The City of Calgary and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta are pleased to announce the shortlist authors for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, one of 13 awards presented as part of The Calgary Awards.
The three finalists are Joan Crate for Black Apple, (Simon & Schuster), Beth Everest for silent sister: the mastectomy poems, (Frontenac House), and Richard Harrison for On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood, (Wolsak and Wynn).
Joan Crate’s novel, Black Apple is the story of a seven-year-old Blackfoot girl removed from her family and sent to a Catholic-run residential school for girls located in rural Alberta. Crate, a Calgary-based novelist and poet of indigenous background, poignantly confronts the complex issues surrounding the residential school, both through the inner voice of the young girl and the school’s head nun. This historical novel examines the central themes of faith and forgiveness, still relevant today. Award-winning Crate, taught literature and creative writing at Red Deer College for over 20 years.
In silent sister: the mastectomy poems, Beth Everest shares her journey with breast cancer; from acceptance of her diagnosis through to the challenges of treatment and effort to reclaim her life. This intimate and powerful collection of poems engages the reader with its honesty, and exposes the vulnerability one faces through the social and psychological impact of cancer. Everest has won numerous awards for her writing and teaching, and is currently Associate Professor in the Department of English, Languages and Cultures at Mount Royal University, where she teaches Creative Writing.
Set in the aftermath of the flood of 2013, Richard Harrison, fears his father’s ashes may be lost in the flood that ravaged his home, in the decisively titled collection of poetry, On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood. He does find the urn tucked away in a box, but the devastating flood and prevailing sense of loss, help him to revisit the decline and eventual death of his father. This enchanting collection of poems is filled with both sadness and joy. As a multiple-award-winning poet, essayist, and editor, Harrison teaches composition, creative writing (poetry), comics and graphic novels at Mount Royal University.
The City of Calgary established the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize in honour of the late Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell to recognize literary achievement by Calgary authors. The $5000 prize is awarded each year for an outstanding book published in the award year. The 2015 recipient was Eugene Stickland for “The Piano Teacher”, (BHouse Publications).
The recipient of The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize will be recognized at the Calgary Awards presentation on June 28, 2017. The Calgary Awards will be televised live on Shaw TV.