The East Coast Literary Awards celebrate and promote excellence in writing from Atlantic Canada. The number of titles submitted each year are a testament to the diversity and quality of writing from all four Atlantic provinces. And although jurors have the unenviable task of selecting one winner for each Award, each year's shortlists introduce local, national, and international readers to a tremendous body of work and the vibrant culture of the region.
- The Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, valued at $25,000 for the winning book;
- The JM Abraham Poetry Award, valued at $2,000 for the winning book; and
- The Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award, valued at $2,000 for the winning book.
Eligible titles are adjudicated by an independent jury recruited and facilitated by WFNS. Submissions are evaluated for their originality, creativity, and quality of writing. One prize will be awarded annually to a winner for each Award.
2017 East Coast Literary Award Winners
Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award
Erin Wunker (NS)
Erin Wunker is a feminist killjoy, and she thinks you should be one, too.
Following in the tradition of Sara Ahmed (the originator of the concept “feminist killjoy”), Wunker brings memoir, theory, literary criticism, pop culture, and feminist thinking together in this collection of essays that take up Ahmed’s project as a multi-faceted lens through which to read the world from a feminist point of view.
Neither totemic nor complete, the non-fiction essays that make up Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life attempt to think publicly about why we need feminism, and especially why we need the figure of the feminist killjoy, now. From the complicated practices of being a mother and a feminist, to building friendship amongst women as a community-building and -sustaining project, to writing that addresses rape culture from the Canadian context and beyond, Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life invites the reader into a conversation about gender, feminism, and living in our inequitable world.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Erin Wunker is Chair of the Board of the national non-profit organization Canadian Women in the Literary Arts (www.cwila.com) and co-founder, writer, and managing editor of the feminist academic blog Hook & Eye: Fast Feminism, Slow Academe. She teaches courses in Canadian literature and cultural production with a special focus on cultural production by women. She lives in Halifax with her partner, their daughter, and Marley the dog. Notes from a Feminist Killjoy is Wunker’s first book.
Nominees: Burnley “Rocky” Jones & James W. St. G. Walker, Burnley "Rocky" Jones, Revolutionary. Jon Tattrie, Redemption Songs.
JM Abraham Poetry Award
Jennifer Houle (NB)
The Back Channels (Signature Editions)
Jennifer Houle's debut collection, The Back Channels, reflects the effort to build a meaningful life in a rapidly changing culture, in a region afflicted, as many are, with outmigration and an economy of anxiety and hard choices. Here, the past is "almost all there is," becoming "our only source of light" as she takes us to the backwoods where a discouraged woman walks, the shore beyond the fairgrounds, "the tire swings, car lots and empty lodges ranged /in crude half-circles like small handfuls of thrown bones," and the parking lots where smokers gather to talk about layoffs or pay cuts. Her poems invite the reader to listen in on these moments and pause among these landscapes, never mistaking its often rural settings for places of retreat or escape. The largely Acadian culture depicted in these poems may still be influenced by the past, caught in its own reflected image, but it moves, as do the poems, to a steady, if moody, rhythm determined to find meaning and purpose in spite of difficulties, flux, and a seemingly pervasive cynicism. Reminiscent of Karen Solie's early work, Houle's brilliance as a poet is her mastery of language and keen sense of observation with which she draws the reader in. These poems come from a place of grappling, an attempt to find meaning, beauty, and connection in the day-to-day, without being confined by it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Jennifer Houle’s poems have appeared in numerous literary journals over the past ten years. Her work has won several awards, including The Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick’s Alfred G. Bailey Prize for best poetry manuscript award, for The Back Channels, which has also been shortlisted for League of Canadian Poets’ Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. A lifelong East Coaster, Jennifer grew up in Shediac, New Brunswick and now lives in Hanwell, just outside of Fredericton, with her husband and two sons.
Nominees: Margo Wheaton, The Unlit Path Behind the House. Patrick Woodcock, You Can't Bury Them All.
Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award
Donna Morrissey (NS)
The Fortunate Brother (Viking)
After being uprooted from their fishing outport, the Now family is further devastated by the tragic loss of their eldest son, Chris, who died working on an Alberta oil rig. Kyle Now is still mourning his older brother when the murder of a local bully changes everything. The victim's blood is found on the family's pier, and suspicion falls first on an alienated wife, and then finally on the troubled Now family. But behind this new turmoil, Chris's death continues to plague the family. Father Sylvanus Now drowns his sorrow in a bottle, while mother Addie is facing breast cancer. And the children fight their own battles as the tension persists between Kyle and his sister, Sylvie, over her role in their brother's death.
A cast of vivid characters surrounds the Now family, some intriguing, others comical--all masterfully crafted. As the murder mystery unfolds, other deeper secrets are revealed. Wise in the ways of the heart, The Fortunate Brother is a moving family drama from beloved storyteller Donna Morrissey.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Donna Morrissey has written six nationally bestselling novels. She has received awards in Canada, the U.S., and England. Her novel Sylvanus Now was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize, and she was nominated for a Gemini for best writing for the film Clothesline Patch. Her fiction has been translated into several different languages. Born and raised in Newfoundland, she now lives in Halifax.
Nominees: Darren Greer, Advocate. Ami McKay, The Witches of New York.