Sugarbush Road by Méira Cook, published by Enfield & Wizenty, an imprint of Great Plains Publications
  • The Only Man in the World by Faith Johnston, published by Turnstone Press
  • Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press
  • What You Get at Home by Dora Dueck, published by Turnstone Press

Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher

  • Dams of Contention: The Rafferty-Alameda Story and the Birth of Canadian Environmental Law by Bill Redekop, design by Dawn Huck, published by Heartland Associates
  • Food for the Gods: An Epikurean Epic by Karen Dudley, cover design by Doowah Design, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press
  • Imagining Winnipeg: History Through the Photographs of L.B. Foote by Esyllt W. Jones, design by Doowah Design, published by University of Manitoba Press
  • Mike Grandmaison’s Prairie and Beyond, photographs by Mike Grandmaison, text by Jan Volney, design by Jamis Paulson, published by Turnstone Press
  • Thunder Road by Chadwick Ginther, cover design by Jamis Paulson, interior design by Sharon Caseburg, published by Ravenstone, an imprint of Turnstone Press

McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award – Older Category

  • 7 Generations: A Plains Cree Saga by David Alexander Robertson, published by Highwater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press
  • The Green-Eyed Queen of Suicide City by Kevin Marc Fournier, published by Great Plains Teen Fiction
  • The Last Song by Eva Wiseman, published by Tundra Books

Le Prix littéraire Rue-Deschambault

  • Les enfants de Tantale par Lise Gaboury-Diallo, publié par  Les Éditions du Blé
  • Poème Pierre Prière par J.R. Léveillé, publié par Les Éditions du Blé
  • La Révolution Tranquille par Raymond M. Hebert, publié par Les Éditions du Blé
  • Li Rvinant par Rhéal Cenerini, publié par Les Éditions du Blé

The administrators of the Manitoba Book Awards gratefully acknowledge the support of the following Book Awards partners: Aqua Books, the Canada Council for the Arts, Friesens, the Manitoba Arts Council, the Manitoba Foundation for the Arts, Manitoba Culture, Heritage and Tourism, McNally Robinson Booksellers, the Winnipeg Arts Council, and The Winnipeg Foundation.

The full shortlist will also be available at:http://www.manitobawritersguild.com

For more information please contact:

Natasha Peterson

(204)-944-8013

natasha@mbwriter.mb.ca

Lucky Number

Susie Moloney won the inaugural Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction at the Manitoba Book Awards on Saturday, April 28th. Here’s our interview from the Summer  2011 issue Prairie books NOW talking about her winning work, The Thirteen.

Lucky Number

Susie Moloney believes all women have a little bit of witchery in them.

“We have such power as mothers and lovers. We can make or break you, us girls,” she chuckles.

But Moloney’s witches in her new novel The Thirteen are by no means a benevolent troupe of new age pagans, and their home, Haven Woods, is no ordinary suburb.

These witches have been making and breaking folk for years. With the surprising suicide of one of their circle, they must fill the void, or pay the consequences. Paula Wittmore, is unknowingly a witch’s child, and the circle’s best chance to return their number to thirteen. And 12-year-old Rowan, Paula’s innocent daughter, would make a fine gift to the witches’ dark god.

The Thirteen began its life as a television project, featuring “an odd little street in a suburb, on which lived a number of odd and supernatural people,” explains Moloney. This idea spawned short stories and a novella featuring the relationships of these strange neighbours. Neighbours to Moloney are like family.

“You can’t really pick ‘em,” she says.

These stories became the foundation of a novel, her first since 2003’s The Dwelling. By turns macabre, funny and gruesome, The Thirteen is a lightning paced narrative that explores ideas of women, power, family and sisterhood.

Moloney, who grew up in the suburbs, once thought “every house, every family was the same.” And while she may have run away screaming when she was of age, like with her character Paula Wittmore, time and circumstance drew her back. As an adult she realized that “the old saw about how all happy families are the same, but unhappy families are unhappy in their own way, was very true.”

Witches and human sacrifice are not the only horror of The Thirteen. Moloney also speaks of the “close quarters” and “what you can hear when the wind is right;” of the daily grind to pay a mortgage or raise a family. It can be a life of quiet desperation. She imagines late at night “you can hear the snap of something turning bad;” and “knowing it happens and you can’t see it until it’s too late” is what’s truly unsettling.

This aura of menace lingers throughout The Thirteen, given form by the Chapman House, where the witches initiate new members and make their sacrifices. Every small town and community has a similar place, where a crime has transcended its origins to enter the local lore. It is a house Moloney would want to go inside to “imagine those last, terrible moments” but she also acknowledges that such an act would stick with her forever and keep her up at night.

Moloney doesn’t discount more tales featuring her Haven Woods witches—either short pieces about individual coven members or a tale that continues Rowan’s story. But the author warns Rowan’s story “would be particularly twisted.”

Any one of us could also inspire such a twisted tale.

“We are all the root of our own evil. We have our demons that stay with us, demons from our childhood, things we saw, heard, did. Horror is within; how it comes out depends on when we’re vulnerable.”

Manitoba Publishing Awards Shortlists Announced

The Manitoba Publishing Awards Shortlists were announced today. Nice to see lots of Turnstone books on those lists too.  It’s also nice to see some of the genre books getting some love outside of the new Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction category.

