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Manitoba Book Awards 2021 Winners

Thursday, May 20, 2021 at 11:00am

The winners of the 2021 Manitoba Book Awards have been announced!

Today, the Manitoba Book Awards / Les Prix du livre du Manitoba coalition (Association of Manitoba Publishers, Manitoba Writers' Guild, Winnipeg Public Library, Winnipeg International Writers Festival) announced the recipients of 11 separate awards recognizing excellence in Manitoba writing, book design, publishing, and stories.

Due to COVID-19 restrictions an awards gala is impossible this year, so instead the Manitoba Book Awards is celebrating the winners online via their website and via social media. To join in, visit their Facebook Page and congratulate your favourite winners!

The full list of 2021 winners can be found after the jump...

  • Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction / Prix Alexander-Kennedy-Isbister pour les études et essais

    Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory by David A. Robertson (HarperCollins Canada)

  • Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award / Prix littéraire Carol-Shields de la ville de Winnipeg 

    Black Water: Family, Legacy, and Blood Memory by David A. Robertson (HarperCollins Canada)

  • Chris Johnson Award for Best Play by a Manitoba Playwright / Prix Chris-Johnson pour la meilleure piece par un dramaturge manitobain

    Dragonfly by Lara Rae (Scirocco Drama / J. Gordon Shillingford)

  • Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book

    Once Removed by Andrew Unger (Turnstone Press)

  • Manitowapow Award / Prix Manitowapow

    Duncan Mercredi
    Lenard Monkman

  • Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Awards / Prix Manuela-Dias de conception graphique et d’illustration en édition

    i. Book Design / Conception de livre
    Becoming our Future: Global Indigenous Curatorial Practice edited by Dr. Julie Nagam, Carly Lane, Megan Tamati-Quennell (ARP Books)
    original front cover design by Johnson Witehira
    design and layout by Relish New Brand Experience 

    ii. Graphic novel / Novel graphique
    This Place: 150 Years Retold by Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm et al. (HighWater Press)
    illustrations by Tara Audibert et al.
    cover and interior design by Relish New Brand Experience 

    iii. General Illustration / Illustration et iconographie
    I Will See You Again written and illustrated by Lisa Boivin (HighWater Press)
    cover and interior design by Relish New Brand Experience 

  • Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction
    The Lightning of Possible Storms by Jonathan Ball (Book*hug Press)

  • Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher / Prix Mary-Scorer pour le meilleur livre par un editeur du Manitoba
    Making Believe: Questions About Mennonites and Art by Magdalene Redekop (University of Manitoba Press)
    cover design by David Drummond
    interior design by Jess Koroscil

  • McNally Robinson Book for Young People (Older Category)
    Harvey Comes Home by Colleen Nelson (Pajama Press)
    illustrations by Tara Anderson 

  • McNally Robinson Book of the Year
    Here the Dark by David Bergen (Biblioasis)

  • Le Prix littéraire Rue-Deshambault
    Boussole Franche par Amber O’Reilly (Les Editions du Ble)


Congratulations to all of the winners!

To get your copies of these books, you may order right here on the website, by phone at 204-475-0483, or in person at our Grant Park store. We offer curbside pickup, delivery in Winnipeg, and worldwide shipping through Canada Post.

Categories: Awards, Winnipeg

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Black Water

- by David A Robertson

Hardcover $32.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $29.69

A Globe and Mail Top 100 Book of the Year
A Quill & Quire Book of the Year
A CBC Books Nonfiction Book of the Year
A Maclean's 20 Books You Need to Read this Winter

"An instant classic that demands to be read with your heart open and with a perspective widened to allow in a whole new understanding of family, identity and love." --Cherie Dimaline

In this bestselling memoir, a son who grew up away from his Indigenous culture takes his Cree father on a trip to the family trapline and finds that revisiting the past not only heals old wounds but creates a new future

The son of a Cree father and a white mother, David A. Robertson grew up with virtually no awareness of his Indigenous roots. His father, Dulas--or Don, as he became known--lived on the trapline in the bush in Manitoba, only to be transplanted permanently to a house on the reserve, where he couldn't speak his language, Swampy Cree, in school with his friends unless in secret. David's mother, Beverly, grew up in a small Manitoba town that had no Indigenous people until Don arrived as the new United Church minister. They married and had three sons, whom they raised unconnected to their Indigenous history.

