Thomas King Wins Governor General’s Literary Award!

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WCA is thrilled to announce that Thomas King’s The Back of the Turtle (HarperCollins Canada) has won the 2014 Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction.

The Back of the Turtle is King’s first literary novel in 15 years and follows on the success of the award-winning and bestselling The Inconvenient Indian and his beloved Green Grass, Running Water and Truth and Bright Water, both of which continue to be taught in Canadian schools and universities. Green Grass, Running Water is widely considered a contemporary Canadian classic.

The Governor General’s Literary Awards were first awarded in 1936, and are now one of Canada’s premier national literary awards. Winners will be celebrated at a public event in Ottawa on November 26.

The Back of the Turtle By King, Thomas

Paul Wells wins Ottawa Book Award

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Please join us in congratulating Paul Wells, the winner of the Ottawa Book Award in the English: Non-Fiction category for The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006- (Penguin Random House of Canada).

Paul Wells

Jury Statement:

This no-holds barred romp into the inner sanctum of the “Harper government” is sometimes hilariously irreverent, but always astute and based on meticulously accumulated details. Paul Wells provides disturbing insights into this government’s determination to stay in power, its good fortune in the face of possible adversity, its mistakes and its battle to control information. This is a well-written, important book published at a timely juncture in Canada’s political history.

Charlotte Gray’s The Massey Murder has won the Heritage Toronto Award!

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Please join us in congratulating Charlotte Gray. The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country has continued its recent hot-streak, adding the Heritage Toronto Award to last week’s Toronto Book Award!

Now celebrating its 40th anniversary, the Heritage Toronto Awards is Canada’s longest-running heritage awards program.  Congratulations, Charlotte!

Gray Tops Toronto Book Awards

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Please join WCA in congratulating Charlotte Gray, the winner of the 40th annual Toronto Book Awards for her non-fiction work, The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country. The award recognizes exceptional literary works that are in some way evocative of the city.

WCA Authors stand tall in Forest of Reading

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The nominations for the Forest of Reading Awards have just been announced, and several WCA authors have been nominated.

Blue Spruce Award ~

The Highest Number In The World

Roy Macgregor, Genevieve Despres

Tundra Books

9-year-old Gabe (Gabriella) Murray lives and breathes hockey. She’s the youngest player on her new team, she has a nifty move that her teammates call “the Gabe,” and she shares a lucky number with her hero, Hayley Wickenheiser: number 22. But when her coach hands out the team jerseys, Gabe is stuck with number 9. Crushed, Gabe wants to give up hockey altogether. How can she play without her lucky number? Gabe’s grandmother soon sets her straight, though–from her own connection to the number 9 in her hockey-playing days to all the greats she cheered for who wore it, she soon convinces Gabe that this new number might not be so bad after all.

A lovely intergenerational tale and a history of the storied number 9 in hockey, The Highest Number in the World is a must-have for any hockey fan.

Silver Birch Award ~

The Creature Department

Robert Paul Weston


It’s a tentacled, inventive, gooey, world in there. . . .

Elliot Von Doppler and his friend Leslie think nothing ever happens in Bickleburgh, except inside the gleaming headquarters of DENKi-3000—the world’s eighth-largest electronics factory. Beneath the glass towers and glittering skywalks, there’s a rambling old mansion from which all the company’s amazing inventions spring forth. And no one except Uncle Archie knows what’s behind the second-to-last door at the end of the hall.

Until Elliot and Leslie are invited to take a glimpse inside. They find stooped, troll-like creatures with jutting jaws and broken teeth. Tiny winged things that sparkle as they fly. And huge, hulking, hairy nonhumans (with horns). It is unlike anything they’ve ever seen. But when Chuck Brickweather threatens to shut down the DENKi-3000 factory if a new product isn’t presented soon, the creatures know they are in danger. And when Uncle Archie vanishes, it’s up to Elliot, Leslie, and every one of the unusual, er, “employees” to create an invention so astonishing it will save the Creature Department.

From There To Here

Laurel Croza, Matt James

Groundwood Books

A little girl and her family have just moved across the country by train. Their new neighborhood in the city of Toronto is very different from their home in the Saskatchewan bush, and at first everything about “there” seems better than “here.”

The little girl’s dad has just finished building a dam across the Saskatchewan River, and his new project is to build a highway through Toronto. In Saskatchewan, he would come home for lunch every day, but now he doesn’t come until supper. The family used to love to look at the stars, and the northern lights dancing in the night sky. But in the city, all they can see is the glare from the streetlights. All the kids used to run and play together, but now older brother Doug has his own friends.

