Atlantic Book Awards and Festival 2020: A Virtual Experience

Welcome to the 2020 virtual version of the 2020 Atlantic Book Awards and Festivalopens a new window!   

We are bringing together readers, writers, and illustrators in a new way this year to celebrate the rich diversity and excellence in Atlantic Canadian writing and publishing. The shortlists for each of our 13 awards are presented below, featuring links to readings by nominees from their shortlisted books. We thank them for the efforts they have made to make this online celebration possible. .

The Board of the non-profit Atlantic Book Awards Society also gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Book Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, Halifax Public Libraries, and Alliance Française. For more information about the Atlantic Book Awards and to view our full shortlist announcement, visit our website at www.atlanticbookawards.caopens a new window

Virtual Gala

And the winners are...

 


Meet the Nominees

Skip to section:

  1. Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction
  2. Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature
  3. Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book
  4. Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing
  5. Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing
  6. Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award
  7. Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award - Fiction
  8. J.M. Abraham Poetry Award
  9. Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration
  10. Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Non-Fiction
  11. Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Fiction
  12. Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award - Non-Fiction
  13. Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

1. Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction

Established in 2015, the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction was created in honour of Alistair MacLeod (1936-2014), Atlantic literary icon and master of the short story. Given that there are many excellent collections of short stories published in Atlantic Canada each year, creating this unique award both recognizes the importance of this genre, and hopefully will encourage the creation of more work in this area.

An Officer of the Order of Canada, Alistair MacLeod brought the strength and beauty of Cape Breton’s geography, history, and its people to the world with his lyrical and powerful short fiction and one novel—No Great Mischief (1999), described as a “masterpiece” and winner of several major literary awards. It was also voted Atlantic Canada’s greatest book of all time. MacLeod’s works are polished gems in the literary landscape of Canada and have been translated into 17 languages.

2020 Nominees

A Dark House and Other Stories by Ian Colford (Vagrant Press – a Nimbus imprintopens a new window) 

A Dark House 


DIG by Terry Doyle (Breakwater Booksopens a new window)

Dig         


Nosy White Woman by Martha Wilson (Biblioasisopens a new window)


2. Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature

The Ann Connor Brimer Book Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literatureis presented annually to an Atlantic Canadian writer deemed to have made an outstanding contribution to literature for young people. As a teacher, a co-founder of Woozles Children’s Bookstore and the Atlantic Officer for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre, Ann was an early advocate for Atlantic Canadian children’s writers. After her death in 1989, the award was established with generous support from members of Ann’s family and friends, as well as by donations from the library, book and writing communities.

2020 Nominees

EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street by Sheree Fitch (Nimbus Publishingopens a new window)

Everybody's Different on EveryBody Street


A World Below by Wesley King (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Booksopens a new window) 

A World Below


I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas (Nimbus Publishingopens a new window) 

I'm Finding My Talk


3. Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award

Sponsored by Friesens Corporation

The Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association’s award for Best Atlantic-Published Book recognizes publishing companies and their hardworking professionals who bring out new books each season. Each year, the Atlantic Canadian publisher of the printed book which best exemplifies publishing activity in Atlantic Canada receives the award.

The Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published BookAward is generously sponsored by Friesens Corporation. The prize of $4,000 is shared between the winning publishing firm ($3,000) and the book’s author ($1,000).

Now with thirty members in all four Atlantic provinces, the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association (APMA) was formed in the belief that a healthy Atlantic-owned and operated book publishing industry is essential to the education, society, and economic life of this region. The APMA supports its members through professional development presentations, advocacy, and marketing projects including the publication of Atlantic Books Today and the Book Lovers’ Holiday Gift Guide. The APMA also organizes the highly successful, annual Pitch the Publisher event at Word on the Street Halifax.

2020 Nominees

Almost Feral by Gemma Hickey (Breakwater Booksopens a new window)

Almost Feral


I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe and I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas (companion books), illustrated by Pauline Young (Nimbus Publishingopens a new window)

I Lost My Talk

I'm Finding My Talk


Land Beyond the Sea by Kevin Major (Breakwater Booksopens a new window)

Land Beyond the Sea


4. Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing

sponsored by Marquis Book Printing

Sponsored by Marquis Book Printing, the Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing recognizes literary achievement in the Social Sciences and Humanities. The $1,000 prize is awarded each year to the author(s) of a published book determined to have had (or likely to have) a significant literary, social and academic impact leading to a deeper understanding of society.

2020 Nominees

Shaped by Silence:  Stories from Inmates of the Good Shepherd Laundries and Reformatories by Rie Croll (ISER Booksopens a new window)

Shaped by Silence


The Wake: The Deadly Legacy of a Newfoundland Tsunami by Linden MacIntyre (HarperCollins Canadaopens a new window)

The Wake


Truth and Conviction: Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice by L. Jane McMillan (UBC Pressopens a new window)

Truth and Conviction


5. Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

Of all the wonderful books produced by Atlantic Canadian authors and publishers, a considerable percentage is made up of books of historical writing.

Thanks to a $25,000 endowment from the Democracy 250 committee, the Atlantic Book Awards Society was able to create the Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing, first awarded in 2009, as a legacy project of Democracy 250, which was established to recognize Nova Scotia’s pioneering role in shaping the evolution of democracy. One of the stated goals of the Democracy 250 committee was to “celebrate our history, heritage and institutions, and educate Canadians.”

2020 Nominees 

Listening for the Dead Bells by Marian Bruce (Island Studies Pressopens a new window)

Listening for the Dead Bells


As British as the King: Lunenburg County During the First World War by Gerald Hallowell (Nimbus Publishingopens a new window)

As British as the King 


Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers: Canadian Internment Camp B, 1940-1945 by Andrew Theobald (Goose Lane Editionsopens a new window)

"Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers"


6. Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award

The Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award was first presented in 1978. It is named in honour of Evelyn Richardson, who in 1945 won the Governor General’s Non-Fiction Award for We Keep A Light, her memoir of life in a family of lighthouse keepers in Shelburne County. The Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award honours the best non-fiction titles by Nova Scotian writers, and is facilitated by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

2020 Nominees

Daughter of Family G: A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate by Ami McKay (Knopf Canadaopens a new window)

Daughter of Family G


Mayann Francis: An Honourable Life by The Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis (Nimbus Publishing) 

Mayann Francis


Hell and Damnation: A Sinner’s Guide to Eternal Torment by Marq de Villiers (University of Regina Pressopens a new window)

Hell and Damnation


7. Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction), presented by Boyne Clarke LLP

The Dartmouth Book Awards were established in 1989 by then Mayor of Dartmouth, Dr. John Savage, based on the recommendation of the founding chair of the DBA, Paul Robinson. The annual Dartmouth Book Awards for Fiction (named in honour of Jim Connors, generously funded by BOYNECLARKE LLP) and Nonfiction, (named in honour of Robbie Robertson, generously funded by the Dartmouth Kiwanis Club) valued at $2,500 each, honour the best books by Canadian authors and published the previous year in celebration of Nova Scotia and its people. The awards are administered by a volunteer committee composed of representatives from Halifax Public Libraries, the Halifax Regional Municipality, and members of the community.

2020 Nominees

The Difference by Marina Endicott (Knopf Canadaopens a new window)

The Difference


Broken Symmetry by Rosalie Osmond (Nevermore Pressopens a new window)

Broken Symmetry 


Crow by Amy Spurway (Goose Lane Editionsopens a new window)

Crow


8. J.M. Abraham Poetry Award

The J.M. Abraham Poetry Award was created by the writing community in the late 1990s. The Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, with the assistance of several poets, publishers, and postsecondary institutions, raised funds for an annual award program designed to honour the best book of poetry by an Atlantic Canadian. The Award was first presented in 1998. In 2014, the award was named for the legacy of J.M. Abraham. 

2020 Nominees

Year of the Metal Rabbit by Tammy Armstrong (Gaspereau Pressopens a new window)


Smallholding by Anne Compton (Fitzhenry and Whitesideopens a new window)


Belated Bris of the Brainsick by Lucas Crawford (Nightwood Editionsopens a new window)


9. Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration

Lillian Shepherd, a long-time buyer for the sadly defunct Halifax bookstore, The Book Room, and life-long lover of books, died suddenly in 1997. Customers and authors visiting The Book Room were always put at ease by Lillian’s ready smile and laughter. In 2002, Lillian’s colleagues created the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award to applaud the book that combines Lillian’s love for illustrated children’s books and her affinity for locally produced work. The inaugural award was presented in 2003. The award is given to an illustrator who is either living in, or from Atlantic Canada, or who has illustrated a book which is set in the region. The $500 prize is now funded by the Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Association and the Atlantic Provinces Publishers’ Representatives.

