The Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawa recognize the top English and French books published in the previous year. Both awards have separate categories for fiction and non-fiction. All shortlisted finalists receive $1,000 and each winner receives a prize of $7,500.
2015 Ottawa Book Awards Finalists
Ottawa Book Awards: Non-fiction
Awarded for outstanding published works of non-fiction including biographies, memoirs, cultural histories, literary journalism and essays.
A Time Such as There Never Was Before: Canada After the Great War
As much upheaval as WWI caused in Canada, its aftermath was even more transformative for the country. With victory and the
return of the troops, Canadian society was now faced with the question of how to return to normalcy — and what “normal” would mean, as Canada emerged from its colonial status and found its independent national identity.
Alan Bowker worked for thirty-five years in Canada’s foreign service, including serving as high commissioner to Guyana. He has a Ph.D. in Canadian history and has taught at Canada’s Royal Military College. He lives in Ottawa.
Two Days in June: John F. Kennedy and the 48 Hours that Made History
Two Days in June is a mesmerizing hour-by-hour account that takes us into the Kennedy White House during the 48 hours that he delivered his two most significant speeches - ultimately changing the course of history.
Andrew Cohen is a professor of journalism at Carleton University. He has written for the Ottawa Citizen, United Press International, Time, the Financial Post, Saturday Night and the Globe and Mail. He has written and co-edited six books, including While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World, which was a national bestseller and a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction. At the Globe and Mail, he was a member of the Editorial Board, a columnist and foreign correspondent in Washington. Cohen has won two Canadian National Newspaper Awards, three National Magazine Awards, and the Queen’s Golden Jubilee Medal.
The Necessary War – Vol. 1: Canadians Fighting The Second World War: 1939-1943
Tim Cook, Canada’s leading war historian, ventures deep into World War Two in this epic two-volume story. Written in Cook’s compelling narrative style, this book shows in impressive detail how soldiers, airmen, and sailors heroically battled. From the Western Front to the home front, Canadians served many roles in a war that had to be fought and won.
Tim Cook is the Great War historian at the Canadian War Museum. He won the 2008 J.W. Dafoe Prize for At the Sharp End and the 2009 Charles Taylor Prize for Shock Troops. In 2013, he received the Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history. He lives in Ottawa with his family.
Dispatches from the Front: Matthew Halton, Canada’s Voice at War
Drawing on extensive interviews and archival research, this definitive biography, written by Matthew’s son, acclaimed former CBC correspondent David Halton, is a fascinating look at the career of one of the most accomplished journalists Canada has ever known.
David Halton, formerly the CBC News’s Senior Correspondent in Washington D.C., is one of Canada’s most acclaimed journalists. Throughout his career, he was The National’s Paris-based correspondent, as well as CBC’s correspondent in Moscow, the Middle East and Vietnam. He was the CBC’s chief political correspondent in Ottawa from 1978 to 1991. In 2005, Halton was presented with one of the most prized Gemini awards, the Gordon Sinclair Award for Broadcast Journalism.
Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good
This ground-breaking book reclaims the self-organizing, self-governing commons first as memory, in Menzies’ ancestral heritage living in direct relations with the land and then as a set of commons-making
practices to offer a vision and practical guide for reviving common-good governance from the grassroots up.
Heather Menzies is an award-winning writer and scholar and the author of nine books, including Whose Brave New World? and No Time. She has been awarded an honourary doctorate and the Order of Canada for her “contributions to public discourse.” A mother and grandmother, a gardener and social-justice activist, Heather regularly contributes to journals and newspapers, and is in high demand as a speaker, offering a thoughtful critique of our disintegrating social fabric.
Ottawa Book Awards: Fiction
Awarded for outstanding published works of fiction including novels, short stories, children’s literature and poetry.
At once original, strange, funny, and unnerving, Shane Book’s Congotronic takes the reader into unstable territory, where multiple layers of voice, diction, and music collide. Some of these poems have the sparse directness of a kind of bleak prayer; others mingle the earthbound rhythms of hip-hop with the will-to-transcendence of high Romanticism.
Shane Book, author of Ceiling of Sticks, is an award-winning poet and filmmaker. He was educated at the University of Victoria; the Iowa Writers’ Workshop; and Stanford University, where he was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. His writing has appeared in more than twenty anthologies, including The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry.
The Cutting Room
Volunteering at the Jamieson International Documentary Film Festival, Jeff Whittaker is assigned to chauffeur Margaret “Terror” Torrance, a former A-list Hollywood star with a mysterious black mark on her name. Across five days of festival activities, the actor and her driver clash and click, baring secrets and scars, and challenging each other to stave off the entropy of middle age.
Stewart Dudley spent more than 20 years as a film and video director, scriptwriter, cameraman and editor before leaving the industry to focus exclusively on writing. His credits include hundreds of scripts, ads, speeches and websites—as well as The Cutting Room, his first novel. He lives in Ottawa, Canada.
The Gospel Truth
Phoebe, a 16-year-old slave girl, has courageously taught herself to read out of a dangerous yearning for freedom. Told in dramatic free verse from the perspectives of slaves, slave-owners, and a mysterious
bird-watcher, The Gospel Truth brings to life the world of a Virginia tobacco plantation in 1858.
Caroline Pignat is a Governor General’s Award-winning author whose books for young adults have also won the Red Maple Award and been short-listed for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction, and the IODE Violet Downey Book Award. She lives, writes, and teaches high school in Ottawa, Ontario.
And to Say Hello
The thirteen short stories in And to Say Hello investigate the hazards of men and women becoming fathers and mothers: the immediate harm and the long-term damage. Sometimes comic and sometimes solemn, the stories demonstrate the complexities and varieties of parent-child relationships.
Scott Randall has written two previous short story collections: Last Chance to Renew and Character Actor. His fiction has been broadcast on CBC’s Between the Covers, shortlisted for the Ottawa Book Award, and twice nominated for the Journey Prize. He works as an English Professor at Algonquin College.
House Dreams, Deanna Young’s haunted and haunting third collection, is at once a core sample of the life we all live underground, and a view beneath the foundations of the various eras and places that make up one woman’s life story. These poems have the plainspoken power, surreal shifting, uncanny logic and transformed everyday imagery of our most numinous dreams.
Deanna Young is the author of two previous books of poems, The Still Before a Storm and Drunkard’s Path. Her work has appeared in journals across Canada, including The Malahat Review and Arc Poetry Magazine. Originally from southwestern Ontario, she now lives in Ottawa.
(For outstanding books published in French, see the 2015 Prix du livre finalists.)
Winners will be announced during the 2015 Ottawa Book Awards ceremony which will take place on Wednesday, October 21, 2015 at Ottawa City Hall, Jean Pigott Place.