Honouring our Manitoba Book Awards recipients

Without our usual gala, we were unable to suitably honour those who won awards during this year’s Manitoba Book Awards season. The Manitoba Writers’ Guild works as a team member of a coalition of organizations that coordinate the Awards, along with the Association of Book Publishers (AMBP), the Winnipeg International Writers Festival (WIWF) and the Winnipeg Libraries Association. The coalition organizes the submission process, finds jurors for each of the categories and organizes meetings with those jurors to determine our winners. Then, we usually plan a party where we can invite those on the shortlist, their families, friends and publishers to learn who the winners are and celebrate all the wonderful writers, book publishers and designers in Manitoba. Unfortunately, with the dreaded virus isolating all of us during the time when we usually hold the gala, we were unable to indulge in such an event this year.

Instead, the Guild has invited as many of the winners as we could find to be a part of our monthly virtual Book Chats, the first Wednesday of each month at 7 pm. The one exception will be Colleen Nelson, winner of the McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award (Older Category) for her middle grade novel, Harvey Holds His Own. We invited her to our Kids Book Chat on Saturday, September 11 at 2 pm so gather your kids and grandkids to the nearest computer, laptop, tablet or even your cell phone, to listen to Colleen and ask questions of this talented local author.

As for our evening virtual Book Chats, we invite anyone interested in hearing our authors read a portion of their award winning books to join us at any of the chats. Please note that you must email the Guild ahead of each chat for the Zoom information that will allow you to join the meeting.

On July 14, 2021, David A. Robertson read from his award winning book, Black Water, which won both the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction and the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award. It was a thought-provoking evening with discussions on reconciliation and residential schools.

Here is a list of the other award winners, the awards they won and when their chats will be:

August 11, 2021 – Jonathan Ball‘s The Lightning of Possible Storms won the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction

September 8, 2021 – Magdalene Redekop‘s Making Believe: Questions About Mennonites and Art won the Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher

October 13, 2021 – Duncan Mecredi & Lenard Monkman both won the Manitowapow Award for their work in literacy among the Indigenous  Community

November 10, 2021 – Andrew Unger’s Once Removed won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

December 8, 2021 – Lara Rae’s play Dragonfly won the Chris Johnson Award for Best Play by a Manitoba Playwright

January 9, 2022 – Amber O’Reilly’s poetry book, Gagnant – Boussole Franche, won Le Prix  littéraire Rue-Deschambault

We are also planning an informative evening with the company Relish Design, which won most of the design awards in the Manuela Diaz Book Design and Illustration Awards category. It should be very interesting to see how their designers come up with the graphics for book covers and illustrations. Stay tuned for the date and time, which will be announced here and on our Facebook Events page.

As mentioned above, please email manitobawritersguild3@gmail.com to receive the Zoom instructions or if you have any questions. If you want to read more about these writers, they will be featured in upcoming e-newsletters, but you must be a member to get it. Check out our Member page to learn how to become a member.