The 2022 Atlantic Book Awards made a triumphant return to Paul O’Regan Hall at Halifax Central Library on Thursday, June 9.
The recipients of eight awards were announced at an evening gala hosted by CTV’s Lataevia Beezer. For the first time, a livestream of the awards show also allowed book lovers everywhere to enjoy the ceremony online.
Last year’s award winners, including Afua Cooper, Sydney Smith, and Anne Simpson, presented the 2022 awards, with some authors joining live and in-person and others via video, in a truly hybrid virtual and in-person event.
At the top of the night, David Huebert received the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction for Chemical Valley, published by Biblioasis, which was also nominated for the prestigious Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award. The jury shared that “in his courageous collection, David Huebert holds little back as he weaves superbly crafted stories of the dark, difficult, and gritty reality of being human.”
Chad Lucas won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature for his moving middle-grade debut novel, Thanks A Lot, Universe (Amulet Books). This year marks the thirtieth anniversary of the award established to honour Ann Connor Brimer, a dedicated educator and Atlantic Officer for the Canadian Children’s Book Centre.
The 2022 Atlantic Legacy Award, established to honour those who have made a lasting contribution to the development of the literary arts in Atlantic Canada, was awarded to Nova Scotia’s Lesley Choyce, publisher of Pottersfield Press and the author of more than 100 novels, books of non-fiction, children’s books, young adult novels, and poetry for adults, teens, and children.
The APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award for an Atlantic Canadian publisher whose book best exemplifies excellence and achievement in publishing went to New Brunswick’s Goose Lane Editions with The Rooms Corporation for Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador by Mireille Eagan. The jury praised the book, saying, “the spectacular expedition through the visual arts of Newfoundland and Labrador is work of exceptional graphic quality that reveals a rich and astonishing artistic panorama of this territory, so vast and so diverse in its communities.”
Following the awards honouring excellence in poetry, illustration, and scholarly writing, the finale of the evening was the presentation of one of Canada’s largest book prizes. The Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award went to Newfoundland author Michelle Butler Hallett for her novel Constant Nobody (Goose Lane Editions). A spy thriller set in 1937 amid the Spanish Civil War, Constant Nobody is a gripping historical fiction that asks how far an individual will go to protect another — whether out of love or fear.
The $30,000 prize is administered by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, with support from Thomas Head Raddall’s family. The award is intended to provide writers “the gift of time and peace of mind.” Marilyn Smulders, Executive Director of the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia, paid tribute to Thomas Raddall II who peacefully passed away last Friday. T. H. Raddall’s son, the late Dr. Thomas Raddall, was instrumental in creating this generously funded prize in his father’s honour.
Of the book, the Raddall jury said, “Constant Nobody is a powerful book in which both profound inhumanity and unlikely tenderness are real and believable. It’s a novel for our times, shockingly reverberating right up to the present.”
The board of the non-profit Atlantic Book Awards Society is made up of representatives of the Atlantic Canadian book and writing community. The 2022 Atlantic Book Awards and Festival gratefully acknowledges the support of our partners and sponsors: the Canada Book Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, the Canada Council for the Arts, Support4Culture, Atlantic Books Today, Chapters/Indigo/Coles, CTV Atlantic, Halifax Public Libraries, New Brunswick’s Frye Festival, and the Writer’s Federation of Nova Scotia. The Atlantic Book Awards Society also recognizes the support of the Province of Nova Scotia. We are pleased to work in partnership with the Department of Communities, Culture, Tourism, and Heritage to develop and promote our cultural resources for all Nova Scotians.
The winners of the 2022 Atlantic Book Awards are:
- Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction
David Huebert, Chemical Valley (Biblioasis)
- Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature
Chad Lucas, Thanks a Lot, Universe (Amulet Books)
- APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award
Goose Lane Editions with The Rooms Corporation, Future Possible: An Art History of Newfoundland and Labrador by Mireille Eagan
- Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing
Ardath Whynacht, Insurgent Love: Abolition and Domestic Homicide (Fernwood Publishing)
- J. M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award
Alyda Faber, Poisonous if Eaten Raw (Goose Lane Editions)
- Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration
Alea Marley, This is Ruby, written by Sara O’Leary (Tundra)
- Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award
Michelle Butler Hallett, Constant Nobody (Goose Lane Editions)