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The Western Canada Jewish Book Awards, a part of the Cherie Smith JCC Jewish Book Festival in Vancouver, have announced their winners for 2016. Tom Wayman has won the Diamond Foundation Prize for fiction for his book The Shadows We Mistake for Love. The awards are designed to celebrate excellence in writing on Jewish themes and subjects, showcase the achievements of authors who reside in Western Canada and recognize the writers’ contributions to Jewish culture.
A multiple award-winning author, Wayman has published three books of fiction, as well as more than a dozen collections of poems, six poetry anthologies and three collections of essays. His previous short story collection Boundary Country (Thistledown Press, 2007) was shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed award. His poetry has been awarded the Canadian Authors’ Association medal for poetry, the A.J.M. Smith Prize, first prize in the USA Bicentennial Poetry Awards competition, and the Acorn-Plantos Award; in 2003 he was shortlisted for the Governor General’s Literary Award. He has taught widely at the post-secondary level in Canada and the US, most recently (2002-2010) at the University of Calgary. He has been a resident of BC’s West Kootenay region since 1989.
The Shadows We Mistake for Love is a diverse collection of short stories based in BC’s West Kootenays. Living in the shadow of the Selkirk Mountains in southeastern BC, the inhabitants of the Slocan Valley are tied together by magical and dramatic geography, but also by an intricate web of shared history, common needs and the deep and complex relationships that evolve in isolated locations, where everyone is visible and there is no anonymity. The collection brings together loggers and environmentalists, marijuana growers and small-town lawyers, back-country skiers and homesteaders, to overlap and coalesce into a brilliant portrait of rural life and place.
Each award comes with a $2000.00 prize. The winners of the awards were announced at a ceremony held in Vancouver on June 19, 2016.
Acclaimed Alberta author Stephen R. Bown has been named a finalist for a national literary award for his most recent book, White Eskimo: Knud Rasmussen's Fearless Journey into the Heart of the Arctic . The Canadian Authors Association Award for Canadian History is awarded to the best historical non-fiction book on Canadian topics by a Canadian writer published in the preceding year.
This is the second award nomination Bown's book has received, as it was a finalist for an Alberta Literary Award, the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction, earlier this year.
White Eskimo is the first full-length biography of explorer Knud Rasmussen. Though less known today than his contemporaries Roald Amundsen and Robert Edwin Peary, Rasmussen (1879–1933) was one of the most intriguing of the great early twentieth century Arctic explorers. Born and raised in Greenland, and part Inuit on his mother's side, Rasmussen could shoot a gun and harness a team of sled dogs by the time he was eight. He undertook some of the most astounding feats of endurance in the annals of polar exploration, including the Fifth Thule Expedition, a three-year, 20,000-mile odyssey by dogsled from Greenland to Alaska. Even more impressively, he travelled without the elaborate preparations and large support staffs employed by other explorers, surviving with only a few Inuit assistants and living off the land.
White Eskimo will appeal to lovers of extreme adventure, remote cultures and timeless legends. Bown brings Rasmussen's inspiring story to life in all its richness, with the readability of a good novel.
Bown is the author of many other critically acclaimed and award-winning titles including Merchant Kings; Madness, Betrayal and the Lash; and most recently, The Last Viking, which was named one of The Globe and Mail's Best 100 Books of 2012. Born in Ottawa, Bown now lives in the Canadian Rockies with his wife and two children.
The Horrors: An A to Z of Funny Thoughts on Awful Things by Charles Demers is one of ten books to be longlisted for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour!
The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour award works to encourage the growth of Canadian humour writing. The prestigious Memorial Medal, accompanied by a $15,000 prize from TD Financial Group, is awarded annually for the best in Canadian literary humour. The award has attained an international reputation and is the only one of its kind for Canadian humour writing. The shortlist will be announced on Friday, May 6, 2016.