As I interact with many of these writers regularly as a bookseller, I’m not going to pick favourites here on the blog (sorry to disappoint you and your bookie), except to say I will be rooting like crazy for Wayne Tefs (because he’s also my editor. You understand, right? Sure you do).

Enough blather! The very worthy books below:

Aqua Lansdowne Prize for Poetry
Prix Lansdowne de poésie

A Walker in the City by Méira Cook, Brick Books

Girlwood by Jennifer Still, Brick Books

Poème Pierre Prière by J. R. Léveillé, Les Éditions du Blé

Best Illustrated Book of the Year
Meilleur livre illustré de l’année

David’s Trip to Paraguay: The Country with Amazing Colours / Davids Reise in das Land der vielen Farben, story and design by Miriam Rudolph, CMU Press

The Imagination Manifesto: Book Three by GMB Chomichuk and John Toone, design and illustrated by GMB Chomichuk, Alchemical Press Ltd.

Portraits of Winnipeg by Robert J. Sweeney, cover and interior design Jamis Paulson, Turnstone Press

Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year
Prix Manuela-Dias de conception graphique en édition

Alert to Glory by Sally Ito, cover design by Jamis Paulson, Turnstone Press

Bandit: A Portrait of Ken Leishman by Wayne Tefs, cover design by Jamis Paulson, Turnstone Press

Poème Pierre Prière parJ. R. Léveillégraphiste Bernard Léveillé, publié par Les Éditions du Blé

Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

A Large Harmonium by Sue Sorensen, Coteau Books

Dadolescence by Bob Armstrong, Turnstone Press

Winnie the Bear by M.A. Appleby, self published

Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award
Prix littéraire Carol-Shields de la ville de Winnipeg

Bandit: A Portrait of Ken Leishman by Wayne Tefs, Turnstone Press

Forgotten Heroes: Winnipeg’s Hockey Heritage by Richard Brignall, J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing

Ravenscraig by Sandi Krawchenko Altner, Heartland Associates

Winnipeg Beach: Leisure and Courtship in a Resort Town, 1900-1967 by Dale Barbour, University of Manitoba Press

Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction

The Girl in the Wall by Alison Preston, Signature Editions

The Imagination Manifesto: Book Three by GMB Chomichuk and John Toone, Alchemical Press

The Thirteen by Susie Moloney, Random House Canada

The Valedictorians by David Annandale, Ravenstone (an imprint of Turnstone Press)

Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

Bandit: A Portrait of Ken Leishmanby Wayne Tefs, Turnstone Press

The Girl in the Wall by Alison Preston, Signature Editions

A Large Harmonium by Sue Sorensen, Coteau Books

Not Being on a Boat by Esmé Claire Keith, Freehand Books (an imprint of Broadview Press)

Twelve Drummers Drummingby C.C. Benison, Double Day Canada

Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction
Prix Alexander-Kennedy-Isbister pour les études et essais

The Blaikie Report: An Insider’s Look at Faith and Politics by Bill Blaikie, United Church Publishing House

Canadian Labour in Crisis: Reinventing the Workers’ Movement by David Camfield,Fernwood Publishing

Community and Frontier: A Ukrainian Settlement in the Canadian Parkland by John C. Lehr, University of Manitoba Press

Good Places to Live: Poverty and Public Housing in Canadaby Jim Silver, Fernwood Publishing

King: William Lyon MacKenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny by Allan Levine, Douglas and McIntyre Publishers Inc.

John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

Bob Armstrong

Jonathan Ball

Jennifer Still

Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher
Prix Mary-Scorer pour le meilleur livre par un éditeur du Manitoba

Alert to Glory by Sally Ito, Turnstone Press

Bandit: A Portrait of Ken Leishman by Wayne Tefs, Turnstone Press

Butterfly Winter by W.P. Kinsella, Enfield and Wizenty (an imprint of Great Plains Publications)

La plus belle Création de Corbeau de David Bouchard, peintures de Brigitte Lopez, musique de Jana Mashonee, publié par Les Éditions des Plaines

What the Bear Said: Skald Tales of New Iceland by W.D. Valgardson, Turnstone Press

McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award
YOUNGER CATEGORY:

Annie’s Bright Idea: A Christmastime Adventure by Audrhea Lande, ill. by Jenny Prest, self published

Nanabosho and the Butterflies by Joe & Matrine McLellan, ill. by Jackie Traverse, Pemmican Publications

S is for Science: A Discovery of Alphabet by Larry Verstraete, Sleeping Bear Press

OLDER CATEGORY:

Case Files: 40 Murders and Mysteries Solved by Science by Larry Verstraete, Scholastic

Kingdom of Trolls by Rae Bridgman, Sybertooth

Tori by Design by Colleen Nelson, Great Plains Teen Fiction

McNally Robinson Book of the Year

Bandit: A Portrait of Ken Leishman by Wayne Tefs, Turnstone Press

Dancing, With Mirrors by George Amabile, Porcupine’s Quill

King: William Lyon MacKenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny by Allan Levine, Douglas & McIntyre Publishers Inc.

Not Being on a Boat by Esmé Claire Keith, Freehand Books (an imprint of Broadview Press)

Winnipeg Beach: Leisure and Courtship in a Resort Town, 1900-1967  by Dale Barbour, University of Manitoba Press