Archives for posts with tag: 2013

image: Holiday Reads 2013


For your last-minute gift-giving needs, my 2013 gift guide on CBC Day 6 includes:

For the fiction lover:
The Orenda by Joseph Boyden
Longbourn by Jo Baker
Stoner by John Williams

For the tech-savvy reader, nonfiction fan or parent to teenage smartphone addicts:
Smarter Than You Think by Clive Thompson

For the graphic novel reader or whimsical adventurer  of any age (10 and up):
The Encyclopedia of Early Earth by Isabel Greenberg

For the cook:
The Old World Kitchen by Elisabeth Luard

Listen to the audio.

Writers' Trust Award winners (l to r) Andrew Nikiforuk, Lisa Moore, Naben Ruthnum, Colin McAdam, Barbara Reid

On November 20, 2013 the Writers’ Trust of Canada held its 13th annual Writers’ Trust Awards in the Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto. The big winners of the night were:

  • Colin McAdam for A Beautiful Truth, which won the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize;
  • Naben Ruthnum for “Cinema Rex,” which won the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize;
  • Lisa Moore, who won the Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award;
  • Andrew Nikiforuk, who won the Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life;
  • Barbara Reid, who won the Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People;
  • McClelland & Stewart, which won the Writers’ Trust Distinguished Contribution Award in recognition of having been the sponsor of the Journey Prize since its inception 25 years ago.

The Writers’ Trust Awards is always a great event to be a part of, with the feeling in the room being one of support, congratulation and celebration. The acceptance speeches were heartfelt, in some cases emotional, and spoke to the importance of awards such as these to support, nurture and also showcase Canada’s finest literary talent.

Here’s some of the media coverage:


Gill Deacon and Zaib Shaikh host the Writers' Trust Gala

For this update I’m shamelessly borrowing the title of an annual series that Open Book: Toronto runs to preview the Writers’ Trust Gala. (It’s a fun series with a good title. Read it here.)

This year marked the 28th edition of the Gala, which was attended by more than 400 members of the literary, arts and philanthropic communities and raised $220,000 for the Writers’ Trust of Canada.

Highlights included the terrarium centrepieces containing miniature readers and books, a literary treasure hunt, and of course fine food and company with everyone dressed in their best.

Some photo galleries from the night are here, here, and here.



Photographer: Sonia Recchia / Pimentel Photo

More than 200 members of the literary, arts and philanthropic communities gathered at the Art Gallery of Ontario on Monday, October 21, to fete the nominees and discover the winner of the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. The one-hour ceremony included dramatic performances from the nominated books, a slide show of the books in locations across Canada, and original art created on the spot in response to  excerpts from the books. The event culminated, of course, in the announcement of the winner, and a “rock star party.”

Graeme Smith took the prize for his book The Dogs Are Eating Them Now: Our War in Afghanistan

The other nominees, who each took home $5,000, were:

  • Thomas King for The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America
  • J.B. MacKinnon for Our Once and Future World: Nature As it Was, As it Is, As it Could Be
  • Andrew Steinmetz for This Great Escape: The Case of Michael Paryla
  • Priscila Uppal for Projection: Encounters With My Runaway Mother

Here’s some of the coverage:



image: The Luminaries


On Tuesday night, Canadian-born Kiwi Eleanor Catton became the youngest author ever to win the Man Booker Prize. She won for The Luminaries, which, at 830-odd pages, is also the longest book ever to have won, and will forever be the last book to have won before the prize changed its entry rules to include writers beyond the Commonwealth and Ireland.

But should you read it?

I did – more quickly than I’d suggest you do. Here’s my conversation with Brent Bambury on CBC Day 6.



Hon. Hilary M. Weston welcomes guests to the announcement of the 2013 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction shortlist


On Wednesday, September 18 the shortlist for the $60,000 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction was announced. For the second year, books nominated for the prize will be promoted at Loblaws stores across Canada, and so, also for the second year, we announced the finalists at a swish event at Loblaws at Maple Leaf Gardens. While the cutting of the giant Parmesan (really, it’s big) did draw its own crowd, the real stars of the morning were the five nominees.

They are:

The winner will be announced on Monday, October 21.

Here’s some of the coverage from the shortlist announcement:

CBC Live (video)
CBC Books
Globe and Mail
National Post
Quill and Quire
Toronto Star




Lynn Patterson from RBC presents Laura Clarke with her prize

On May 28, 2013, at a ceremony at Toronto’s Koerner Hall, Laura Clarke was named the winner of the $5,000 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers.

On May 29, Jeff Douglas read a poem from Laura’s winning collection, “Mule Variations,” on CBC Radio As it Happens. Here’s the audio.

And on June 8, Laura went on CBC Radio’s Fresh Air to talk about her poet’s journey thus far, and what it means to win an award such as this. Here’s the audio.

Congratulations to Laura and to her fellow nominees, Laura Matwichuk and Suzannah Showler.

Work by all three of the finalists is available as a free download in the iBookstore.

The Book and Periodical Council and Raconteurs Present: Censored – Bruce Walsh from NOW Magazine on Vimeo.

On Feb. 28 a massive crowd gathered at The Garrison in Toronto for The Book and Periodical Council and Raconteurs Present: CENSORED, an evening of storytelling and performance around issues of censorship and free expression, part of Freedom to Read Week. Six storytellers shared their very different personal experiences. There were many laughs, but all underscoring a very serious message.

Above, Bruce Walsh tells “How I Got Here,” an adapted version of his TED Talk, “How the Holocaust Saved My Life.”

Below, Ken Setterington torpedoes any notion you might have of stuffy librarians with his story, “Yes, I Am a Librarian.”

Thanks to NOW Tube for posting all six stories in their entirety, here.

The Book and Periodical Council and Raconteurs Present: Censored – Ken Setterington from NOW Magazine on Vimeo.

Canadian Journalists for Free Expression (CJFE) talked to the Book and Periodical Council, Toronto Public Library,  and me, about Freedom to Read Week 2013, and a Type Books window display that has been generating a lot of chatter.

VIDEO: Freedom to Read Week 2013

The 29th annual Freedom to Read Week kicks off February 24 and runs to March 2 with events across the country to celebrate our freedom to read and highlight censorship issues in Canada.


Four Toronto highlights:

  • Feb 25, 2pm, Toronto Reference Library: Forbidden Reading. Documentary screening and director Q&A. FREE
  • Feb 28, 7pm, The Garrison. CENSORED. Presented by the Book & Periodical Council and the Raconteurs. Six storytellers share personal tales of censorship. $10 at the door.
  • March 1, 5:30pm, Hart House Library. Celebrate Our Freedom to Read. With novelist Katherine Govier, University of Toronto Writer-in-Residence Joy Kogawa, Toronto’s Poet Laureate George Elliott Clarke and writer and broadcaster Marian Botsford Fraser. FREE
  • March 1, 7pm. Toronto Reference Library. Beyond Book Burning: Disappearing Books in the Digital Age. Presented by PEN Canada. FREE
More info about all the above is available at