Saturday, April 30th is Authors for Indies Day, a national event where authors show their love for independent bookstores by volunteering as guest booksellers. Across the country, authors will be chatting to customers, recommending books and thanking book buyers for the support that they provide to their communities by shopping at indie bookstores. More information and a full list of participating authors can be found at www.authorsforindies.com
This year, participating Douglas & McIntyre authors include:
White Eskimo: Knud Rasmussen's Fearless Journey into the Heart of the Arctic by Stephen R. Bown is one of three books to be shortlisted for the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction at the Alberta Literary Awards, presented by the Writers' Guild of Alberta.
White Eskimo is the first full-length biography of Knud Rasmussen, an arctic explorer who—while considered a national hero in Denmark—has been relatively underexposed in Canada up until now. Rasmussen was unique because he felt so at home in with the people who lived in the arctic (he was half Inuit—from Greenland—on his mother's side). While the other explorers of the time were interested in accomplishing an amazing physical feat of being the first to get somewhere, Rasmussen was much more concerned about learning about the people he met on his travels.
Stephen Bown is the author of many critically acclaimed, award winning titles including most recently, Last Viking (2012 which was named amongst the Globe and Mail Best 100 Books of the Year. Born in Ottawa, he now lives in the Canmore with his wife and two children.
The Alberta Literary Awards recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta authors. The other shortlisted titles in the nonfiction category are include Will Ferguson's Road Trip Rwanda (Viking Canada) and Andrew Nikiforuk's Slick Water (Greystone). The winner will be announced and awards presented at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 4, 2016 in MacDonald Hall at SAIT in Calgary. The celebration will take place alongside the WGA 2016 Conference, “Creativity and Happiness.”
After The Sands: Energy and Ecological Security for Canadians by Gordon Laxer is one of five books to be shortlisted for the $10,000 John W. Dafoe Book Prize. After The Sands was chosen from 47 entries.
Impeccably researched, with bold and original ideas, After the Sands sets out an energy strategy using deep conservation and a Canada-first perspective. The goal: to ensure that lower-income Canadians get sufficient energy at affordable prices in a carbon-constrained future and prevent the rich from cornering reduced energy supplies. It is critical reading for anyone concerned about rising sea levels, pipeline and tanker spills, climate change chaos and Canada’s future in a carbon restricted world.
Other shortlisted titles include Antony Anderson’s The Diplomat, Norman Hillmer’s O.D.Skelton, David Mulroney’s Middle Power, and Greg Poelzer and Ken S Coates’ From Treaty Peoples to Treaty Nation. The winner will be named later in the spring and the award will be presented at the J.W. Dafoe Foundation’s Annual Book Prize Dinner in May.
Memorializing John Wesley Dafoe, one of the most significant Canadian editors of the 20th century, the prize is one of the richest awards for non-fiction excellence about Canada and international affairs.
In his tenure at the Manitoba Free Press, later renamed the Winnipeg Free Press, from 1901-1944, Dafoe was known for his advocacy of western development, free trade, and national independence. His case for adoption by Britain of the Statute of Westminster in 1931 advanced the severance of formal ties with Empire and created the eight dominions, which became the nucleus of the present 54-nation Commonwealth.
Vancouver designer and publisher Roberto Dosil has won third at the prestigious Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada in the prose non-fiction illustrated category for his design of Closing Time: Prohibition, Rum-Runners, and Border Wars by North-Vancouver-based author Daniel Francis.
Using a large number of archival images, Closing Time tells the story of prohibition in Canada—a twenty-one month period in which the country was as dry as any law could make it, which admittedly was not very dry. Comparing the past with our present-day prohibition of certain recreational drugs, the book explores the limits of laws that forbid these indulgences—a topic that is equally as relevant today as in the past.
The Alcuin Awards for Excellence in Book Design in Canada is the oldest national competition that recognizes and celebrates fine book design in Canada. This year’s judges, Teresa Bubela, Denise Lapointe, and Paul Roelofs, selected 43 winning titles from 230 entries, from 9 provinces and 99 publishers.
