We are thrilled to announce that we have SEVEN authors shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award!
Tightrope author Keir Lowther, The Porcupine's Quill author Nicole Dixon and Breakwater Books author Lesleyanne Ryan have been shortlisted for the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. This award, presented for the first time in 2003 with a value of $1,500, recognizes the best first book of fiction or non-fiction published in the previous year by an Atlantic writer.
CBC Literary Award finalist Keir Lowther makes his debut with a novel that revolves around loved ones dead and alive, family or otherwise that haunts the modern psyche of one young boy, trapped in the grotesque world that surrounds him. Written in a creepy, deadpan, dark spiritual tone that will light a powder keg in the lukewarm waters of Canadian fiction. Dirty Bird is a family dystopia saga of anxiety and misplaced love, carved out in the spirit of spooky tradition of writers such as Tony Burgess, Joey Comeau and Lisa Foad.
High-Water Mark is Bronwen Wallace Award–winner Nicole Dixon’s smart and sexy debut. These ten tightly written stories, touched with humour, focus on characters pursuing romantic and professional desires, and encountering and recovering from betrayal and heartbreak. A young woman and her partner discover that both going back to the land and raising a newborn are more difficult – and fraught with more unexpected dangers – than life in the city. A woman becomes sexually obsessed with a female friend after a six-year relationship ends. The east/west Toronto divide is just one conflict that arises among the three members of an all-female band. As the women in High-Water Mark run away and return, try love and sex, move from city to country, they are always challenged and changed. Dixon’s perceptive, witty, no-nonsense collection authentically captures the voices of women in a way rarely found in mainstream fiction.
Winner of the 2011 Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers, Lesleyanne Ryan’s debut novel, Braco, takes place over the five days following the fall of Srebrenica in 1995. The narrative follows the perspectives of Bosnian civilians, UN Peacekeepers, Serbian and Bosnian soldiers, as well as a Canadian photojournalist. A retired veteran and former Bosnian Peacekeeper, Ryan vividly captures the visceral tension and horror of Bosnian refugees fleeing Srebrenica, the ensuing massacre of Bosnian men, and the inability of the Dutch peacekeepers to protect them. The award judges acclaimed the debut novel as a “compelling, captivating, and fast-paced novel, from its vivid and intriguing prologue set in Srebrenica to an ending that fits, if not satisfies.”
Creative Book Publishing author Mike Heffernan and Breakwater Books author Joan Sullivan have been shortlisted for the Rogers Communications Award for Non-Fiction and ECW Press author George Murray and Vehicule Press author Mark Callanan have been shortlisted for the E.J. Pratt Poetry Award. These two awards are a part of the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards which carry the distinguished patronage of the Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador.
The first St. John’s taxi stand started up in the early-20th Century and greatly expanded prior to the Second World War. There are now almost four hundred taxis operating within the city limits. The Other Side of Midnight: Taxi Cab Stories is not a traditional history of taxi cabs in St. John’s. It describes the commonly shared experiences of an underwritten portion of Newfoundland’s working class while presenting St. John’s from the front seat of a taxi cab. It will explore the working lives of its subjects, as well as their thoughts and feelings about their choice of career and their clients. Every segment of our society utilizes their services, from the social elite to the social obsolete: businessmen, drug pushers, prostitutes and forlorn lovers. They are witnesses to the best and worst in all of us. They are trained listeners to troubled people, as well as cheerleaders and goodwill ambassadors. Individuals will emerge, as well as equally unique understandings of their working lives. Comical, absurd and often dramatic, many of their reminiscences will be of long hours and years on the job, their hopes and decayed dreams.
Freelance writer and playwright Joan Sullivan’s book In the Field is a work of non-fiction that tells the story of one young Newfoundlander soldier, Stephen Norris, lost in WWI, and how his death affected his family, his community, and, decades later, an entirely new generation. In 2004, a high school theatre class creates a musical about the Newfoundland Regiment. After pulling off a big production, teachers, students, and parents venture out on an overnight camping trip to Three Arm, where they find the remains of Stephen Norris’s boat. In the Field captures the haunting and profound experiences of adventure and homecoming.
Poetry that explores how accidental voyeurism can force reconsideration and reconciliation. White⋅out: n. a surface condition … in which no object casts a shadow, the horizon cannot be seen, and only dark objects are discernible … Whiteout: when the heavy weather of daily life establishes the measure of the measureless; when the predatory nature of the accidental conjures cowboys and the comatose; when the sickly sweet pop of life underfoot contrasts the televised image, shrinking to a pinprick. Whiteout: calques and towers, twin polar storms, falling, burning. Whiteout: “a book of white nothing.” George Murray’s sixth collection has been a decade in the making. At once taut, tender and terrifying, haunted and haunting, Whiteout shatters convention in the collision of order and rage, formlessness and hard-won serenity.
Gift Horse, Mark Callanan’s second full-length collection of poetry, was largely written following a near-fatal medical emergency in 2007. The poems offer up the story of a young man whose gratitude at being alive is undercut by Lazarus-like confusion and ambivalence. Brandishing a newly acute sense of mortality, Callanan emerges as an Atlantic flâneur stalked by terrifying sea legends, death-steeped domesticity (where even supermarket lobsters “weigh in against oblivion”) and the extinct Newfoundland Wolf. Understated, sinister and unsettling, Gift Horse is a work of considerable craft and vision.
The 2013 Atlantic Book Awards and Festival runs May 9-16 and the awards will be announced at a special ceremony on the last night of Festival, Thursday, May 16, at 7:00p.m. at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. For more details visit the Atlantic Book Awards website: http://www.atlanticbookawards.ca/.
Congratulations to all of our nominees!!!