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Manitoba Book Award Winners

by Chadwick Ginther - Sunday, Apr 29, 2012 at 11:49am

Congratulations to all the winners and nominees of the 2012 Manitoba Book Awards. More than 200 people attended the ceremony last night. The 24th annual gala, presented by the Manitoba Writers' Guild with the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers was held at the Centre culturel franco-manitobain.

  • McNally Robinson Book of the Year: Not Being on a Boat by Esmé Claire Keith (Freehand Books/Broadview Press)
  • McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, younger category: S is for Scientists: A Discovery Alphabet by Larry Verstraete (Sleeping Bear Press)
  • McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, older category: Tori by Design by Colleen Nelson (Great Plains Teen Fiction)
  • Aqua Books Lansdowne Prize for Poetry: Poème Pierre Prière, by J.R. Léveillé (Les Éditions du Blé)
  • Best Illustrated Book of the Year: David's Trip to Paraguay: The Land of Amazing Colours, by Miriam Rudolph (CMU Press)
  • Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year: Poème Pierre Prière by J.R. Léveillé, designed by Bernard Léveillé (Les Éditions du Blé)
  • Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book: A Large Harmonium by Sue Sorensen (Coteau Books)
  • Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award: Ravenscraig by Sandi Krawchenko Altner (Heartland Associates)
  • Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction: The Thirteen by Susie Moloney (Random House Canada)
  • Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction: The Girl in the Wall by Alison Preston (Signature Editions)
  • Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction: King: William Lyon MacKenzie King: A Life Guided by the Hand of Destiny by Allan Levine (Douglas and McIntyre)
  • John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer: Jennifer Still
  • Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher: Butterfly Winter by W.P. Kinsella (Enfield and Wizenty/Great Plains Publications)

Categories: Awards, Winnipeg

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Not Being on a Boat

- Trade paperback

by Esme Claire Keith - $21.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 McNally Robinson Book of the Year. Rutledge, an aging, divorced man, has treated himself to a Cruise on the Mariola. The Cruise is not just any cruise. It's the whole shebang. It's around the world. It's a lifestyle change: G & Ts and tuxedos and cigars and cognac galore. The service is top-rate. And Rutledge's steward, Raoul, is a good kid. But then a day trip to a Caribbean port ends in commotion. Some people don't make it back onto the ship. Rutledge, nonplussed, makes use of the vacant machines in the Fitness Room and the unoccupied loungers on deck. But soon, crew members seem few and far between, and the menu in the Captain's Mess significantly diminished. Rutledge gets the feeling that something is amiss. And that's just unacceptable. Welcome aboard Esme Keith's debut dystopic novel, a cunning parody of modern day luxury and the coveted all-inclusive vacation, from the refreshingly blunt point of view of a man unable to see beyond his own needs, with hilarious results.

S is for Scientists

- Children's hardcover

by Larry Verstraete - $20.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, younger category. What clutter-busting need was behind the invention of the World Wide Web? Which stain-fighting chemical got its start when a lab assistant dropped a beaker on a lab floor? In S is for Scientists: A Discovery Alphabet, the origins behind some of the most important scientific discoveries are explored. Budding young scientists will learn what Galileo witnessed in a church that led to his theory of measurement; how biologist Rachel Carson’s book, Silent Spring, helped to spur the first call to action in the environmental movement; and why Ivan Pavlov’s study of a drooling dog laid the foundations for a new branch of psychology. From discoveries that fundamentally changed scientific methods to everyday inventions that are now taken for granted, S is for Scientists sheds light on the events and people who have shaped our lives today.

Tori By Design

- Young adult softcover

by Colleen Nelson - $14.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award, older category. Can difficult choices be made without bias…tape? Tori Edwards jumps at the chance to move from Winnipeg to New York City with her family. After all, NYC is the place to be for an aspiring fashion designer, and her new high school has access to a placement program with FIT—the Fashion Institute of Technology. Life is fuller and more chaotic than she imagined, but she hangs on between boy-troubles, portfolio-building, and struggling to find perfect accessories. Then, just as it looks like Tori might achieve all she has dreamed, shocking news from her parents unravels her carefully designed plans and she is forced to look beyond the pages of a fashion magazine for answers. About the Author: Colleen Nelson wrote one chapter of this book as an assignment for a writing class. Four years and numerous drafts later, her first book has been published. The mother of two young boys and a junior high teacher, Colleen has lived in Japan and New York City, but currently resides with her husband in Winnipeg.