The United Nations has declared 2016 to be the Year of Pulses. What exactly are pulses? Why are they important to consider using as meat alternatives for protein? How can one make the common chickpea more exciting in salads or other dishes? The Power of Pulses: Saving the World with Peas, Beans, Chickpeas, Favas and Lentils has the answers to these and other food related health questions. What follows is author Dan Jason’s introduction to the book:
I have been growing and talking about the value of pulses—dried peas and beans, chickpeas, favas and lentils—for 30 years, and remain more convinced than ever that they could help renew the health of our planet. Pulses are tried and true—people in temperate climates have been growing and eating them for more than ten thousand years. Nutritional powerhouses, pulses are still the most essential part of the diets of billions of people worldwide.
Belonging to the amazing and prolific legume plant family (Leguminosae or Fabaceae), pulses can snatch nitrogen out of the air and add it to the earth. Because of this powerful ability to increase the fertility of soil by simply growing in it, they are the epitome of renewable energy.
Easy to grow and prepare, dried peas and beans, chickpeas, favas and lentils can be cooked in a seemingly infinite variety of simple and delicious ways and offer much culinary delight because of their diverse tastes and textures. Cultures around the world have created special dishes for all of the pulses, and this book contains 50 inspired recipes that borrow from the best of them.
The surprising news is that even though most North Americans don’t know beans about beans, our farmers grow vast acreages of pulses to export to millions of people who do appreciate them. And while Canada is the world’s largest exporter of pulses, Canadians consume less than 10 percent of what their farmers grow. It is time for Canadians and Americans to realize that pulses—flexible enough to be prepared in hundreds of memorable ways for breakfast, lunch or dinner—could and should comprise a much larger portion of our daily diet. And in addition to buying pulses from our local farmers, we can grow them ourselves easily . . . and organically.
Of all the thousands of years seeds have been handed from farmer to farmer, it’s only in the past 50 or so that poisons have been used to grow food. We are at a crucial moment in our story when it is absolutely vital that we return to feeding everyone with clean food and water instead of continuing to play havoc with the health and well-being of ourselves and all the earth’s creatures. Pulses can be easily grown without herbicides and pesticides if we size down the North American model of industrial agriculture.
To this day, millions of small farmers grow beans without chemicals. And I have been growing beans myself successfully for 30 years without ever resorting to poisons. Pulses are also light on water, increasingly important on this planet where drought is becoming more and more a daily concern.
Being the nutrient-dense and easy-to-grow foods that they are, pulses can point us in the direction of a safe and sustainable agriculture that gives everyone access to clean food and water, along with the possibility of living in health, harmony and mutual benefit.
Stephen R. Bown, known across the country for his award-winning books on the history of science, exploration and ideas, has just released a biography of an Arctic explorer who was more concerned with learning about Inuit culture than being the first to accomplish some glamorous feat. White Eskimo: Knud Rasmussen’s Fearless Journey into the Heart of the Arctic is the first full-length biography of the original explorer and ethnographer to write about the language and the life of the Arctic peoples.
To find out more about the book and the research that went into producing it, see this Q&A with Stephen R. Bown. Stephen Bown Q&A
Armand Garnet Ruffo's Norval Morrisseau: Man Changing Into Thunderbird has been shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction this year! Since 1937, the Governor General’s Award has honoured the best in Canadian literature, with seven different categories for both English and French-language authors. All finalists receive $1,000, and the winners, who will be revealed on October 28th, will each receive $25,000.
Other finalists in the Non-Fiction category include Ted Bishop’s The Social Life of Ink: Culture, Wonder, and Our Relationship with the Written Word (Viking / Penguin Random House Canada), David Halton’s Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada’s Voice at War (McClelland & Stewart / Penguin Random House Canada), Michael Harris’s Party of One: Stephen Harper and Canada’s Radical Makeover (Viking/Penguin Random House Canada) and Mark L. Winston’s Bee Time: Lessons from the Hive (Harvard University Press).
Good luck Armand!
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