I've singled out Julia because I'm reviewing her book and interviewing her for this blog. I arranged both when she was named as a finalist, and I'm thrilled that she's come up a winner. Stay tuned for both review and interview in the near future.
I also want to send congratulations to all the winners. You're doing Canadian writers proud!
MEDIA RELEASE from the Canadian Authors Association:
July 24, 2011 - Last night the Canadian Authors Association (CAA) continued its long-held tradition of writers honouring writers and announced the winners of its 2011 Literary Awards competition at the Leacock Summer Festival in Orillia, Ontario.
Shelagh D. Grant was awarded the Lela Common Award for Canadian History for Polar Imperative: A History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America (Douglas & McIntyre). An adjunct professor and research associate at Trent University in Peterborough, Ontario, Grant received a silver medal and $2000 cash prize. The shortlist for this award included Ross King (Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven) and co-authors Stuart Houston and Bill Waiser (Tommy's Team: The People Behind the Douglas Years).
Tom Rachman was named the recipient of the CAA Award for Fiction for his debut novel The Imperfectionists (Dial Press). A resident of London, England, Rachman will also receive a silver medal and $2000 prize. This year's fiction shortlist included television and film writer, producer and actor Ken Finkleman (Noah's Turn) and multiple award-winning sci-fi author Robert J. Sawyer (Watch).
Julia McCarthy won the CAA Poetry Award for Return from Erebus (Brick Books). A resident of Upper Kennetcook, Nova Scotia, McCarthy receives a silver medal and $1000 prize. The 2011 poetry shortlist also included acclaimed poet, teacher and horse rancher Garry Gottfriedson (Skin Like Mine) and multiple award-winning poet and novelist Don Coles.
Titilope Sonuga was named the 2011 Emerging Writer for her collection of poems called Down to Earth. Sonuga is a Nigerian-born spoken word poet based in Edmonton who plays an active role in the local and regional poetry community. Currently completing an artist residence in Cape Town, South Africa, she receives a $500 cash prize.
The awards finalists were announced by CAA National President Matthew Bin at the association's annual literary awards dinner, held this year in Swanmore Terrace at the Leacock Museum National Historic Site. "It is a privilege to present the awards at the Leacock Summer Festival," said Bin. "What better way is there to celebrate our 90th anniversary than at a literary festival named in honour one of the association's founders."
During the evening, keynote speaker and renowned playwright and novelist Tomson Highway regaled the audience with a lively and anecdote-filled address on the beauty, rhythm and magic of the Cree language and on his lifelong dedication to using the language as a means of conserving the wisdom and lessons of the past to be shared with generations to come.
Introduced in 1975, the CAA Literary Awards honour Canadian writers who achieve excellence without sacrificing popular appeal - a tradition originally begun in 1937 with the creation of the Governor General's medals for literature (now overseen by the Canada Council of the Arts). The competition is open to all writers who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. This event marks the first time the awards have been held during the Leacock Summer Festival.
Founded by Stephen Leacock and several other prominent Canadian writers in 1921, the Canadian Authors Association has continued to maintain a focus on "writers helping writers" since its inception.