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Meet the 2020 Alberta Literary Award and Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Finalists

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is excited for the finalists for the 2020 Alberta Literary Awards and Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize. Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards and the City of Edmonton recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta and Edmonton authors.

The WGA would like to send our congratulations to those whose work is among this year’s Alberta Literary Awards finalists! We look forward to celebrating your creativity and hard work, and we will do all we can to spread the word about the wonderful writing you did in 2019. Updates on this year’s awards presentation format will be posted to our website and social media as soon as they are finalized.

2020 Alberta Literary Awards Video Presentation

Thursday, June 4, 8pm, Online

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta, with the help of Reel Story Communications, has created a short video presentation that will celebrate this year’s finalists and announce the winners in eight categories, as well as the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize and Golden Pen Award.

The video will be posted here via the WGA Facebook page and we invite you all to watch the premiere with us on Thursday, June 4th at 8pm MST.

If you are unable to join us at 8, we will post the video to our YouTube channels following the watch party! (https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCNw4uVQONhQw1Gu-IPG793g)

Join us from a safe distance as we celebrate the achievements of the Alberta literary community!

Click on the tabs below to learn more about this year’s finalists!

The 2020 Alberta Literary Award Finalists

2020 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story

ALI BRYAN is a novelist and creative nonfiction writer based in Calgary. Her first novel Roost, won the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and was the official selection of One Book Nova Scotia. Her second novel, The Figgs, was released in 2018 and was a finalist for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. She twice longlisted for the CBC Canada Writes Creative Nonfiction prize and twice shortlisted for the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award. She is a Lieutenant Governor of Alberta Arts Awards Emerging Artist recipient. Her debut YA novel, The Hill, will be released in fall 2020.

TYLER HEIN is a writer living in Edmonton, AB. He is a graduate of the UBC creative writing MFA program. He is the recipient of a Telus StoryHive grant and was shortlisted for the RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award. His prose and poetry has appeared in THIS Magazine, Maclean’s, Glass Buffalo, and Funicular, among others. He is currently working on his debut novel.

JOELLE TYMCHUK grew up all over Alberta, in small towns and big cities, and now lives near Edmonton where she teaches junior high English Language Arts and Japanese as a second language. She enjoys her story infusions via novels and Netflix, comics and cereal boxes.

The Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story is sponsored by the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society

Here are the videos of the readings from A Virtual Reading with the Finalists on Monday, April 27:

Part 1:

Part 2: 

2020 Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction

In 1986, Canadian SHARON WOOD became the first woman from North America to climb Mount Everest. Her success on Everest catapulted her into an accidental career as a professional speaker. Her story is a testimonial to the power of teamwork, commitment, and the potential we all possess to realize extraordinary results. Wood’s memoir, Rising, was thirty years in the making, which she believes was the requisite time for this universal story to steep in introspection and life experience. Sharon resides in Canmore, Alberta and divides her time between guiding, climbing, speaking, writing and enjoying an active mountain lifestyle.

RICHARD KELLY KEMICK is an award-winning poet, journalist, and fiction writer. His new nonfiction book, I Am Herod, takes readers backstage and undercover at one of the world’s largest religious events. He is also the author of Caribou Run, a collection of poetry. Having published widely in all three genres, Richard’s work has been included in anthologies in Canada and the United Kingdom. He is the recipient of multiple awards including two National Magazine Awards and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s 2019 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story.

NAOMI K. LEWIS writes, edits, and teaches creative writing in Calgary. She was an associate editor at Alberta Views magazine and has served as Writer-in-Residence at the Calgary Public Library and the University of New Brunswick. Her previous books include the novel Cricket in a Fist, the short story collection I Know Who You Remind Me Of, and the anthology Shy, which she co-edited with Rona Altrows. Tiny Lights for Travellers was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Nonfiction (English), and is shortlisted for the W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize and the Pinksy Givon Family Prize for non-fiction (a category of the Western Canada Jewish Book Awards).

2020 Wilfrid Eggleston Award Finalists

Below is the video of these authors reading at A Virtual Reading with the Finalists on Thursday, April 30, 6:30pm.


2020 Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

SHARON BUTALA has published sixteen books (nine fiction and seven nonfiction) as well as articles and essays, and has had five plays produced. In 1998 she was awarded the Marian Engel prize, and has won a number of other awards and prizes. In 2001, she became an Officer in the Order of Canada and in 2009 received the Saskatchewan Order of Merit. Since 2008 she has made her home in Calgary, although she was born and spent most of her seventy years in Saskatchewan, half of them on her husband’s land and cattle ranch in southwest Saskatchewan.

MARINA ENDICOTT‘s novel Good to a Fault was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and CBC Radio’s Canada Reads, and won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, Canada/Caribbean. Her next, The Little Shadows, was short-listed for the Governor General’s award and long-listed for the Giller Prize, as was Close to Hugh. Her latest, The Difference, was one of the Globe & Mail’s Best Books of 2019. She has lived in Alberta for 29 years and teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta, U of T, Humber and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

RICHARD VAN CAMP is a proud Tlicho Dene from Fort Smith, NWT. He is the best selling author of 25 books these past 24 years in just about every genre. He and his family live in Edmonton and you can visit him daily on Facebook, Twitter and at www.richardvancamp.com.

