This year’s longlisted titles speak to the theme: One Book to Open Your Eyes. These books challenge readers to look differently at themselves, their neighbours and the world around them.
Ruth Marshall’s hilarious memoir with a very long title, Walk It Off: The True and Hilarious Story of How I Learned to Stand, Walk, Pee, Run, and Have Sex Again After a Nightmarish Diagnosis Turned My Awesome Life Upside Down, is off to a great start. Since publishing in January of this year, it has been featured on Elle Canada‘s “Four Must-Reads on Our Bookshelf this Month” and Bustle‘s “16 Best Nonfiction Books Of January 2018 To Get You Ready For The Year.” Marshall also appeared on CTV’s Your Morning and Global News’ The Morning Show to talk about the incredible and often humorous experience that inspired her book.
Desmond Cole, acclaimed journalist and author of the award-winning article, “The Skin I’m In: I’ve been interrogated by police more than 50 times—all because I’m black,” has been awarded the 2017 PEN Canada/Ken Filkow Prize for freedom of expression. The award honours those “whose work has advanced freedom of expression in Canada.”
In his documentary Desmond explores what it is to be black in Canada in the 21st. The Skin We’re In aired on CBC in 2017 and can be viewed here.
Congratulations to Mark Raboy whose work, Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World, has been shortlisted for the 2017 Physics World’s Book of the Year. A review of the book that appeared in the February issue of Physics World calls it, “a major and long overdue biography that combines archival sources and publications to create a highly readable and fascinating insight into the public and private aspects of Marconi’s life.”
We’re kicking 2018 off on the right foot (so punny): Happy book birthday to the hilarious and inspirational Ruth Marshall, author of Walk It Off: The True and Hilarious Story of How I Learned to Stand, Walk, Pee, Run, and Have Sex Again After a Nightmarish Diagnosis Turned My Awesome Life Upside Down. Click here to listen to Ruth’s interview on The Current where she talks about her journey post-diagnosis and her laugh-out-loud funny memoir.
Congratulations to Ken Dryden and Doug Saunders, two of the four finalists for the 14th Annual BC National Non-Fiction Award. Dryden, bestselling author and Hall of Famer, has been nominated for his investigative book, Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey. And Globe and Mail columnist Saunders, was nominated for Maximum Canada: Why 35 Million Canadians Are Not Enough.
The jury will announce the winner of the 2018 prize at a special presentation ceremony in Vancouver on February 1, 2018. The award carries a prize of $40,000 and each finalist will also receive a prize of $5,000.
The Globe & Mail’s Globe 100 Best Books of the Year list is out and we’re thrilled to see it populated with WCA authors. We would like to offer our warmest congratulations to all of the authors, and provide the Globe’s citations below.
The Best Canadian Fiction and Poetry of 2017:
We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night, by Joel Thomas Hynes (HarperCollins) – The winner of this year’s Governor-General’s Literary Award for English-language fiction, in which an ex-con embarks on a cross-country road trip with his girlfriend’s ashes, is “a potent and precise manual of how human disasters are made,” Alix Hawley says. “Hynes’s gift is in serving up the pieces of the story to fall as they will, leaving you to assemble the smash.
Brother, by David Chariandy (McClelland & Stewart) – This powerful portrait of two brothers growing up in Scarborough in the early 1990s won the the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. Writes Hannah Sung: “Brother is filled with moments of swagger and bravery, of recklessness and love that sparks against the dull pain of tragedy, which is foretold in elegiac descriptions of the landscape.”
Little Sister, by Barbara Gowdy (HarperCollins) – The owner of a Toronto cinema strangely and inexplicably begins to enter the body of another woman in Gowdy’s first novel in a decade. “It is fun and funny and can frequently startle you, breaking your heart with the lovingly observed minutia of everyday experience,” José Teodoro says. “Its confluence of the uncanny and the ordinary, of mischief and profundity, at times recalls the books of Haruki Murakami or the films of Woody Allen, but Gowdy’s use of quirk as an entrée into psychological depth is most closely akin to the stories of Lorrie Moore. Little Sister is all depth and grace and yet never more than a sentence away from a playful nudge in the ribs.”
The Best Canadian Non-Fiction of 2017:
Juliet’s Answer: One Man’s Search for Love and the Elusive Cure for Heartbreak, by Glenn Dixon (Simon & Schuster) – A memoir of moving to Verona to respond to letters sent to Shakespeare’s Juliet. “Dixon has gracefully entered into the tradition of travel writing meets memoir (think Eat, Pray, Love,) and despite his driving belief that he knows so little about the subject, he writes about love with admirable generosity, sensitivity and insight,” Stacey May Fowles writes.
Life on the Ground Floor, by James Maskalyk (Doubleday Canada) – The Toronto doctor’s latest memoir, and the winner of this year’s Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-Fiction, is a book that “captures the viscera, real and symbolic, of the ER – its sights, sounds, smells, pulse – without romanticizing the work,” André Picard writes.
