CanLit Fridays: Read One of This Year’s 2014 NL Book Award Winners

Lisa Moore (for her novel, Caught) and Andy Jones (for his children's book, Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves) win the 2014 NLBAs.

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In a ceremony at Government House this week, two familiar names from the local arts scene won the following awards: Lisa Moore was named winner of the The Writers’ Alliance Fiction Award for Caught — just days after winning VANL’s “Critical Eye” award for visual arts writing — and Actor, writer and director Andy Jones won the Bruneau Family Children’s Literature Award for Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves, illustrated by Darka Erdelji. Jones is a two-time winner of this award, having won in 2012 for Jack and the Manger. Each winner received a cash prize of $1,500.

The awards, now in the eighteenth year, celebrate excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing. “Once again the judges had many fine submissions to consider,” says Alison Dyer, the executive director of the Writers’ Alliance. “All six finalists are incredible writers and storytellers, and the Writers’ Alliance is proud to recognize this talent. We are extremely grateful to the awards sponsors—the Bruneau Family, and an anonymous donor this year—for their support in enabling us to celebrate and honour the creative achievements of our writers.”

Fiction judges were Eleanor Dawson, Jamie Fitzpatrick, and Trudy Morgan-Cole. Of  Caught, they said “It opens with David Slaney’s prison break … [and a trek that] takes him across Canada and down the Pacific Coast to Columbia – always one step ahead of Patterson, the police detective determined to put Slaney back behind bars … The narrative alternates between these two characters both of whom are good guys … we end up rooting for both of them. Lisa Moore manages to keep the story upbeat and funny, and she manages to make us like her characters. Her writing is quick, clever and insightful. Her descriptions are spot on. It’s Lisa Moore’s mastery of language that sets this book apart. Strong characters and great writing make this book a winner.”

Children’s Literature judges Tim Borlase, Joan Clark, and Sheree Fitch said of Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves, “The bardic, original voice of Andy Jones in another of his word perfect Jack tales gives us a world away from now, a world that celebrates Newfoundland’s sailing history, song and the art of storytelling itself … his use of humour, sensory detail, language, and adept narrative twists in the structure of his tale makes In the Land of Thieves a book that does what classics do – appeal to an audience of young and old alike. With this book, Jones defines the kind of excellence C.S.Lewis believed in when he wrote, ‘I am almost inclined to set it up as a canon that a children’s story which is enjoyed only by children is a bad children’s story. The good ones last.'”

The awards consider books released in the two previous years, making them twice as hard to win. Established in 1987, the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador is a not-for-profit organization that supports and ameliorates the local writing scene. See http://wanl.ca for more information.

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