Three local writers were honoured with the prestigious Ottawa Book Award and Prix du livre d’Ottawa tonight at Ottawa City Hall. Shane Rhodes, Roy MacGregor and Alain Bernard Marchand were each awarded a prize of $7,500.
Shane Rhodes received the Ottawa Book Award in the English fiction category for his collection of poems, Dead White Men (Coach House Books). Roy MacGregor’s work, Original Highways: Travelling the Great Rivers of Canada (Penguin Random House of Canada), took the prize for English non-fiction.
The Prix du livre d’Ottawa award for French fiction went to Alain Bernard Marchand for his collection of linked short stories, Sept vies, dix-sept morts (Les Herbes Rouges). Due to an insufficient number of entries, there was no award in the category of French non-fiction.
Arc Poetry Magazine also recognized Christine McNair’s collection of poems, Charm (BookThug), as the year’s best work of poetry, and presented her with the 2018 Archibald Lampman Award.
The Association des auteures et auteurs de l’Ontario français presented the Prix émergence AAOF de littérature jeunesse 2018 to Karine Perron for her book, À l’aube du destin de Florence, published by Les Éditions L’Interligne, 2016.
Winning books were selected by a jury of peers:
- English fiction: Sylvia Adams, David Groulx, Ying Lee
- English non-fiction: Pius Adesanmi, Sylvia Barrett, Suzanne Evans
- French fiction : Marie Gingras, Monia Mazigh, