Nova Scotia Book Awards

Upcoming Events

A Fiction Fête

Tuesday, June 6, 6:30 pm

Queens County Museum (109 Main Street, Liverpool, NS)

Celebrate our fiction authors with a showcase of readings from finalists for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award and the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction, including K. R. Byggdin, Wonder World (Enfield & Wizenty), Alexander MacLeod, Animal Person (McClelland & Stewart), and Jo Treggiari, Heartbreak Homes (Nimbus Publishing). Authors Bobbi French, The Good Women of Safe Harbour (HarperCollins) and Lisa Moore, This Is How We Love (House of Anansi) will join in virtually!

Register for your free ticket to secure a seat: A Fiction Fête.

Presented in partnership with the Atlantic Book Awards and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia.

2024 Nova Scotia Book Awards

June 3, 2024

DARTMOUTH, NS – The book jacket for The Berry Pickers is about to get even more crowded: first-time novelist Amanda Peters picked up the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction at the Nova Scotia Book Awards.

The debut novel has already gathered a stunning array of honours, including the Barnes and Noble Discover Prize, the Andrew Carnegie Medal for Excellence in Fiction, and the Best Novel Award by the Crime Writers of Canada. It is also in contention for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, a $30,000 prize, at Wednesday’s Atlantic Book Awards. 

In The Berry Pickers (HarperCollins Canada), Peters tells the story of a Mi’kmaw family ripped apart after four-year-old Ruthie vanishes from the blueberry fields of Maine where the family toils each summer. Peters, of Mi’kmaw and settler ancestry, is an associate professor of English at Acadia University. 

“This means a lot to me because it’s from home,” said Peters on accepting the award. “The quality of writing here is remarkable.”

The George Borden Writing for Change Award went to the late Jen Powley for Making a Home: Assisted Living in the Community for Young Disabled People (Roseway Publishing). Powley, a passionate disability-rights advocate and writer, died at the age of 45 last September due to complications from advanced multiple sclerosis.

Powley’s partner Tom Elliott accepted the award on her behalf, remarking that she would have been thrilled with the honour. Later, he recalled her telling him what it was like when she was a child and her parents had a party going on downstairs. It felt like that now, he said, that she was just out of reach, listening in at the top of the stairs. “I can just imagine the smile that would have been on her face,” he said. He says he also feels her presence in the ongoing discussions on the rights of young disabled people to live in the community rather than being institutionalized. “Her input was so meaningful.”

Investigative journalist Karen Pinchin came away a double winner for her non-fiction book, Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas (Knopf Canada). The book claimed both the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Non-Fiction) and the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award. The jury for the Savage Award said it was “informative and engaging from start to finish” while the Evelyn Richardson jury lauded the book for “its global scope, well-researched approach, and captivating storytelling.”

The second Margaret and John Savage First Book Award, this one for fiction, went to Michelle Wamboldt for her debut novel Birth Road (Nimbus Publishing). Clearly delighted, Wamboldt said having her book published was a dream come true. “I’m as excited today as I was four years ago when (Nimbus Managing Editor) Whitney Moran sent me an email offering me a contract.”

The Nova Scotia Book Awards was held on Monday, June 3 at Brightwood Golf and Country Club in Dartmouth. The celebration of Nova Scotia books and authors was hosted by Andre Fenton and featured readings by Tara Lynn Taylor.

The Society for the Nova Scotia Book Awards is grateful for sponsorship by Nova Scotia Support4Culture and the University of King’s College. 

 

Here is the full list of winners in the order presented:

  • Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Fiction): Michelle Wamboldt, Birth Road (Nimbus Publishing)
  • Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Non-Fiction): Karen Pinchin, Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas (Knopf Canada)
  • George Borden Writing for Change Award: Jen Powley, Making a Home: Assisted Living in the Community for Young Disabled People (Roseway Publishing)
  • Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction): Amanda Peters, The Berry Pickers (HarperCollins Canada)
  • Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award: Karen Pinchin, Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of Our Seas (Knopf Canada)

Five Nova Scotian authors win literary awards

DARTMOUTH, NS – Activists Sister Dorothy Moore and El Jones were among the five Nova Scotia writers recognized with Nova Scotia Book Awards at a ceremony held Monday evening at Brightwood Golf and Country Club in Dartmouth. Best-selling author Charlene Carr, who lives in Dartmouth, was the host.

