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Manitoba Book Awards 2020

The Manitoba Book Awards recognize excellence in Manitoban writing, book design, publishing, and stories, honouring authors and books published in the last year.

Congratulations to all of the winners!

Friends, Foes, and Furs

- by Harry W. Duckworth

Hardcover $65.00 - Add to Cart

Winner of the 2020 Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction

George Nelson (1786-1859) was a clerk for the North West Company whose unusually detailed and personal writings provide a compelling portrait of the people engaged in the golden age of the Canadian fur trade. Friends, Foes, and Furs is a critical edition of Nelson's daily journals, supplemented with exciting anecdotes from his "Reminiscences," which were written after his retirement to Lower Canada. An introduction and annotations by Harry Duckworth place Nelson's material securely within the established body of fur trade history. This series of journals gives readers a first-person account of Nelson's life and career, from his arrival at the age of eighteen in Lake Winnipeg, where he was stationed as an apprentice clerk from 1804 to 1813, to his second service from 1818 to 1819 and an 1822 canoe journey through the region. A keen and respectful observer, Nelson recorded in his daily journals not only the minutiae of his work, but also details about the lives of voyageurs, the Ojibwe and Swampy Cree communities, and others involved in the fur trade. His insights uncover an extraordinary view of the Lake Winnipeg region in the period just prior to European settlement. Making the full extent of George Nelson's journals available for the first time, Friends, Foes, and Furs is an intriguing account of one man's adventures in the fur trade in prairie Canada.

The Grizzly Mother

- by Brett D. Huson

Children's hardcover $23.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $20.70

Winner of the 2020 Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Award for Children’s Illustration

To the Gitxsan people of Northwestern British Columbia, the grizzly is an integral part of the natural landscape. Together, they share the land and forests that the Skeena River runs through, as well as the sockeye salmon within it. Follow mother bear as she teaches her cubs what they need in order to survive on their own. The Mothers of Xsan series uses striking illustration and lyrical language to bring the poetry of the Xsan ecosystem to life.

The North-West Is Our Mother

- by Jean Teillet

Hardcover $36.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $33.29

Winner of the 2020 Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award

There is a missing chapter in the narrative of Canada's Indigenous peoples — the story of the Métis Nation, a new Indigenous people descended from both First Nations and Europeans. Their story begins in the last decade of the eighteenth century in the Canadian North-West. Within twenty years the Métis proclaimed themselves a nation and won their first battle. Within forty years they were famous throughout North America for their military skills, their nomadic life and their buffalo hunts. The Métis Nation didn't just drift slowly into the Canadian consciousness in the early 1800s; it burst onto the scene fully formed. The Métis were flamboyant, defiant, loud and definitely not noble savages. They were nomads with a very different way of being in the world--always on the move, very much in the moment, passionate and fierce. They were romantics and visionaries with big dreams. They battled continuously--for recognition, for their lands and for their rights and freedoms. In 1870 and 1885, led by the iconic Louis Riel, they fought back when Canada took their lands. These acts of resistance became defining moments in Canadian history, with implications that reverberate to this day: Western alienation, Indigenous rights and the French/English divide. After being defeated at the Battle of Batoche in 1885, the Métis lived in hiding for twenty years. But early in the twentieth century, they determined to hide no more and began a long, successful fight back into the Canadian consciousness. The Métis people are now recognized in Canada as a distinct Indigenous nation. Written by the great-grandniece of Louis Riel, this popular and engaging history of "forgotten people" tells the story up to the present era of national reconciliation with Indigenous peoples. 2019 marks the 175th anniversary of Louis Riel's birthday (October 22, 1844)

Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.

- by Jenny Heijun Wills

Hardcover $29.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $26.96

Winner of the 2020 Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book and the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction

A beautiful and haunting memoir of kinship and culture rediscovered. Jenny Heijun Wills was born in Korea and adopted as an infant into a white family in small-town Canada. In her late twenties, she reconnected with her first family and returned to Seoul where she spent four months getting to know other adoptees, as well as her Korean mother, father, siblings, and extended family. At the guesthouse for transnational adoptees where she lived, alliances were troubled by violence and fraught with the trauma of separation and of cultural illiteracy. Unsurprisingly, heartbreakingly, Wills found that her nascent relationships with her family were similarly fraught. Ten years later, Wills sustains close ties with her Korean family. Her Korean parents and her younger sister attended her wedding in Montreal, and that same sister now lives in Canada. Remarkably, meeting Jenny caused her birth parents to reunite after having been estranged since her adoption. Little by little, Jenny Heijun Wills is learning and relearning her stories and those of her biological kin, piecing together a fragmented life into something resembling a whole. Delving into gender, class, racial, and ethnic complexities, as well as into the complex relationships between Korean women--sisters, mothers and daughters, grandmothers and grandchildren, aunts and nieces--Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related. describes in visceral, lyrical prose the painful ripple effects that follow a child's removal from a family, and the rewards that can flow from both struggle and forgiveness.

Operation Stealth Seed

- by George Amabile

Trade paperback $18.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $17.06

Winner of the 2020 Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction

NYPD Detective Nicola Cortese, veteran of three tours in Iraq and Afghanistan, is leading a routine drug bust at a warehouse in the Bronx, but the SWAT team Commander pulls rank and starts a firefight that gets Cortese's partner killed. The tragedy triggers combat flashbacks, sleepless nights with cold sweats, nightmares, and violent outbursts during which he assaults fellow officers. He is demoted and transferred to a desk job in Operations. For months, all his appeals are denied. But when a new Precinct Commander returns him to active duty, he is elated -- until he's told Captain Chase expects him to act out again and get kicked off the Force. His first case, a B & E homicide, leads him to uncover an international conspiracy that is using a genetically engineered seed to take control of the world's wheat. This draws him into deadly conflict with Corporate power backed by US Intelligence. Haunted by issues from his military past, he must survive attacks by contract mercenaries, neutralize threats to loved ones, prove his innocence when framed for a Capital Crime and unravel the Stealth Seed Agenda. He has an ally, a therapist who is also a Marine, but can they clear up his symptoms before it's too late?

Portraits of the Far North

- by Gerald Kuehl

Hardcover $35.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $31.50

Winner of the 2020 Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Award for General Illustrations

For over two decades, Manitoban artist Gerald Kuehl has travelled to the far-flung corners of Canada to draw out these answers from the last generation of Indigenous Peoples born on the land, and, pencil in hand, to record their likenesses and experiences. These Elders shared their gripping stories with him so that he might share them with the world. Picking up where Kuehl's acclaimed Portraits of the North left off, these pages follow the artist as he crosses the 60th parallel into Nunavut and the Far North, to meet the few Inuit Elders who still remember the days when their people lived entirely off the bounty of the land. The astonishing graphite pencil drawings and accompanying stories within--the result of Kuehl's travels in Nunavut over thirteen years, hundreds of interviews with Elders, and thousands of hours at the drawing board--provide an unprecedented, poignant account of the changing realities Inuit experienced over the course of the last century, and their bright hopes for the future. These are tales of hardship and survival, of family and tradition, and of optimism and resilience. These are the faces and the voices of the Far North.

The Promise Basket

- by Bill Richardson

Children's hardcover $17.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $16.16

Winner of the 2020 McNally Robinson Book for Young People, Younger Category award

A stone when it's thrown can damage, can break,
but nothing can shatter the promise I make.
So begins the poem a mother writes on a scrap of paper. She wraps the paper around a stone and places it in a basket to give to her daughter on her first birthday. They are poor, but the mother is determined that gifts will be given when gifts need giving. She keeps her promise, and the Promise Basket, too. Every time there is a need for gifts, the mother finds a pretty stone to tie up with paper and ribbon, and gives it to her daughter in the basket. She continues the tradition over the years until her daughter has a baby of her own... The love between a mother and her daughter is celebrated in this lyrical story from Bill Richardson, featuring colorful illustrations by Slavka Kolesar.

Romans/Snowmare

- by Cam Scott

Trade paperback $17.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $15.30

Winner of the 2020 Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Award for Book Design

Both a daybook of anti-capitalist ideation and a homoerotic reinvention of the prairie long poem, this unique debut resonates with a love of language and experiment. Written from within the strictures of the working day, the book's title poem issues from a practice of daily collage, comprising the first layer of a potentially interminable personal epic. As a lyric counterbalance, a centralsection follows a punk band throughout dozens of countries connected by and subjugated to capital. These poems attempt to preserve the superficiality and sincerity of fast-paced social engagement, alluding to the material conditions that permit some people--tourists, artists, musicians--free movement at the expense of others. Playful and meticulously written, ROMANS/SNOWMARE deftly circles the perimeter of the self while drawing the communal inward.

St. Boniface Elegies

- by Catherine Hunter

Trade paperback $17.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $16.16

Winner of the 2020 Lansdowne Prize for Poetry

In four sections, St. Boniface Elegies traces a poet’s relationships with her family and her community through poems about travel, love, illness, work, and the writing life. In the first section, “Submission,” the Cape Cod poems describe a holiday taken in the midst of a period of grieving; the Irish poems delve into the poet’s relationship to her ancestors; and the Banff poems look at the irony of an injury to the writer’s hand while away at a writing retreat. “Oodena,” set at the junction of the Red and Assiniboine Rivers, describes a magical place where birth, marriage, death and the imagination converge. “Winter Archive” questions the role of a poet in today’s urban environment and describes moving through time and a shifting cityscape of poverty, broken families, and broken promises, in the state of emergency that is Winnipeg. “The News” is a suite of poems about the impact of a devastating medical diagnosis on a marriage, the difficulties and small consolations of living day after day—as we all live—in a fragile, uncertain world. The final section, “The Reader,” includes a rhythmic Twitter-generated description of Canada’s “poetry wars”; a humorous but loving homage to Al Purdy; three glosas that respond to the writers Adrienne Rich, Richard Wilbur, and Rainer Maria Rilke.

This Has Nothing to Do With You

- by Lauren Carter

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

Winner of the 2020 Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction and the 2020 John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer

When Melony Barnett's mother commits a violent murder, Mel is left struggling with the loss of her parents and her future. For more than two years, she drifts around the continent, trying to carve out a life that has nothing to do with her past, before returning to her Northern Ontario home and adopting a rescue dog--a mastiff with a tragic history. As she struggles to help the dog heal and repair her relationship with her brother, Matt, she begins to uncover layers of secrets about her family --secrets that were the fuel for her mother's actions. This Has Nothing to Do With You is a compulsively readable novel that follows a dynamic cast of characters, revealing the complexity of the bonds that are formed through trauma and grief--with siblings, lovers, friends, and dogs.

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.