Need a new book to cozy up with on the couch? That’s exactly what this gloomy season is for—and we know just the right place to look. Last night, the Writers’ Trust of Canada presented seven literary awards and more than $260,000 to Canadian writers, honouring our country’s accomplishments in fiction, nonfiction, short fiction, poetry, and literature for young readers. Pick up one of the books below, and next time someone asks what you’re reading, you can tell them “only Canada’s best.”
“Elizabeth Hay’s loving, exacting memoir, All Things Consoled, details the decline of her elderly parents with unflinching tenderness. The path she and her family travel is crooked and long, filled with hospital beds and doctors’ visits, foggy minds, and shuffling confusion. But Hay’s prose elevates this ordinary rite of passage — the death of one’s parents — to something rare and poetic. All Things Consoled becomes,itself, a consolation for anyone despairing at the loose ends that parents leave behind. Page-after-page this is a masterclass in observation — a lesson in how meaning can emerge from grief.”
Elizabeth Hay, All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir
Hilary Weston Writrs’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction ($60,000)
Elizabeth Hay (Ottawa) was awarded the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction for All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir, a thoughtful portrait of what it means to be a daughter and caregiver to parents towards the end of their lives. In anticipation of the novel’s release, Hay wrote “The Mood” for FASHION’s September issue. Find out why she calls the month the first blank page of an essay here.
“Kathy Page’s Dear Evelyn tells the tender and unsettling story of working-class Londoner Harry Miles and the ambitious Evelyn Hill who fall in love as the world around them goes to war. What initially begins as a familiar wartime love story morphs into a startling tale of time’s impact on love and family, as well as one’s complex search for personal meaning and truth. By integrating themes that are universally understood by readers and skillfully crafting endearing characters that surprise and delight, Page has created a poignant literary work of art. The result is a timeless page-turning masterpiece.”
Kathy Page, Dear Evelyn
Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize ($50,000)
Kathy Page (Salt Spring Island, BC) received the $50,000 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize for Dear Evelyn, a lifelong love story of marriage and compatibility inspired by wartime correspondences between Page’s own mother and father.
“In Shashi Bhat’s ‘Mute,’ rooms open into other rooms, and each one is furnished with an inventory of meticulous detail, right down to the roaches scuttling across the floor and the narrator who puts on heels to rise above them. It is a story about fear and loneliness, failed connections and existential questions, as well as a darkly funny take on academia, literary snobbery, and popular culture. This is a story where sentences sparkle, each one laying down the path toward a perfect and most unsettling conclusion.”
Shashi Bhat, “Mute”
Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize ($10,000)
Shashi Bhat (New Westminster, BC) received the $10,000 Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for “Mute,” a darkly funny story about academia and popular culture, with themes of fear, loneliness, and failed connections.
Other recipients from the evening include:
Jordan Scott (Royston, BC): Latner Writers’ Trust Poetry Prize, $25,000.
David Bergen (Winnipeg): Matt Cohen Award, recognizing a lifetime of distinguished work by a Canadian writer, $25,000.
Christopher Paul Curtis (Windsor, ON): Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People, $25,000.
Alissa York (Toronto): Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award, honouring a writer of fiction in mid-career, $25,000.
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