Every year, the Newfoundland & Labrador Book Awards alternate between awarding a book in the categories of adult fiction and children’s one year, and poetry and non-fiction the next. 2014 was a fiction / children’s year, and the shortlists have just emerged. The finalists in the Bruneau Family Children’s or Young Adult Literature Award are The Wonderful Dogfish Racket by Tom Dawe, illustrated by C. Anne MacLeod, Free Flight by William Pryse-Phillips, with illustrations by C. Anne MacLeod, and Jack and Mary in the Land of Thieves by Andy Jones, with illustrations by Darka Erdelji. Fun fact — Andy Jones’s book and Russell Wangersky’s (nominated in the fiction category) squared off for the 2012 Winterset Award.

Here’s what the judges had to say about the three books nominated this year for the Writers Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction:

Strays, by Ed Kavanagh:
“Kavanagh’s characters inhabit the marginal edges of Newfoundland communities past and present … Kavanagh’s prose is beautiful and lucid without calling undue attention to itself; he writes with a clarity that lets character and setting shine through the words.”

Caught, by Lisa Moore:
“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 … Her writing is quick, clever and insightful. Her descriptions are spot on.”

Whirl Away by Russell Wangersky:
“Opens with a rusty bolt let loose from the bed of a pick-up truck, hurtling towards the driver’s head as the truck crashes nose-first into an embankment. An apt opening to a collection in which sharp and telling detail cracks open every story and illuminates its depths.


The winners will be announced May 27 during a ceremony at Government House. You can catch readings from all the children’s authors May 24 at the Rocket Room in St. John’s at 1 p.m., and, readings from all the fiction authors on Sunday, May 25 at the Ship Pub in St. John’s at 7:30pm.