Mi’kmaw Elder Sister Dorothy Moore was presented with the George Borden Writing for Change Award for A Journey of Love and Hope (Nimbus Publishing), a collection of talks, presentations, prayers, and ceremonies by the human rights activist. Named for the late George Borden (1935–2020), the Writing for Change Award is for an outstanding non-fiction book by a Nova Scotian author that inspires others and challenges the status quo.

Poet, professor, and activist El Jones took home the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award for Abolitionist Intimacies (Fernwood Publishing). In this book, Jones employs both poetry and prose to examine the movement to abolish prisons. From the jury citation: “El Jones packs meaning into every word and phrase, intertwined with unwavering undertones of cultural genocide, Black annihilation, and the institutionalized trauma that continues to smother and suppress a people and their intimate and necessary cultural connections.”

The first award of the evening, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Non-Fiction), went to Yarmouth native Mandy Rennehan for The Blue Collar CEO: My Gutsy Journey from Rookie Contractor to Multi-Millionaire Construction Boss (HarperCollins). The book is the “respectfully uncensored” story of how Rennehan’s business savvy and innovative thinking led her to the top of the male-dominated construction industry before she turned thirty.

Sylvia D. Hamilton won the Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award for her poetry collection Tender </em (Gaspereau Press). The book chronicles the experiences of Black people, Black women in particular, in their desire to live full, complex, unencumbered lives. According to the jury: “Tender is bursting at the seams with love, compassion, and vulnerability.”

Alexander MacLeod received the Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction for Animal Person (McClelland and Stewart), a short fiction collection exploring love, compromise, and the idea of self. “Lagomorph,” one of eight short stories in this collection, previously won the prestigious O. Henry Award and the Lieutenant Governor of Nova Scotia’s Masterworks Art Award.

This is the second year for the Nova Scotia Book Awards. Until last year, Nova Scotia didn’t have its own provincial literary awards celebration, as all the book awards for Nova Scotia authors were presented as part of the Atlantic Book Awards.

Literary events continue this week, culminating with the Atlantic Book Awards Gala on Wednesday, June 7, at 7:00 p.m. at Paul O’Regan Hall, Halifax Central Library. For tickets, please see Atlanticbookawards.ca.

The Nova Scotia Book Awards is a partnership between the Dartmouth Books Awards Committee and the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia, with support from the Atlantic Book Awards Society. The Society for the Nova Scotia Book Awards is grateful for generous funding from Nova Scotia Gaming Support4Culture and the University of King’s College.

Here is the full list of winners, in the order presented:

 

Margaret and John Savage First Book Award (Non-Fiction)

Mandy Rennehan, The Blue Collar CEO (HarperCollins)

 

Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award

Sylvia D. Hamilton, Tender (Gaspereau Press)

 

George Borden Writing for Change Award

Elder Sister Dorothy Moore, A Journey of Love and Hope (Nimbus Publishing)

 

Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction)

Alexander MacLeod, Animal Person (McClelland & Stewart)

 

Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award

El Jones, Abolitionist Intimacies (Fernwood Publishing)

 

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For more information, contact Lindsay Ruck: rucklindsay98@gmail.com; (902) 293-5236

2023 Nova Scotia Book Awards Shortlists

Dartmouth Book Award for Fiction

Bobbi French, The Good Women of Safe Harbour (HarperCollins)

Alexander MacLeod, Animal Person (McClelland & Stewart)

Jo Treggiari, Heartbreak Homes (Nimbus Publishing)

 

Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award

Kate Beaton, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Drawn & Quarterly)

El Jones, Abolitionist Intimacies (Fernwood Publishing)

Kim Pittaway & Toufah Jallow, Toufah: The Woman Who Inspired an African #MeToo Movement (Penguin Random House)

 

George Borden Writing for Change Award

El Jones, Abolitionist Intimacies (Fernwood Publishing)

Elder Sister Dorothy Moore, A Journey of Love and Hope (Nimbus Publishing)

Wanda Thomas Bernard, A Child of East Preston (Delmore “Buddy” Daye Learning Institute)

 

Margaret and John Savage First Book Award for Non-Fiction

Kate Beaton, Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands (Drawn & Quarterly)

Martha Paynter, Abolition to Abortion (Fernwood Publishing)

Mandy Rennehan, The Blue Collar CEO (HarperCollins)

 

Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award

Sylvia D. Hamilton, Tender (Gaspereau Press)

Sue Goyette, Monoculture (Gaspereau Press)

Nanci Lee, Hsin (Brick Books)