The winners of the 2015 Atlantic Book Awards were announced Thursday night in a ceremony held at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth, NS. CBC Radio’s Stephanie Domet hosted the sold-out event, with books representing the wide range of literary works being produced in Atlantic Canada—from illustrated cookbooks to evocative novels.
The second Atlantic Book Awards Pioneer Award was given to Dartmouth, NS resident Paul Robinson for his longstanding contribution to writing and publishing in the region, and throughout Canada. Paul Robinson has been a driving force in the celebration of writing and writers, with a thirty-five year involvement in publishing in Atlantic Canada. His passionate championship of Nova Scotian and Atlantic writers led to the creation of the Dartmouth Book Awards in 1988 as the first municipal literary award east of Montreal and a precursor to the Atlantic Book Awards. Paul was the founding chair of the Dartmouth Book Awards and the Dartmouth Student Writing Awards and served as chair for 25 years. The Pioneer Award is given as a lifetime achievement award recognizing an individual’s exceptional contribution to the literary arts in Atlantic Canada.
The eight award-winning books, publishers and authors/illustrators are:
1. Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature
The End of the Line, by Sharon E. McKay, published by Annick Press Ltd.
2. Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association’s Best Atlantic-Published Book Award, Sponsored by Friesens Corporation
Creative Book Publishing for Island Kitchen: An Ode to Newfoundland by Chef Mark McCrowe with Sasha Okshevsky
3. Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing, Sponsored by Marquis Book Printing
Equal as Citizens: The Tumultuous and Troubled History of a Great Canadian Idea by Richard Starr, published by Formac Publishing Company Ltd.
4. The Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-Fiction), Presented by the Kiwanis Club of Dartmouth
Fire in the Belly: How Purdy Crawford rescued Canada, and changed the way we do business by Gordon Pitts, published by Nimbus Publishing
5. Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing
Perished: The 1914 Newfoundland Sealing Disaster, by Jenny Higgins, published by Boulder Publications
6. Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction), presented by BoyneClarke LLP
Punishment, by Linden MacIntyre, published by Random House Canada
7. Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration
Sydney Smith for Music is for Everyone, written by
Jill Barber, published by Nimbus Publishing
8. Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, Sponsored by Collins Barrow LLP, Weed Man Maritimes, Heritage House Law Office, I Love Renovations and the family of John and Margaret Savage
Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome: stories by Megan Gail Coles, published by Creative Book Publishing
About the Awards:
Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature
The impetus for this $2,000 award came from the late Ann Connor Brimer who was a strong advocate of Canadian children’s literature and saw the need to recognize and encourage children’s writers in Atlantic Canada.
APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award, Sponsored by Friesens Corporation
The Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association’s award for Best Atlantic-Published Book recognizes publishing companies and their hardworking professionals who bring out new books each season. Each year, the Atlantic Canadian publisher of the printed book which best exemplifies publishing activity in Atlantic Canada receives the award. The Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Awards has been generously sponsored for the tenth year by Friesens Corporation. The prize of $4,000 is shared between the winning publishing firm ($3,000) and the book’s author ($1,000).
Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing, Sponsored by Marquis Book Printing
Presented for the first time in 2013 by the Atlantic Book Awards Society.
The Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-Fiction), Presented by the Kiwanis Club of Dartmouth
The Dartmouth Book Awards were established in 1989 by then mayor of Dartmouth, Dr. John Savage. The annual awards for fiction and non-fiction, valued at $2,500 each, honour the best books published the previous year in celebration of Nova Scotia and its people.
Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing
The Atlantic Book Awards Society created the Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing and received an endowment from the Democracy 250 committee to fund the $2,000 annual prize for an outstanding work of non-fiction that promotes awareness of, and appreciation for, an aspect of the history of the Atlantic Provinces.
Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction), presented by Boyne Clarke
The Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award for fiction is sponsored by Boyne Clarke Barristers and Solicitors. Dartmouth lawyer and activist Jim Connors was a volunteer juror of the fiction entries from the outset of the annual competitions until his death in 2008.
Lillian Shepherd Award for Excellence in Illustration
Lillian Shepherd was a long-time buyer for the now-closed independent bookstore, The Book Room in Halifax. This award was established by her many friends to applaud the book that combines Lillian’s love for illustrated children’s books and her affinity for locally produced work. The award that bears her name is sponsored by the Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Association and the Atlantic Provinces Publishers’ Representatives.
Margaret and John Savage First Book Award
The Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, presented for the first time in 2003 with a value of $1,500, recognizes the best first book of fiction or non-fiction published in the previous year by an Atlantic writer. The Award, now valued at $2,500, is sponsored by Collins Barrow LLP, Weed Man Maritimes, Heritage House Law Office, I Love Renovations and the family of John and Margaret Savage.
About the Atlantic Book Awards Society
The Board of the non-profit Atlantic Book Awards Society (ABAS) is made up of representatives of the Atlantic Canadian book and writing community. The 2015 Atlantic Book Awards and Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of the Canada Book Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Nova Scotia Department of Communities, Culture and Heritage, Halifax Public Libraries and the sponsorship of Chapters/Indigo/Coles and the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association/Atlantic Books Today.