Writers' Trust Literary Award Winners Announced

November 15, 2017 | Book Buzz

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The Writers' Trust Gala was held in Toronto on November 14, 2017. Several awards were announced at this event including four that are given to celebrate an author's entire body of work. 

The Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize

The $50,000 prize was presented to author David Chariandy for Brother, a novel about the children of Trinidadian immigrants living in Scarborough. The jury praised the novel for its "stunning lyrical writing, pitch perfect pacing, and unexpected humour". Accepting the award, Chariandy said that he hoped his writing would lead readers to "a greater understanding of the complexity of their cities and suburbs" and to think more carefully about the marginalized people around them.




Brother by David Chariandy




The Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize

The country's most lucrative non-fiction literary prize was presented to James Maskalyk for Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine about his experiences working in emergency rooms around the world, including Toronto's St. Michael's Hospital. The jury commended Maskalyk for sharing "compelling universal truths about the power, and limits, of medicine, the strength of human will, and the fragile, infinitesimal gap between dying and living." 

Life on the ground floor


 Life on the Ground Floor: Letters from the Edge of Emergency Medicine by James Maskalyk



The Latner Writers' Trust Poetry Prize

A celebration of a poet in midcareer, this year the prize was awarded to Louise Bernice Halfe. The jury noted that her poems "are highly attuned to speech, silence, and stillness; to breath, to incantation; creating a taut, resonant relationship between the page and the reader".

The Matt Cohen Award: In Celebration of a Writing Life

Diane Schoemperlen is the 2017 recipient of the Matt Cohen Award, created to recognize "a lifetime of distinguished work". The jury noted Schoemperlen has "experimented with the genre, defying convention, refusing to be shackled by tradition but at the same time holding herself to the highest standard" and praised the way she has "pushed the boundaries of form" by incorporating photographs and illustrations in her fiction. 

The Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People

This award, created in 1963 to "stimulate the writing of Canadian literature for children", was presented to Ruby Slipperjack whose work was described as "exceptional in portraying the quandaries, joys, and struggles of her young protagonists with compassion and humour, and at the same time, gently teaching traditional ways in the context of contemporary Indigenous life". 

The Writers' Trust Engel/Findley Award

Billie Livingston, whose writing is "masterfully crafted, jammed with vivid detail, and strobed with flashes of real comedy" received this award honouring a writer in midcareer. 

The Writers' Trust/McClelland and Stewart Journey Prize 

This prize celebrating short fiction by an emerging writer was presented to Sharon Bala for her story 'Butter Tea at Starbucks', published in "The New Quarterly". 

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