David's Trip to Paraguay

- Children's hardcover

by Miriam Rudolph - $22.00 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 Best Illustrated Book of the Year Award. This is a gorgeous book by exciting young artist, inspired by the extraordinary journey made by her grandfather from Canada to Paraguay in the late 1920s. David, a farm boy from Southern Manitoba, is excited when his family, in search of a new home, decides to leave wintry and white Canada behind to start a long journey by train, ship, and oxcart to South America. Along the way he takes in colourful impressions of New York’s skyscrapers, the ocean, flying fish, crocodiles, foreign cities, and many more exciting things that let him know he is going the right way. This is an exceptional children’s book, but also a beautiful art work for all ages. In addition, the dual-language text (English and German) adds a valuable educational dimension.

A Large Harmonium

- Trade paperback

by Sue Sorensen - $19.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book. Janey knows she should be trying to put her academic career on he map, but how? She’ll more readily poke fun at than engage in yet another overly dry and theoretical conference. And her husband and their friends simply encourage her off the serious academic path, providing anarchic ideas from Foucault-in-snowsuits to erotic poetry addressed to the harmonium collecting dust in the music department. A Large Harmonium is a sharply comical year-in-the-gloriously-unruly-life story. We follow Janey as she negotiates motherhood (“Little Max is a Roald Dahl story, I decide”); career (“the whole enterprise starts to resemble a lion-taming act without the lions”); frightful in-laws (“At breakfast, the two of them are serene and fitlooking. I never can see how people look like that in the morning”); and which literary hero her husband Hector most resembles (“Rochester! Why should I be Rochester? He’s a bastard. And he has to be blinded and lose an arm or something before he can be tamed.”) Along the way, she relies on Hector, boy-wonder babysitter Rene, and even crazy unreliable friend Jam. And on Jake, the understanding minister who helps her pick her way through it all.


- Trade paperback

by Sandi Krawchenko Altner - $22.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award. Nothing is more important to Rupert J. Willows than the image he has built to hide the deep secret of his impoverished past. Even his wife does not know the story of his true identity. A master manipulator, Rupert schemes his way into the upper class. He ascends to power in Winnipeg’s inner circles once he moves his family into the opulent mansion, Ravenscraig Hall, in the tony neighbourhood of Armstrong’s Point. Rupert is a ruthless, charming and charismatic city alderman with a talent for exploitation and a flair for avoiding the stain of scandal. He is virulently anti-foreigner, and sees little need to pay attention to the city slums that absorb the crushing numbers of newcomers. Rife with disease and poverty, the desperately overcrowded immigrant neighbourhood is a ramshackle collection of refuse that would come to be known as Winnipeg’s North End. For Malka Zigman, the drive to succeed is born from a drive to survive. Orphaned in London, she makes her way to Canada in 1900, to join her uncle Zev and his family. They are hardworking Jews who recently escaped the poverty and violence of the Russian Pale of Settlement and are struggling to put down roots in Winnipeg. With family resources stretched thin, Malka determines to make her own way in the new country. She transforms herself into Maisie Rosedale, and crosses over into the world of “the English”, as a maid at Ravenscraig. Fate and fortune bring the Willows and Zigman families into each other’s secrets as their futures entwine. Tragedies, typhoid, and the Titanic grip their lives and illuminate a dark corner of Winnipeg’s past as it rose to become one of the fastest growing cities in North America. Sandi Krawchenko Altner enjoyed an award-winning career in television and radio news in Calgary, Winnipeg and Montreal, before she left to follow her passion for writing fiction. She is a fifth generation descendent of the first colony of Ukrainian immigrants to settle in Stuartburn, Manitoba in 1896. Sandi grew up with a keen interest in her roots and a deep love of history. A Jew by choice, Sandi celebrated conversion in 2005. She now lives, writes, and blogs in Florida where she is active in her synagogue. Sandi and her husband, Bob Altner, have two daughters and two happy dogs. Ravenscraig is her first novel.

