Canadian Writers Take Home $114,000 at 13th Annual Writers' Trust Awards

Colin McAdam, Lisa Moore, Andrew Nikiforuk, Barbara Reid among night's big winners

TORONTO, Nov. 20, 2013 /CNW/ - Tonight in Toronto's Glenn Gould Studio, the Writers' Trust of Canada awarded $114,000 to Canadian writers at the 13th annual Writers' Trust Awards. Comprising five awards for literary merit and a sixth for long-standing service to the country's literary community, the event provides the occasion for one of the richest literary prize-giving nights in Canada.

Colin McAdam was awarded the $25,000 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize for A Beautiful Truth, a novel about family, belonging, and survival told through the eyes of two chimpanzees and their human caretakers.

Three authors received awards for their ongoing and consistent literary excellence: Newfoundland's Lisa Moore, recent winner of CBC's Canada Reads competition and author of the novels Caught and February, took home the $25,000 Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award; Andrew Nikiforuk, an Albertan journalist who has earned a reputation as an honest and provocative voice investigating social and ecological issues, received the $20,000 Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life; and Barbara Reid, a children's book illustrator and author, widely known for her creative use of Plasticine, won the $20,000 Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People.

The $10,000 Writers' Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize went to Naben Ruthnum for "Cinema Rex," a short story about a season of vital shifts for three friends transitioning out of boyhood in a 1950s Mauritian community.

An additional award for service to the writing community was presented to McClelland & Stewart, in recognition of its role in creating the Journey Prize, which was presented tonight for the 25th time.

The event was hosted by the books editor of The Globe and Mail, Jared Bland.

Below are the prizes presented, with comments from the jurors. (Complete jury citations are available at writerstrust.com, along with biographical information and high-resolution images.)

Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize ($25,000)

    Winner: Colin McAdam, A Beautiful Truth (Hamish Hamilton Canada)
"In prose both strange and startling, McAdam asks what, if anything, separates the human from the animal; he answers with heartbreaking honesty. This is the kind of book you finish just to pick back up again, if only to figure out how he pulled it off."
    Finalists:
   
  • Krista Bridge, The Eliot Girls (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • Lynn Coady, Hellgoing (House of Anansi Press)
  • Cary Fagan, A Bird's Eye (House of Anansi Press)
  • Lisa Moore, Caught (House of Anansi Press)
    Each of the four finalists received $2,500. The winner and finalists were chosen by a jury of Caroline Adderson, Alison Pick, and Miguel Syjuco. They read 115 books from 50 publishers. The prize is sponsored by Rogers Communications Inc.

Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award ($25,000)

    Awarded to a writer in mid-career for a body of work.
     
    Winner: Lisa Moore
"While Moore's canvas is contemporary Newfoundland - in particular the city of St. John's where she lives - her understanding and portrayal of human character and relationships is universal. We fully expect further greatness from her, and are confident that her already extensive readership will continue to grow."
     
    The winner was chosen by a jury composed of Wayne Johnston, Nino Ricci, and Jane Urquhart. The prize is sponsored by the Writers' Trust of Canada Board of Directors, Amazon.ca, and David Ellins.

Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life ($20,000)

    Awarded to a writer dedicated to writing as a primary pursuit, for a body of work.
     
    Winner: Andrew Nikiforuk
"As a journalist and author of major investigative books, Nikiforuk cares deeply about accuracy, government accountability, and the cumulative impacts of policies that affect all citizens."
     
    The winner was chosen by an award committee composed of Patsy Aldana, Graeme Gibson, Wayne Grady, and Don Oravec. The prize is sponsored by Marla and David Lehberg.

Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People ($20,000)

    Awarded to a writer of literature for young readers for a body of work.
     
    Winner: Barbara Reid
"What stands out in Reid's books is the brilliant integration of text and illustration. She is a visual writer, so much so that the words seem to leave the lines and become enmeshed in the art. Her text is actually an understated guide to the detailed exuberance of the pictures."
     
    The winner was chosen by a jury of Ronald Jobe, Susan Perren, and Joanne Schwartz. The prize is sponsored by the Metcalf Foundation.

Writers' Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize ($10,000)

    Awarded for the best short story published by an emerging writer in a Canadian literary magazine.
     
    Winner: Naben Ruthnum, "Cinema Rex" (The Malahat Review)
"Full of heady sensory details, Ruthnum's deft observations of family and class interactions create an entire world of established histories and hierarchies, even though the reader is only privy to a sliver of these stories."
     
    Finalists:
   
  • Doretta Lau, "How Does a Single Blade of Grass Thank the Sun?" (Event)
  • Eliza Robertson, "My Sister Sang" (Grain)
     
    Each of the finalists received $1,000, and the journal that originally published the winning entry received $2,000. The finalists were chosen by a jury of Miranda Hill, Mark Medley, and Russell Wangersky. The prize is made possible by James A. Michener's donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his 1988 novel Journey. In association with the prize, McClelland & Stewart publishes an annual fiction anthology, The Journey Prize Stories, a collection of the 12 stories that formed the longlist for this year's prize.

Writers' Trust Award for Distinguished Contribution

    Awarded to an individual or organization for long-standing involvement with the Writers' Trust and the Canadian literary community.
     
    Winner: McClelland & Stewart
"The Writers' Trust is proud to recognize McClelland & Stewart for the influential role they have played in developing the Canadian writing community's next generation of talent through the creation of the Journey Prize."
     
    The Writers' Trust Awards are made possible through generous support from corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors. The media partner, The Globe and Mail, provides additional support. The project is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage Canada Book Fund. Partners supporting the program are Ben McNally Books, City television, IFOA, Maclean's, Push Design, Quill & Quire, Steam Whistle Brewing, and The Walrus.

About the Writers' Trust
The Writers' Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs, including literary awards, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers' retreat. Writers' Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada's writers receive more financial support from the Writers' Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country.

SOURCE The Writers' Trust of Canada

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