2020 Georges Bugnet Award Finalists

Below is Marina Endicott’s Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

2020 Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry

BILLY-RAY BELCOURT is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a PhD candidate in the Dept. of English & Film studies at the University of Alberta and an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia. His books are THIS WOUND IS A WORLD (Frontenac House 2017), NDN COPING MECHANISMS (House of Anansi 2019), and the forthcoming A HISTORY OF MY BRIEF BODY (Hamish Hamilton 2020).

MONICA KIDD has written seven books, and her published poems, essays and articles number in the dozens. Her fourth poetry collection, Chance Encounters with Wild Animals, was published by Gaspereau Press in 2019. She is Acquisitions Editor and Production Manager at Pedlar Press, makes small letterpress works under the banner Whisky Jack Press, and works as a family physician in Calgary when she is not pandemic-homeschooling her three children.

Thirty years working as a festival director, freelance editor, university lecturer, managing editor, acquisitions editor, clerk of court, bartender, janitor and door-to-door salesman (and some other unmentionable jobs), has given PETER MIDGLEY enough material for twelve books for children and adults. His latest book is let us not think of them as barbarians (NeWest Press). You can reach him via his website, www.midgley.ca

2020 Stephan G. Stephansson Award Finalists

The Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry is sponsored by Stephan V. Benediktson

Below is the video of Monica Kidd’s Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

Below is Peter Midgley’s Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

2020 Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama

Born and once again residing in Niitsitapi country, TARA BEAGAN is a proud Ntlaka’pamux and Irish “Canadian” halfbreed. She has written twenty eight plays. Currently, she co-helms ARTICLE 11 with her most cherished collaborator, Andy Moro. A11 has brought Indigenous Activist art works around Turtle Island, and to Scotland, Aotearoa (NZ), and Australia. Beagan is a Dora & Betty nominee for acting, with a Dora win for writing.

ELENA ELI BELYEA is a playwright, performer, producer, arts educator, and Artistic Director of the award-winning Tiny Bear Jaws (a little theatre company with teeth). Elena’s plays have been produced across Canada (Montreal, Toronto, Edmonton, Quebec, Ottawa, and Wells) and received numerous awards, including First Place in the 2015 Wildfire National Playwriting Competition with Cleave (also included as part of the Playwrights Guild of Canada’s 2018 Surefire List). Elena was a participant in Nightwood Theatre’s 2016-2017 Write from the Hip Playwriting Program, a recipient of the Tarragon Theatre’s 2018-2019 RBC Emerging Playwright Award, and is a graduate of the University of Alberta and National Theatre School of Canada. Elena’s solo show, Miss Katelyn’s Grade Threes Prepare for the Inevitable first opened in 2015 and has been had over 75 across performances since its premiere. It was translated by Olivier Sylvestre in 2018 has toured across Canada in both French and English. / elenabelyea.com / @belyeache

CHRISTOPHER DUTHIE is a Calgary-based playwright, actor, educator and co-founder of Bad Knaps Theatre Collective who premiered A Dinner Party in June of 2019. His other plays and creations include: n00b (Vertigo Theatre Y-Stage Series. Tour: Young People’s Theatre/Persephone Theatre); Of Fighting Age co-created with Col Cseke and David van Belle (Verb Theatre/Glenbow Museum/High Performance Rodeo); Under the Overpass (InspiraTO Festival); Nightclub Act (TB Weekends workshop). He holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of Guelph and a BFA in Drama from the University of Calgary.

The Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama is sponsored by Alberta Views

Below is Elena Belyea’s Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

Below is Tara Beagan’s Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

2020 Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award

JENNIFER BOWERING DELISLE (she/her) is the author of the lyric family memoir The Bosun Chair (NeWest 2017); and Deriving, a poetry collection forthcoming from the University of Alberta Press. She has a PhD in English, and has also published a scholarly monograph. She joined the board of NeWest Press in 2018, and regularly teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension. She lives in Edmonton on Treaty 6 territory with her husband and two young children. Find her at www.jenniferdelisle.ca or @JenBDelisle.

RAYANNE HAINES is an award-winning & occasional bestselling multi-genre author of four traditionally published books. She’s had work published through various mediums across Canada, the USA and the UK, and has toured across Canada. She is the co-host of the poetry podcast, Let’s Get Lit, was a 2018 feature artist for Capital City Press with Edmonton Public Library and a past Writer in Residence at Audreys Books. Rayanne is a 2019 Edmonton Artist Trust Fund Award recipient.

JULIE SEDIVY is a language scientist, editor, and a writer of nonfiction whose writing ranges from the scientific to the literary and is often a blend of both. Her writing has appeared in publications such as Nautilus, Discover, Politico, and the Literary Review of Canada. Her most recent book is Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, co-edited with Rona Altrows. Her next book, titled Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self, will be published by Harvard University Press in 2021. She is a citizen of three countries, and now lives on the heart- achingly beautiful lands of Treaty 7.