The Thirteen

- Trade paperback

by Susie Moloney - $14.95 - Add to Cart

The Witches of Eastwick meets Desperate Housewives in Susie Moloney's The Thirteen, a Globe and Mail Best Book. Haven Woods is suburban heaven, a great place to raise a family. It's close to the city, quiet, with great schools and its own hospital right up the road. Property values are climbing. The streets are clean, people keep their yards really nicely. It's fairly pet friendly, though barking dogs are not welcomed. The crime rate is practically non-existent, unless you count the odd human sacrifice, dismemberment, animal attack, demon rape and blood atonement. When Paula Wittmore goes home to Haven Woods to care for a suddenly ailing mother, she brings her daughter and a pile of emotional baggage. She also brings the last chance for twelve of her mother's closest frenemies, who like to keep their numbers at thirteen. And her daughter, young, innocent, is a worthy gift to the darkness.A circle of friends will support you through bad times. A circle of witches can drag you through hell.

Girl in the Wall, The

- Trade paperback

by Alison Preston - $16.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction. Former Inspector Frank Foote has left the Winnipeg Police force and gone into home renovations, but after tearing down a wall on a job one day and finding the skeleton of a small female who has been imprisoned there, he finds himself following the leads to a photographer who specialized in taking photos of the recently deceased for their families.


- Hardcover

by Allan Levine - $36.95 - Add to Cart

The first biography in a generation of Canada's most eccentric and most important prime minister -- Mackenzie King -- and his defining influence on our 20th century. Most Canadian historians consider William Lyon Mackenzie King to be not only the country's greatest prime minister but also its most peculiar. From 1919 to 1948 he occasionally lorded over the Liberal Party, also serving as prime minister for much of that time. Mackenzie King was a brilliant tactician, was passionately committed to Canadian unity, and was a protector of the underdog, introducing such cornerstones of Canada's social safety net as unemployment insurance, family allowances and old-age pensions. At the same time, he was insecure, craved flattery, became upset at minor criticism, and was prone to fantasy -- especially about the Tory conspiracy against him. King loosened the Imperial connection with Britain and was wary of American military and economic power. Yet he loved all things British and acted like a praised schoolboy when British Prime Minister Winston Churchill or U.S. President Franklin Roosevelt treated him as an equal.King comes at a time when the Canadian people have resoundingly rebuffed the Liberal party under Michael Ignatieff; while the party's future remains uncertain, this definitive biography sheds light on its history under its greatest leader.This first major biography of Mackenzie King in 30 years mines the pages of his remarkable diary. At 30,000 pages, King is one of the most significant and revealing political documents in Canada's history and a guide to the deep and often moving inner conflicts that haunted Mackenzie King. With animated prose and a subtle wit, Allan Levine draws a multidimensional portrait of this most compelling of politicians.


- Trade paperback

by Jennifer Still - $19.00 - Add to Cart

Jennifer Still is the winner of the 2012 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer. In GIRLWOOD, Jennifer Still's second collection, her poems come of age: they take the dare; they cross out of sapling and into maturity's thicket. But the poems don't leave the girl behind, they bring her along: as sylph, as raconteur, as witness, as pure, unstoppable bravado. These songs of liberation and confinement arise from the rich and mysterious connection between mother and daughter. Here, the mother figure is as vulnerable as the daughter, caged by domestic duty, by the fear that snakes through sexuality, the longing and the repulsion that accompany mortal desire. The daughter is at once compassionate and defiant. This is the paradox at the heart of this collection. "Mother, divine me," Jennifer Still writes, and later, "Mother, spare me." Between these two phrases, which are both plea and command, we experience all the tangled pathways between mother and daughter, the cries of devotion and the congested laments.

Butterfly Winter

- Hardcover

by W.p. Kinsella - $29.95 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2012 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher. A new novel from the author of the classic Shoeless Joe, Butterfly Winter won the Enfield & Wizenty 2011 Colophon Prize for best unpublished manuscript. It is the story of Julio and Esteban Pimental, twins whose divine destiny for baseball begins with games of catch in the womb. They mature quickly and by the age of ten they leave their home in the fictional Caribbean country of Courteguay for the American major leagues. Julio is a winning pitcher who will only throw to his catcher brother, a mediocre player, much to the chagrin of the team that employs them. Events in the brothers' homeland, including regular coups and the outlawing of baseball, continue to shape their lives. They are monitored by the Wizard, a mysterious figure who travels by hot air balloon and controls events behind the scenes. This novel includes a great love blessed by butterflies and a political undercurrent that unites the wealthy north with the baseball-loving and oppressed south.