David grew up without his father's teachings or any knowledge of his early experiences. All he had was "blood memory": the pieces of his identity ingrained in the fabric of his DNA, pieces that he has spent a lifetime putting together. It has been the journey of a young man becoming closer to who he is, who his father is and who they are together, culminating in a trip back to the trapline to reclaim their connection to the land.

Black Water is a memoir about intergenerational trauma and healing, about connection and about how Don's life informed David's own. Facing up to a story nearly erased by the designs of history, father and son journey together back to the trapline at Black Water and through the past to create a new future.  

Dragonfly

- by Lara Rae

Trade paperback $15.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $14.36

In this original and poetic new work, Lara Rae tells the raw and heartfelt story of her half-century long (and counting) gender odyssey. Dragonfly presents us with two actors, one male, one female, who illuminate the inner life of a trans woman from her Scottish childhood in the 1960s to the present day. Matching our inside to our outside is always hard, but for trans people it's often a matter of life and death. Stripping away the visual cues that both define and imprison transgender people, Dragonfly is a call to all of us to forge creativity from chaos. So often, it is the external changes in trans lives that the world is exposed to and confronts. Here as Lara says, is the "inside voice" of a trans child, ever present, ever demanding to be heard, ever rising upward, to growth, peace, security and love.

Once Removed

- by Andrew Unger

Trade paperback $21.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $19.76

Timothy Heppner is a frustrated ghostwriter struggling to make ends meet in Edenfeld, a small Mennonite community bulldozing its way towards modernity--if it's old, it has to go!

A member of the Preservation Society but desperate to keep his job with the mayor's Parks and "Wreck" department, Timothy finds himself in an awkward position when he is hired to write an updated version of the town's history book. Fuelled by warring loyalties, the threat of personal bankruptcy, and a good deal of fried bologna, Timothy must find his own voice to tell the one story that could make--or break--him.

Honest and laugh-out-loud funny, Once Removed explores the real costs of "progress" in this new Canadian classic.

mahikan ka onot

- by Duncan Mercredi

Trade paperback $19.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $17.99

mahikan ka onot collects the finest work of accomplished Indigenous poet Duncan Mercredi, from his first book in 1991 to recent unpublished poems. These are poems of life on the land as well as life in the city, vibrant with the rhythms of traditional Cree and Métis storytelling but also with the clamour and the music of the streets. This book brings the work of Duncan Mercredi (Cree/Métis) back into the public eye, providing a new generation of readers with the opportunity to experience his unique artistry. Mercredi brings to these poems the sensibility of a Cree speaker and a renowned oral storyteller, revealing a deep attachment to the land and a nuanced understanding of the complexities of contemporary Indigenous life. In startlingly direct, plainspoken language, the poet explores themes of cultural resurgence and steadfast connections among the generations, even amid the unfolding tragedies wrought by colonialism. Some of these poems are memories of traditional life on the land, especially in the time before Manitoba Hydro radically altered Mercredi's home community of Grand Rapids, Manitoba. Others focus on the urban Indigenous experience, based upon Mercredi's longstanding and intimate knowledge of Winnipeg. Like mahikan, the wolf, Mercredi's characters are often outsiders in certain contexts, but the poems reveal other perspectives that allow us to understand their loyalty and their love of community. The volume includes an afterword by Duncan Mercredi and an introduction by Métis scholar Warren Cariou, both of which provide resources for deeper study of the poems.

