The Atlantic Book Awards are an annual bonanza of 8 separate books awards, meant to represent the best of east coast Canada’s literary offerings in a variety of genres.

“The 22 nominated titles represent a wide range of books from Atlantic Canada—everything from history to kids’ books,” reads a press release. Taken altogether, the list offers something for everyone, from familiar powerhouse Atlantic names like Kerry Lee Powell & Darren Greer, to ravely reviewed newcomers like Kris Bertin & Erin Wunker (whose book is nominated in TWO categories).

The Awards will be given out at the Halifax Central Library, on Thursday, May 18 at 7:00 p.m, at the end of a weeklong Atlantic Book Awards and Festival, taking place in all 4 Atlantic provinces.

Among the 22 nominees are local writers Lisa Moore, Chad Pelley, Kurt Korneski, Alex Marland, and James MacLeod.


Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction

Kris Bertin, Bad Things Happen
Chad Pelley, Four-Letter Words*
Kerry Lee Powell, Willem De Kooning’s Paintbrush

Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature

Lesley Choyce, Into the Wasteland
Lisa Moore, Flannery*
Valerie Sherrard, Rain Shadow

Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing

Alex Marland, Brand Command: Canadian Politics and Democracy in the Age of Message Control*
Greg Marquis, The Vigilant Eye:  Policing in Canada from 1867 to 9/11
Erin Wunker, Notes from a Feminist Killjoy:  Essays on Everyday Life

Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

Jill Martin Bouteillier, Sable Island in Black and White
John Cousins,  New London:  The Lost Dream
Kurt Korneski, Conflicted Colony:  Critical Episodes in Nineteenth Century Newfoundland and Labrador*

Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award for Non-fiction

Jill Martin BouteillierSable Island in Black and White
Paul ChiassonWritten in the Ruins: Cape Breton Island’s Second Pre-Columbian Chinese Settlement
Graham Reynolds with Wanda Robson, Viola Desmond’s Canada: A History of Blacks and Racial Segregation in the Promised Land

 Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction

Darren Greer, Advocate
Phonse Jessome, Disposable Souls
Heather Tucker, The Clay Girl

Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration

Histoire de Galet by Marie Cadieux, Illustrator:  Francois Dimberton
The Snow Knows, by Jennifer McGrath, Illustrator: Josée Bisaillon
Sky Pig, by Jan L. Coates, Illustrator: Suzanne Del Rizzo  

Margaret and John Savage First Book Award 

James McLeod, Turmoil, as Usual:  Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and the road to the 2015 Election*
Charlie Rhindress, I’m Not What I Seem:  The many stories of Rita MacNeil’s Life
Erin Wunker, Notes from a Feminist Killjoy:  Essays on Everyday Life

**** **** **** ***

Of being nominated for an ABA along with Lisa Moore, Pelley jokes, “I’m caught up in the same publishing pace as Lisa Moore and Michael Crummey – every year I publish a book, they do as well, so I’ve lucked out that the Atlantic Book Awards segregate by genre — there’s no poetry award, so I’m not up against Michael, and Lisa was filed under YA, so I’m not going up against the untouchable Newfoundlanders!” His book is a collection of “sad, funny, or funny-sad stories of people longing for something they’ve lost and can’t quite find.” It’s not quite as emotionally devastating as his novels.

As Pelley alluded, Flannery is indeed branded as a YA book, but it’s certainly a read any fan of quality diction-forward fiction will enjoy. Yet much of the coverage on the book has been “Why Go YA?” instead of “Holy cow, this is fun and well done!” So why did she go YA? Cos she wanted to, Dammit. Having s son, daughter, and stepchild in their teens, 20s, and 30s respectively, she’s spent decades reading kids and YA books, and has a soft spot for Young Adult Fiction.

MacLeod’s name you’ll know as the bowtied political journalist for The Telegram. Somewhere between his hunts for sunshine lists and Twitter quips, he found time to write a book so good it landed on not one, but two book award shortlists this week (it’s also up for the 2017 NL Book Award for non-Fiction).

Kurt Korneski is an associate professor of history at memorial University. His research interests include “the history of capitalism, colonialism, development policy, and environmental history — particularly as they relate to diplomacy and the social history of fishers, the fishing industry, and fishing communities in northeastern North America.” So clearly he was the right man to pen a book titled Conflicted Colony:  Critical Episodes in Nineteenth Century Newfoundland and Labrador.

Lastly, another MUN professor: Dr. Alex Marland’s research (and teaching) centres on political marketing, public policy, electioneering, and political elites in Canada. Before entering academia he worked in Ottawa and in St. John’s in government. He is the co-editor, with Thierry Giasson (Laval), of the UBC Press series Communication, Strategy, and Politics, and has published THREE books in 2016-2017!