2014 arts 1


Every year the provincial government generously doles out multiple $1,000 awards in eight disciplines, from poetry to political essays, and music to visual arts, in both junior and adult categories, as well as a $2,500 first novel award for an unpublished manuscript.  The winners of this year’s Arts & Letters Awards were announced Saturday night at The Rooms. Below are the winners of in the adult categories.


Michael Boyle, for “Lament for the Letter P in Drummuck.”

Cory Collins, for “The Ships of Amon-Ra.”

George Murray, for “Prisoner Transport.”

Douglas Walbourne Gough, for “Weight.”

The poetry category was judged by Mark Callanan & Shoshanna Wingate


Melissa Barbeau, for “Dreaming of Whales.” Her story was inspired by the selkie folktale in which a seal/woman/creature sheds her pelt to walk on land and is seduced by a fisherman on shore.  “Selkies and whales aside,” she says, “it’s about a couple who spend Saturdays barbequing and popping into Costco while their marriage disintegrates.”

Chad Pelley, for “Jenny on the Run.” A story about two high school girls – Tara and Jenny – who dropped out of grade 12 to see the world, with their slightly older dope dealer. Jenny loved Tara, but Tara loved Tony. The three of them ran scams to get by until one of them went horribly wrong and Tara died. “There’s an energy in the story, and the relationship dynamic between Jenny and Tara, that makes this story one of my favourite short stories in my forthcoming collection of shorts, Four-letter Words. The two young women stayed with me, I even wrote a song based on the story, called ‘Tara Tara Tara.’  (http://chadpelley.bandcamp.com/track/tara-tara-tara). Four-letter Words will also include two other stories I’ve won the Arts & Letters with.”

“Matthew Lewis, for “The Underwriter.” “I guess the story’s about a lot of things,” he says, “It’s about shoes. It’s about ambition. Blind, unbridled ambition in the hands of arseholes. The idea that you don’t know who you are until you’ve become that person. The story is a product of mistaken identity.  I’m in a bi-weekly writing group and we were reviewing a story by an immensely talented writer (Hi Carrie!) and I was like, well, here’s what I think this story is about and she’s like, well, sort-of but not really but nice try and here’s a participation ribbon … [so] what I did was, I took what I thought her story was about and sneaked off like some giddy ski-masked burglar back to my lair to start writing, only to discover, whoa, what I thought was going to be a simple petty theft had now escalated violently into that heist scene from Heat with police barricades / automatic gunfire /pandemonium, etc.  So I guess what I’m saying is this story is roughly the equivalent of a heist gone bad. Yeah. But mostly it’s about shoes.”

Karen Rowe, for “Anniversary.” Karen also won in this category last year.

The short fiction category was judged by Tara Manuel & Ed Kavanagh


Natalie Dalton, for “Good Morning Officer.”

Jiin Kim Team, “Photo.”

Tom Rossiter, for “An Execution.”

The non-fiction category was judged by Martha Hickman Hild


Clayton Hare, for “Through the Wormhole.”

Melanie Oates, for “That I Would be Good.”

The dramatic script category was judged by Charles Tomilson


Michel Savard, for “Quinze preuves de quoi.” Many will know Savard’s name for his Governor General’s award win in the category of French poetry.

The French literature category was judged by Scott Jamieson


Duane Andrews, for “Nantes.” Duane says, “The essence of this tune came to me while I was in Nantes, France last August and I sketched it down that day. I kept working on it over the next couple of months and had a great opportunity to record it as a demo with some fabulous local musicians Nancy Case-Oates (Violin), Heather Kao (Violin), Kate Read (Viola) and The Weber (Cello) which is the version I submitted to the Arts and Letters. I’m really enjoying the sound of guitar and string quartet and have a full album in the works with this type of instrumentation. I must say the NL government deserves a huge thanks for continuing the Arts and Letters Awards which does an outstanding job of inspiring the creation of new work in this province.


Brianna Gosse, for “Darkness Calling.” Gosse says her song was inspired by the look and feel of a moon on a beach one night in Middle Cove last November. She used the concept of darkness as a metaphor for “general feelings of lowness,” and tried to make it more personal by comparing it to a bad relationship. “This song was a little folkier and lyric driven than the songs that will be on my upcoming album, but I hope to use this one for a solo acoustic project I’m currently working on.”


Bryan Power, for “I am the Snowfall.”

Colin Taylor, for “Rest Gently.”

The music category was judged by Jim Tranquilla, Vincenza Etchegary, & Theo Weber 


David Baltzer, for “St. John’s #26 (Harvey Rd #3).” (Acrylic/oil on canvas)

Desirée Baker, for “Ephemeral.” (Ink)

Vessela Brakalova, for “Drilling for Oil Make the Earth Tilt: True or False?” (Watercolor/mixed media)

Kathy Burnell, for “Ladies Waiting at Lady Lake, Harbour Grace.” (Oil)

Patrick Canning, for “D.A.B.P.” (Pen/ink)

Ashoke Deb, for “A Merchant, a Mother and a Child: Many Messages of our Time.” (Photography)

Mike Gough, for “When We Arrive.” (Acrylic, pastel, and graphite on panel)

Nick Kokis, for “Saint-Saëns.” (Woodcut)

Catherine Lau, for “Recycled Remembering.” (Mixed media)

Shawnray Massey, for “Where Once They Stood.” (Acrylic/mixed on canvas)

Jennah Turpin, for “Forever Young.” (Acrylic/graphite on paper)

Alexandra Stead, for “Let Me Drown in the Cool Earth.” (Digital photography)


Jonathan Kennedy. 

Every year this essay has a topic, and 2014’s topic was, “Do We Have to Surrender Privacy to Achieve World Peace?” Of his submission, Kennedy says his essay “explores the relationship between government surveillance programs, the use of surveillance in Western foreign policy/the War on Terror, and the relationship of that foreign policy to global political stability.” Jonathan studied political science at MUN, and one of his main focuses was engaging in “a historical materialist critique of the War on Terror, so I already had a background in the subject matter and went from there.”

Digital Multi Media Art

Liz Solo, for “A Place for You.”


Susan Sinnott for Just Like Always.

The Percy Janes Award is a $2,500 award given to a full-length, unpublished work of fiction. Previous winners have included Joel Thomas Hynes, Craig Francis Power, and Patrick Warner. Sinnott won the award this year for what she calls a story about “how people deal with barriers in their lives, visible and invisible. One main character is an illiterate girl who wants to be an artist and must overcome educational and social barriers. The other is a very physical young man, injured in an accident, who suddenly has to adapt to physical limitations.”

She says the idea arose from working in Healthcare herself, “and seeing people not able to live life the way they wanted to, and used to, because of health and/or educational  issues.  It’s not all fallout from the Cod Moratorium.” She’s clear however, that she has not used actual people and cases she witnessed first hand, just the concept and/or struggles she saw on the job. On winning the Percy Janes award, she says she’s feeling many things, “I’m overwhelmed, excited, validated, encouraged—and a whole big list of unfashionable adjectives! Maybe now I can think about publication. The Arts & Letters awards are a safe, anonymous harbour to send those first tentative efforts. We’re lucky to have it. And here’s to Percy Janes.”