Becoming Our Future

- by Julie Nagam

Trade paperback $40.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $36.00

This book investigates international Indigenous methodologies in curatorial practice from the geographic spaces of Canada, Aotearoa (New Zealand) and Australia. From a perspective of Indigenous peoples important place within society, this collection explores how Indigenous art and culture operate within and from a structural framework that is unique and is positioned outside of the non-Indigenous cultural milieu. Through a selection of contributions, Becoming Our Future articulates this perspective, defines Indigenous curatorial practice and celebrates Indigenous sovereignty within the three countries. It begins to explore the connections and historical moments that draw Indigenous curatorial practices together and the differences that set them apart. This knowledge is grounded in continuous international exchanges and draws on the breadth of work within the field.

With contributions by Nigel Borell, Nici Cumpston, Freja Carmicheal, Karl Chitham, Franchesca Cubillo, Léuli Eshraghi, Reuben Friend, Jarita Greyeyes, Heather Igloliorte, Jaimie Isaac, Carly Lane, Michelle LaVallee, Cathy Mattes, Bruce McLean, Kimberley Moulton, Lisa Myers, Julie Nagam, Wanda Nanibush, Jolene Rickard, Megan Tamati-Quennell, and Daina Warren.

This Place

- by VARIOUS

Trade paperback $36.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $32.40

Winner of the 2020 Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher and the 2020 McNally Robinson Book of the Year

Explore the past 150 years through the eyes of Indigenous creators in this groundbreaking graphic novel anthology. Beautifully illustrated, these stories are an emotional and enlightening journey through Indigenous wonderworks, psychic battles, and time travel. See how Indigenous peoples have survived a post-apocalyptic world since Contact. Includes contributions from Kateri Akiwenzie-Damm, Sonny Assu, Brandon Mitchell, Rachel and Sean Qitsualik-Tinsley, David A. Robertson, Niigaanwewidam James Sinclair, Jen Storm, Richard Van Camp, Katherena Vermette, Chelsea Vowel. Illustrated by Tara Audibert, Kyle Charles, GMB Chomichuk, Natasha Donovan, Scott B. Henderson, Ryan Howe, Andrew Lodwick, Jen Storm. Colour by Scott A. Ford and Donovan Yaciuk.

I Will See You Again

- by Lisa Boivin

Young adult hardcover $25.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $22.50

When the author learns of the death of her brother overseas, she embarks on a journey to bring him home. Through memories and dreams of all they shared together and through her Dene traditions, she finds comfort and strength.

The lyrical art and story leave readers with a universal message of hope and love.

The Lightning of Possible Storms

- by Jonathan Ball

Trade paperback $20.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $18.00

Aleya's world starts to unravel after a café customer leaves behind a collection of short stories. Surprised and disturbed to discover that it has been dedicated to her, Aleya delves into the strange book... A mad scientist seeks to steal his son's dreams. A struggling writer, skilled only at destruction, finds himself courted by Hollywood. A woman seeks to escape her body and live inside her dreams. Citizens panic when a new city block manifests out of nowhere. The personification of capitalism strives to impress his cutthroat boss. The more Aleya reads, the deeper she sinks into the mysterious writer's work, and the less real the world around her seems. Soon, she's overwhelmed as a new, more terrifying existence takes hold. The Lightning of Possible Storms blends humour and horror, doom and daylight, offering myriad possible storms. Praise for Jonathan Ball: "Cheerfully horrifying, and full of the unexpected, The Lightning of Possible Storms is an entertaining Borgesian foray into the existential dread of writing itself." --Saleema Nawaz, author of Songs for the End of the World "This collection is so beautifully written and expertly composed--it is rich, layered, and complex. In every story, characters are forced to confront their secret, subterranean selves, their suppressed longings and anxieties, and the stories will linger with you long after you've finished them, much like the last strains of a beloved song. Witty, sad, sardonic, each story is its own masterpiece. This collection confirms Jonathan Ball as one of Canada's very best writers." --Suzette Mayr, author of Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall

