We would like to extend a big congratulations to all of our fantastic authors this past year, but we'd especially like to highlight those who were recognized in 2017 for their literary excellence. We were thrilled to see representation for persons of colour and diverse backgrounds celebrated for their work. Four books took home medals at the IPPY Awards, B. Denham Jolly's memoir won the hearts of the Toronto Book Awards committee, and The Clay Girl came just shy of winning three different awards — to name a few! Check out the kudos reel below.
2017 Award Winners
The Alchemists' Council by Cynthea Masson
Gold Medal Winner in Fantasy - 2017 IPPY Awards
Shortlisted for the 2017 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, Genre Fiction
“Masson has a lyrical writing style that echoes some of the English romantics’ focus on beauty and nature. She excels at propelling the story forward with complex characters.” — Publishers Weekly
Jaden is a new Initiate with the Alchemist’s Council, but the more she learns the more she questions the Council and the mysterious erasure of bees from their ancient manuscripts. Jaden becomes caught between her responsibility to the Council and her growing allegiance to the Rebels. Can she save the worlds?
Market Masters: Interviews with Canada’s Top Investors — Proven Investing Strategies You Can Apply by Robin Speziale
Gold Medal Winner in Finance/Investment/Economics
“The best of the best [business books] are often written by the masters themselves, not as investment advice per se, but as autobiographical works. They explain how the writers think, which in turn explains how they invest. That’s why Market Masters is so engaging.” — Toronto Star
Silver Medal Winner in Performing Arts - 2017 IPPY Awards
“An eye-opening tale of demanding teachers, gruelling practice schedules, severe performance anxiety and bias against ‘girl drummers’ — a funny, poignant first-person account of the fierce commitment it takes to succeed in classical music.” — San Jose Mercury
The sound of an orchestra is glorious but the making of a musician can be brutal. An 18-year-old girl drummer heads to Juilliard and and struggles with competition, rejection, and crushing performance anxiety in order to win an audition for an orchestra and play percussion for a living.
House of Blazes by Dietrich Kalteis
Silver Medal Winner in Historical Fiction - 2017 IPPY Awards
"A deliriously fun crime novel with Western echoes." — National Post
“This book is for readers who like their history gritty and action-packed.” — Publishers Weekly
In the Black: My Life by B. Denham Jolly
Winner of the 2017 Toronto Book Award
“[Mr Jolly] holds nothing back in relating the story of his personal and professional life in Jamaica and here in Canada.” — Pride News
“As this memoir unfolded, I was more and more drawn to the author. . . The book is filled with lively sketches of legendary black Canadian activists.” — Literary Review of Canada
Denham Jolly, born in Jamaica, immigrated to Canada as a teenager. He studied science, taught high school, developed nursing homes, and started the radio station 93.5, The Flow. In Canada he experienced racism in every faze of his life, and fought against it.
2017 Nominations we're proud to share
Boring Girls by Sara Taylor
Longlisted for 2017 Ottawa Independent Writers' Frank Hegyi Award
“This one is for metal fans, who typically have strong stomachs (they eat lizards, don’t they?).” — Booklist
Rachel and Fern start a band with one goal in mind – revenge on their former idols. Boring Girls is a story of friendship, mayhem, murder and heavy metal.
The Conjoined by Jen Sookfong Lee
Shortlisted for the 2017 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize
“A complex, refreshing and relevant departure from a well-worn approach, one that’s best tackled after surrendering your expectations.” — The Globe and Mail
A literary novel inspired by crime fiction, The Conjoined follows a Vancouver social worker as she struggles to uncover her dead mother’s deeply buried secrets.
Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel by David Leach
Shortlisted for the Koffler Centre of the Arts' 2017 Vine Awards for Canadian Jewish Literature
“Leach's report is both affectingly personal, delving into many intimate stories of visionaries, and a sound historical study . . . An eye-opening look at an Eden of eco-villages gradually giving way to economic exigencies.” — Kirkus Reviews
“Part memoir, part travelogue, and always a highly entertaining narrative nonfiction review of Israel’s unique social communities, Chasing Utopia is in many ways an exploration of modern day Israel itself.” — The Times of Israel
The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker
Shortlisted for the 2017 Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction) and the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, Literary Fiction
Longlisted for the Ottawa Independent Writers' Frank Hegyi Award
“Tucker's triumphant debut novel is the story of a childhood lost, a family found, and a coming-of-age, recounted in precise and poetic language. . . It is at times difficult to read, but this novel is worth every moment of pain and every tear.” — Publishers Weekly, starred
Born into an abusive family and denied the comfort of her loving, supportive aunt, Ari Appleton defies the odds and is able to love and be loved. The Clay Girl is a beautiful tour de force about a child sculpted by kindness, cruelty, and the extraordinary power of imagination.