Ottawa – Four local writers were honoured with the prestigious Ottawa Book Award and Prix du livre d’Ottawa tonight at Ottawa City Hall. Nadine McInnis, Tim Cook, Pierre-Luc Landry and Patricia Smart were each awarded a prize of $7,500. Arc Poetry Magazine also recognized Pearl Pirie’s collection of poems as the year’s best work of poetry and presented her with the 2016 Archibald Lampman Award.
“It should come as no surprise that Ottawa, with its wealth of artistic and cultural influences could produce such outstanding literary talent,” said Mayor Jim Watson. “This year’s winners build on the tradition of excellence that has defined the Ottawa Book Awards / Le Prix du livre d’Ottawa for more than 30 years.”
— Ottawa Writers Fest (@Writersfest) October 19, 2016
This year, awards were given to books in four categories. Nadine McInnis received the Ottawa Book Award in the English fiction category for her book Delirium for Solo Harp (Buschek Books). Tim Cook’s work Fight to the Finish: Canadians in the Second World War, 1944-1945 (Allen Lane Canada (Penguin Canada)) took the prize for English non-fiction.
The Prix du livre d’Ottawa award for French fiction was presented to Pierre-Luc Landry for his book Les corps extraterrestres (Éditions Druide) and the French non-fiction was awarded to Patricia Smart, De Marie de l’Incarnation à Nelly Arcan (Éditions du Boréal).
“Each year, the quality of work and the roster of writers gets stronger and stronger,” said Councillor Diane Deans, Chair of the city’s Community and Protective Services Committee. ““The Ottawa Book Awards / Le Prix du livre d’Ottawa allows the work of these talented men and women to hold the spotlight for one very special night.”
Winning books were selected by a jury of peers:
· English fiction: Saleema Nawaz, Peter Richardson, Cynthia Sugars
· English non-fiction: Alan Bowker, Jo-Anne McCutcheon, Wayne Spear
· French fiction: Andrée Christensen, Daniel Groleau Landry, Marie-Josée Martin
· French non-fiction: Pierre Boyer, Jacques Gauthier, Madeleine Stratford
Of the fiction winner, Nadine McInnis’ suite of poems, the jury noted: “…In this intricately unified and deeply moving collection, what emerges is a profound meditation on courage, mortality, and human frailty, interwoven with an extended imagery of the poet as harpist. She brings an unstinting eye and an excellent ear to our shared mortality and the complexities of letting go.”
Of the non-fiction winner, Tim Cook, the jury wrote: “The fluent writing and compelling narrative balance judicious assessments of battles, commanders, strategies, and achievements. Cook’s wide-ranging account is the work of a master at the top of his game.”
The jury praised Landry’s work, winner of the French fiction award: “…the author leads us into an extraordinary world, at once strangely faraway and familiar. An original novel that will shock those who allow themselves to be disturbed and disoriented by writing that remains an enigma until the very end.”
Of the French non-fiction winner, Patricia Smart, the jury noted: “A remarkable and groundbreaking study of the personal writings of women in French Canada and Quebec. The research is tremendous, the writing is fluid, and the references are precise. A brilliant tribute to our women writers, past and present. The book of a lifetime, to be read and reread.”
Complete jury statements and author biographies are available online at ottawa.ca.