As of this moment, local author Michael Crummey’s career has been bookended by inaugural awards: his career started when he won the first ever Bronwen Wallace Award for unpublished writers. Since that time he has released some of Newfoundland’s best known books in all genres, from poetry and short stories, to novels and a non-fiction book.
Today,the latest accolade in a 20-year string of career highlights, is the inaugural $50,000 Writers Trust of Canada Fellowship, which does nothing short of naming him “a leading writer of his generation.”
The fellowship “is intended to free writers substantially from financial concerns and provide a window in which they can work with as much creative freedom as possible.” Two more fellows will be named in the next three years.
The announcement was made at the Writers’ Trust Gala, a black-tie fundraiser held at The Ritz-Carlton, Toronto, which annually raises more than $200,000 for the Writers’ Trust.
“It means time to work of course,” Crummey says. “Something all writers fight for. And, given the literary talent in this country, it’s a huge honour even to have been considered.”
He was an easy choice for the two-tier adjudication process. “Of the cacophony of voices carrying across the wind from Newfoundland and Labrador in recent years, none is so vibrant, so perceptive, and so damn fun, as that of Michael Crummey.” They called him “a poet of tremendous skill and a novelist of the truest heart.”
So what will he be working on now? He jokes it’s time to get cracking on a new novel. “I’ve been avoiding getting started on a new novel for a while now. Haven’t felt ready, I guess, and I’ve used travel and paid work as an excuse for letting it sit. But those excuses are gone now, man. I better get at it.”