Making Believe

- by Magdalene Redekop

Hardcover $70.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $63.00

Making Believe responds to a remarkable flowering of art by Mennonites in Canada. After the publication of his first novel in 1962, Rudy Wiebe was the only identifiable Mennonite literary writer in the country. Beginning in the 1970s, the numbers grew rapidly and now include writers Patrick Friesen, Sandra Birdsell, Di Brandt, Sarah Klassen, Armin Wiebe, David Bergen, Miriam Toews, Carrie Snyder, Casey Plett, and many more. A similar renaissance is evident in the visual arts (including artists Gathie Falk, Wanda Koop, and Aganetha Dyck) and in music (including composers Randolph Peters, Carol Ann Weaver, and Stephanie Martin). Confronted with an embarrassment of riches that resist survey, Magdalene Redekop opts for the use of case studies to raise questions about Mennonites and art. Part criticism, part memoir, Making Believe argues that there is no such thing as Mennonite art. At the same time, her close engagement with individual works of art paradoxically leads Redekop to identify a Mennonite sensibility at play in the space where artists from many cultures interact. Constant questioning and commitment to community are part of the Mennonite dissenting tradition. Although these values come up against the legacy of radical Anabaptist hostility to art, Redekop argues that the Early Modern roots of a contemporary crisis of representation are shared by all artists. Making Believe posits a Spielraum or play space in which all artists are dissembling tricksters, but differences in how we play are inflected by where we come from. The close readings in this book insist on respect for difference at the same time as they invite readers to find common ground while making believe across cultures.

Harvey Comes Home

- by Colleen Nelson

Children's paperback $15.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $14.36

Now in paperback, the award-winning story of a lost West Highland Terrier warming hearts and bringing generations together A dog's world is a world of scents, of adventure. When a Harvey the West Highland Terrier wanders out of his old life guided only by his nose and his heart, lives begin to converge. Austin, a young volunteer at the Brayside retirement home, quickly finds that the audacious Harvey inspires Mr. Pickering, a bitter resident coping with memory loss, to tell stories of his childhood. Moved by the elderly man's Dust Bowl recollections of grinding poverty and the perseverance of his friends and family, Austin begins to trade his preconceived notions for empathy. But is it enough to give him the resolve to track down Harvey's original owner? Supported by warm graphite illustrations from acclaimed artist Tara Anderson, author Colleen Nelson immerses readers in a rich and unflinchingly human tale of struggle and hope--all inspired by one curious dog.

Here the Dark

- by David Bergen

Trade paperback $22.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $20.66

SHORTLISTED FOR THE 2020 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE o A NEW YORK TIMES NEW & NOTEWORTHY BOOK o A GLOBE AND MAIL TOP 100 BOOK FOR 2020 o A CBC BEST FICTION BOOK FOR 2020 o "His third appearance on the Giller shortlist ... affirms Bergen among Canada's most powerful writers. His pages light up; all around falls into darkness."--2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize Jury o "David Bergen's command is breathtaking ... His work belongs to the world, and to all time. He is one of our living greats."--Matthew Thomas, New York Times-bestselling author of We Are Not Ourselves From the streets of Danang, Vietnam, where a boy falls in with a young American missionary, to fishermen lost off the islands of Honduras, to the Canadian prairies, where a teenage boy's infatuation reveals his naiveté and an aging rancher finds himself smitten, the short stories in Here the Dark explore the spaces between doubt and belief, evil and good, obscurity and light. Following men and boys bewildered by their circumstances and swayed by desire, surprised by love and by their capacity for both tenderness and violence, and featuring a novella about a young woman who rejects the laws of her cloistered Mennonite community, Scotiabank Giller Prize-winner David Bergen's latest deftly renders complex moral ambiguities and asks what it means to be lost--and how we might be found.