Then one day there is a knock on the door. It is Anne, who lives kitty-corner and is also eight, going on nine, and suddenly living in Toronto takes on a whole new light.
Laurel Croza and Matt James have beautifully captured the voice and intense feelings of a young child who, in the midst of upheaval, finds hope in her new surroundings.

Red Maple Award ~


Richard Scrimger

Harper Collins Canada

From the imagination of one of Canada’s funniest writers for young readers comes the story of a creepy young zombie named Imre Lazar, who, in spite of a few special challenges, is integrated into a regular classroom at Dresden Public School in Ontario. No one is less sure about the school board’s decision than narrator Bob, but his fearless best friend, Evil-O, is Imre’s greatest defender. Clashes and heroics ensue as the community’s tolerance for difference—and Bob’s tolerance for an undead rival—are pushed to the limit in this hilarious, exciting and surprisingly touching novel.

White Pine Award ~


Gail Gallant

Random House

Being able to see ghosts and teaming up with a local historian and his son, allows Amelia to piece together what really happened the night her best friend apparently committed suicide. The last time Amelia Mackenzie saw her best friend Matthew alive, he broke her heart. When he is found the next day an apparent suicide, Amelia’s world comes crashing down.  And then she sees him again. Because Amelia has a secret: sometimes, she sees ghosts. A local history columnist named Morris Dyson contacts Amelia after the funeral and tells her that he thinks the barn Matthew died in is haunted. With Amelia’s gift for seeing ghosts, Morris’s radical theories on the supernatural, and a bit of help from Morris’s son Kip a mystery unfolds. Apparition is a fast-paced supernatural mystery about memory and obsession, love and loss.


Darren Hynes

Penguin Books

Wayne Pumphrey is routinely the object of bullying until one day an unlikely source comes to his rescue and a friendship is born. Will Wayne’s new friendship survive the bully’s new plans? Fifteen-year old Wayne Pumphrey wishes he had the courage to actually send the letters he writes to friends and family. He also wishes his father would stop drinking, his mother would stop packing her bags to leave, and that his sister would stop listening to Nickleback. But what Wayne wishes for most, is that Pete “The Meat” would let him walk to school in peace. Then one morning, faced with Pete, his posse, and the inevitable eating of yellow snow, Marjorie rescues Wayne and an unlikely friendship is born. If only Pete didn’t have plans for them both…

Winners will be announced at the Festival of Trees next May.  You can find the complete shortlists at:

Random House Canada / Paul Wells Press Release

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TORONTO – OCTOBER 9, 2014: Random House Canada to publish Paul Wells’s Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere: Canada Since 1945, a three-volume social and political history of Canada

Anne Collins, publisher of Random House Canada, is delighted to announce the signing of Paul Wells, author of the recent award-winning national bestseller on Stephen Harper and Canada, The Longer Im Prime Minister, to an ambitious three-book project to create a fresh account of modern Canada, in a deal arranged by Jackie Kaiser of Westwood Creative Artists.

Random House Canada will publish the first volume, covering the years from 1945 to 1965, in Canada’s sesquicentennial of 2017, with new books to follow in 2019 and 2021. Collins says, “I came of age as writers such as Pierre Berton and Peter C. Newman were telling us our history in epic and creative new ways. Paul Wells comes from a different generation and has a very different sensibility, but he shares these authors’ fascination with the country we live in and he is an equally wonderful storyteller, remarkably free of hot air and always surprising. I can’t wait to see the questions Paul asks, and the answers he gives. I know they’ll be incisive, insightful and witty, that the patterns he sees and the stories he tells will wake us up to a new vision of our country.”

Paul Wells says, “Writing The Longer I’m Prime Minister gave me a hint of what’s possible when journalism moves past daily headlines to examine the broad sweep of events over many years. All that’s left to do now is to dive off the deep end. Instead of trying to understand one prime minister, I’ll take the reader through seven decades of Canadian life at multiple levels — from local to global events — and in between, eight significant prime ministers whose governments were usually too busy putting out fires to think much about the history they were making. I’m going to banish reverence for the duration. The story of Canada’s coming of age has often been lurid, chaotic and ridiculous, and that’s how I plan to tell it.”