2020 Nominees

Denise Gallagher, illustrator for Peg Bearskin: A Traditional Newfoundland Tale

written by adapted by Andy Jones and Philip Dinn from a story told by Mrs. Elizabeth Brewer (Running the Goat Booksopens a new window)


Danielle Loranger, illustrator for Un géant dans la tête

written by Danielle Loranger (Bouton D’or Acadie)

Un géant dans la tête


Sydney Smith, illustrator for Small in the City

written by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books)

Small in the City


10. Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Non-Fiction

sponsored by Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, Weed Man Maritimes, Heritage House Law Office, I Love Renovations and Simply Sage Solutions

The Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, presented for the first time in 2003 with a value of $2,500 recognizes the best first books of fiction and nonfiction published in the previous year by an Atlantic writer. Margaret and John Savage were instrumental in establishing the Dartmouth Book and  Writing Awards in 1989. The First Book Award is funded by the generous support of Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, Heritage House Law Office, I Love Renovations, Sensor Technology Ltd., and Simple Sage Solutions

 2020 Nominees

Almost Feral by Gemma Hickey (Breakwater Books)

Almost Feral


 Wounded Hearts: Memories of the Halifax Protestant Orphans’ Home by Lois Legge (Nimbus Publishing)

Wounded Hearts


Transplanted: My Cystic Fibrosis Double-Lung Transplant Story by Allison Watson (Nimbus Publishing)

Transplanted


11. Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Fiction

sponsored by the family of John and Margaret Savage and Royden Trainor

The Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, presented for the first time in 2003 with a value of $2,500, recognizes the best first books of fiction and nonfiction published in the previous year by an Atlantic writer. Margaret and John Savage were instrumental in establishing the Dartmouth Book and Writing Awards in 1989. The First Book Award is funded by the generous support of Weed Man Maritimes, Royden Trainor, and the family of John and Margaret Savage. 

DIG by Terry Doyle (Breakwater Books)

Dig


Going Dutch: A Novel by James Gregor (Simon & Schuster)

Going Dutch


Crow by Amy Spurway (Goose Lane Editionsopens a new window)

Crow


12. Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award - Non-Fiction

presented by the Kiwanis Club of Dartmouth

The Dartmouth Book Awards were established in 1989 by then Mayor of Dartmouth, Dr. John Savage, based on the recommendation of the founding chair of the DBA, Paul Robinson. The annual Dartmouth Book Awards for Fiction (named in honour of Jim Connors, generously funded by BOYNECLARKE LLP) and Nonfiction, (named in honour of Robbie Robertson, generously funded by the Dartmouth Kiwanis Club) valued at $2,500 each, honour the best books by Canadian authors and published the previous year in celebration of Nova Scotia and its people. The awards are administered by a volunteer committee composed of representatives from Halifax Public Libraries, the Halifax Regional Municipality, and members of the community. 

2020 Nominees

Grandfather’s House: Returning to Cape Breton by Clive Doucet (Nimbus Publishing)

Grandfather's House


Daughter of Family G: A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate by Ami McKay (Knopf Canadaopens a new window)

Daughter of Family G


Ghosts Within: Journeying Through PTSD by Garry Leech (Fernwood Publishing)

Ghosts Within


13. Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

The Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award was first presented in 1991. Established with an endowment by Thomas Head Raddall himself, and with ongoing support from the Raddall family, this award honours the work of fiction writers in the Atlantic region and, as the original benefactor envisioned, provides “the gift of time and peace of mind” so essential to the creation of new work. The Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award is facilitated by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

2020 Nominees

Crocuses Hatch from Snow by Jaime Burnet (Vagrant Press - A Nimbus Imprint)

Crocuses Hatch From Snow


The Innocents by Michael Crummey (Doubleday Canada)

The Innocents


The Waiting Hours by Shandi Mitchell (Viking Canada)

The Waiting Hours

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