Below is Rayanne Haines’ Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

2020 James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction

JENNIFER BOWERING DELISLE (she/her) is the author of the lyric family memoir The Bosun Chair (NeWest 2017); and Deriving, a poetry collection forthcoming from the University of Alberta Press. She has a PhD in English, and has also published a scholarly monograph. She joined the board of NeWest Press in 2018, and regularly teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension. She lives in Edmonton on Treaty 6 territory with her husband and two young children. Find her at www.jenniferdelisle.ca or @JenBDelisle.

PAULO DA COSTA was born in Angola and raised in Portugal. He is a writer, editor and translator living in Calgary. paulo’s first book of fiction The Scent of a Lie received the 2003 Commonwealth First Book Prize for the Canada-Caribbean Region and the W. O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. His poetry and fiction have been published in literary magazines around the world and have been translated to Italian, Mandarin, Spanish, Serbian, Slovenian and Portuguese. The Midwife of Torment is his latest fiction work.

OMAR MOUALLEM is a journalist, author, screenwriter, and filmmaker who has worked for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, CBC and WIRED. He’s edited numerous magazines, guest-hosted the CANADALAND podcast, and co-created a documentary about oil-sector suicides. Omar co-authored a national bestseller about the Fort McMurray wildfires, and his forthcoming book, a travel memoir about Muslims in the Americas, will  be published by Simon & Schuster Canada in 2021. He also founded Pandemic University Pop-up School of Writing in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Below is Omar Mouallum’s a Jennifer Delisle’s Virtual Readings with the Finalists!

Below is Paulo da Costa’s Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

2020 R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature

Guyanese-Canadian author NATASHA DEEN writes for kids, teens, and adults. Her books have been CCBC Starred Picks, Moonbeam Award winners, and Junior Library Guild selections. Along with writing, she enjoys visiting schools and libraries, helping people to tell their stories. Her latest novel, In the Key of Nira Ghani is an American Library Association YALSA Pick, a Red Maple Award nominee, and a Most Anticipated Teen Books for both Chapters-Indigo and Barnes & Noble. When she’s not writing, she spends an inordinate amount of time trying to convince her pets that she’s the boss of the house. Visit her at www.natashadeen.com.

SUE FARRELL HOLLER is a children’s author, journalist, and a former Sun Media parenting/humour columnist. Based on a true story, her YA novel Cold White Sun was a 2019 finalist for a Governor General’s Literary Award. Additionally, her titles include the middle grade novel Lacey and the African Grandmothers that’s set on the Siksika First Nation, and two picture books that are set in rural Alberta. A journalist by profession, she also writes non-fiction and humour for adults. Her work as a feature writer and newspaper columnist has appeared in local, regional and national publications. She lives in Grande Prairie.

DANIELLE L. JENSEN is the USA Today bestselling author of the Malediction Novels: Stolen Songbird, Hidden Huntress, Warrior Witch, and The Broken Ones (Angry Robot), the Bridge Kingdom series (Audible Originals), and the Dark Shores series (Tor Teen). A born and raised Calgarian, she has degrees from both the University of Calgary and Mount Royal University. A full-time novelist, she lives in Calgary with her family and their two guinea pigs.

2020 R. Ross Annett Award Finalists

The R. Ross Annett Award is sponsored by the Under the Arch Youth Foundation at The Calgary Foundation

Here is the video from the R Ross Annett Virtual Reading with the Finalists!

2020 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize

BILLY-RAY BELCOURT is from the Driftpile Cree Nation. He is a PhD candidate in the Dept. of English & Film studies at the University of Alberta and an Assistant Professor in the Creative Writing Program at the University of British Columbia. His books are THIS WOUND IS A WORLD (Frontenac House 2017), NDN COPING MECHANISMS (House of Anansi 2019), and the forthcoming A HISTORY OF MY BRIEF BODY (Hamish Hamilton 2020).

MARINA ENDICOTT‘s novel Good to a Fault was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and CBC Radio’s Canada Reads, and won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for Best Book, Canada/Caribbean. Her next, The Little Shadows, was short-listed for the Governor General’s award and long-listed for the Giller Prize, as was Close to Hugh. Her latest, The Difference, was one of the Globe & Mail’s Best Books of 2019. She has lived in Alberta for 29 years and teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta, U of T, Humber and the Banff Centre for the Arts.

AUDREY J. WHITSON‘s first book, Teaching Places (Wilfrid Laurier University Press 2003), a memoir about how the land teaches, was shortlisted for the Wilfred Eggleston Award, Grant MacEwan Author Award and a ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year. Stories from The Glorious Mysteries (Thistledown 2013)—a collection set in Alberta, California, and Mexico—were shortlisted for the Howard O’Hagan Award and longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award. Her haunting novel The Death of Annie the Water Witcher by Lightning is a tale of both reckoning and joy, set in Alberta during the 2003 BSE crisis. To subscribe to Audrey’s blog or follow her on twitter, visit www.audreywhitson.com

2020 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Finalists

The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize is sponsored by the City of Edmonton, the Edmonton Arts Council, and Audreys Books.


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