With a mix of archival reporting, interviews with surviving principals, and interpretive analysis, Wells aims to return big history to pride of place in Canada’s literary conversation with the following three books:

Spoils of War, 1945–1965. The creation of the modern welfare state and the dawn of the Cold War. Canada leaves World War II strong and prosperous. But almost as soon as the war ends, Igor Gouzenko defects, conjuring the threat of a new and even more devastating war.These two themes — domestic peace and industry; international tension — are the backdrop for an era of rapid change in Canadian life.

Two Nations, 1965–1992. This book focuses on nearly three decades spent trying to accommodate Quebec nationalism — first with the arrival of the Three Wise Men (Trudeau, Marchand and Pelletier) in Ottawa, then Trudeaumania, the first Quebec referendum, repatriation, and Brian Mulroney’s hard-fought attempts to fix Trudeau’s mistakes.

Growing Up, 1992–2020. The 1995 referendum, 9/11, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, the global rise of Islamic fundamentalism and the decline of American hegemony are the unlikely backdrop for an optimistic final volume. Under Chrétien and Harper, a chastened federal government abandons quixotic adventure for an era of pragmatic and modest governance. That doesn’t mean party politics goes away, far from it, but our story ends with a surprisingly prosperous, optimistic Canada. The prognostications of the worst skeptics fail to come true; separatism lies in ruins; and Canada’s diversity and adaptability leave it well positioned to thrive in a changing world.

Paul Wells is the political editor of Maclean’s magazine. His most recent book, The Longer I’m Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006–, was a national bestseller. It won the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing and the John W. Dafoe Book Prize, and is nominated for the Ottawa Book Awards. His previous book, Right Side Up: The Fall of Paul Martin and the Rise of Stephen Harper’s New Conservatism, was also a national bestseller. He has worked for the National Post and Montreal Gazette and written for L’actualité, La Presse and the Literary Review of Canada. He lives in Ottawa. Follow him on Twitter at @inklessPW.

For more information: Josh Glover, Publicity Manager Penguin Random House of Canada or 647.788.3977

WCA & The Governor General’s Literary Awards Nominations

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Please join me in congratulating Bill Gaston, Sean Dixon, Thomas King, Julia Morstad (illustrator for Kyo Maclear’s Julia, Child) and Alexandra Shimo, and  and their publishers, on their GG nominations!

For the full list, please see the link below:


Bill GastonJuliet Was a Surprise (Hamish Hamilton, an imprint of Penguin Canada)

Thomas KingThe Back of the Turtle (HarperCollins Publishers)


Sean DixonA God in Need of Help (Coach House Books)


Edmund Metatawabin with Alexandra ShimoUp Ghost River: A Chief’s Journey through the Turbulent Waters of Native History (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada)

Children’s Literature (Illustration)

Julie MorstadJulia, Child, text by Kyo Maclear (Tundra Books)

Itani and Viswanathan on Giller Shortlist

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Please join WCA in celebrating the appearance of Frances Itani’s novel TELL and Padma Viswanathan’s novel THE EVER AFTER OF ASHWIN RAO on the 2014 shortlist for the $100,000 Scotiabank Giller Prize!

Jury Citation for Frances Itani / TELL:

Every word feels simple, right, and natural in Frances Itani’s Tell. You’re slowly immersed in the mystery: Who gave up a baby for adoption, and why? Itani peels back time to show us Kenan, a damaged and disfigured WWI soldier readjusting to life in Ontario, and his marriage to Tress. Itani inhabits many voices with ease, pathos and humour. Her choice of details expertly builds our understanding of her characters’ times, foibles and moral choices, and she connects them in a hugely satisfying ending. Tell is a treasure: serious with humorous moments, potent and controlled, subtle yet deeply moving.

Jury Citation for Padma Viswanathan / THE EVER AFTER OF ASHWIN RAO:

Scotch-drinking, McGill-educated psychologist Ashwin Rao wrote about those bereaved by India’s state-sponsored anti-Sikh pogrom of 1984. In 2004, he returns to Canada researching another book on comparative grief, attending the trial over the 1985 bombing of Air India 182, a bombing that claimed 329 lives, including his sister and her children. Guided by Viswanathan’s ever-compassionate gaze, and her ability to render a polyglot world in English, Ashwin meets Canadians affected by the tragedy, some as complex as himself. This often droll, fiercely-intelligent novel with its cat’s-cradle of a plot challenges the twin deadly lures of religious fundamentalism and racism, revealing the learning and unlearning at the core of the immigrant experience.