The Whisky King: The Remarkable True Story of Canada’s Most Infamous Bootlegger and the Undercover Mountie on his Trail, by Trevor Cole (HarperCollins) – Rollicking historical true crime from an award-winning novelist. Says Taras Grescoe: “The Whisky King has got it all: poison hooch in blind pigs, liquor orgies with double-crossing dames, shootouts in chicken coops. This is superb non-fiction, by a writer at the top of his game.”
Birds Art Life, by Kyo Maclear (Doubleday Canada) – The novelist and picture-book author offers an introspective memoir of birding and the artistic life. The book, Stacey May Fowles says, “finds beauty and enjoyment in unlikely places, and contentment in the smallest things – from the flight of a bird to the love of a parent to the sweetness of a song.”
Game Change: The Life and Death of Steve Montador, and the Future of Hockey, by Ken Dryden (Signal) – A deep piece of investigative journalism that chronicles the emotional rise and quick demise of one of hockey’s many tragic figures. Here, reviewer Brett Popplewell writes, is Dryden, one of hockey’s most celebrated goalies, “reclaiming his place among this country’s deepest sports writers.” To Dryden, he adds, “Montador’s story is the story of modern hockey. That of a grinder who sacrificed everything for the game.”
Anna Fitzpatrick’s Favourite Picture Books of 2017:
Seamus’s Short Story, by Heather Hartt-Sussman and Milan Pavlovic (Groundwood Books) – Hartt-Sussman takes an imaginative and lighthearted approach to this story about self-expression and gender identity, in which frustrated Seamus starts dressing up in his mother’s high heels in order to experience life as a taller person.
Yak and Dove, by Kyo Maclear and Esme Shapiro (Tundra Books) – Whimsical watercolours accompany this trio of tales about two creatures who are so different they can only be best friends. The sheer attention paid to world-building and background characters makes one hope this book is just the first in a new series.
We are delighted to announce that three WCA authors have been shortlisted for the 2017 Speaker’s Book Award.
- Trevor Cole, The Whisky King: The Remarkable True Story of Canada’s Most Infamous Bootlegger and the Undercover Mountie on his Trail
- Karolyn Smardz Frost, Steal Away Home: One Woman’s Epic Flight to Freedom – And her Long Road Back to the South
- Nicholas Jennings, Lightfoot
The Speaker’s Book Award recognizes works by Ontario authors reflecting the diverse culture and rich history of the province and of its residents. Topics include the history of the province and its many communities; prominent figures in Ontario from various fields including, but not limited to, politics, culture, arts, education and business; the history and achievements of women and minorities in Ontario; and the development of Ontario’s parliamentary system. Submissions are welcomed in either English or French.
The winning book is announced at an annual awards reception held at the Ontario Legislature each spring, and is then featured at the Legislative Assembly Gift Shop and in the Legislative Library.
Westwood Creative Artists, one of Canada’s largest literary agencies representing more than 400 writers, is looking for a candidate to fill a full-time 12 week internship position, beginning Monday February 12th and ending Friday May 4th, with possible flexibility for the right candidate.
A considerable amount of time during this internship will be spent working with WCA’s international rights director and rights associate in preparation for the London Book Fair in April. There will also be the opportunity to work with other WCA agents and at the reception desk. In the rights department, the intern will be involved in catalogue proofreading, general preparation and follow-up for the London Book Fair. There will also be some data entry and other administrative tasks. While working with individual agents, the intern will understand how the agent manages his or her authors, learn about Canadian and US submissions, and provide needed support in a varied number of capacities. At the reception desk, the intern will really be at the “nerve centre” of the agency. Tasks will include daily administration work, reading submissions, and receiving authors and publishers as they arrive at the agency.
We offer a competitive honorarium of $1500, a lively and congenial work environment in Toronto’s Annex neighbourhood, and an excellent opportunity to gain an overview of the publishing industry in Canada and abroad through the lens of the literary agent and the writers we represent.
The ideal candidate will be eager to learn, highly organized, energetic, and have a positive outlook. Strong proofreading and computer skills required; previous office experience and knowledge of the publishing industry an asset; passionate attention to detail and accuracy a must. Please send your cover letter, resume, and references to the attention of Carolyn Forde at Carolyn@wcaltd.com at your earliest convenience or by January 2nd. We appreciate all applications but will only reply to candidates selected for an interview.
We couldn’t be more thrilled to congratulate James Maskalyk and David Chariandy on winning the Nonfiction and Fiction Writers’ Trust Awards last night!
James was awarded the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for his book, Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine, and David received the $50,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Brother.
The jury praised Maskalyk’s work for revealing the “compelling universal truths about the power, and limits, of medicine, the strength of human will, and the fragile, infinitesimal gap between dying and living.”
Brother, also shortlisted for the Giller Prize, was noted by the jury for its “stunning lyrical writing, pitch perfect pacing, and unexpected humour.”
Not to mention Kyo Maclear was one of five finalists for the Hilary Weston Nonfiction prize for her beautiful memoir, Birds, Art, Life! The jury called it “a poetic and philosophical ode to life and art, with birds as the motivating force.”
Congrats again to our wonderful authors for being recognized by one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards!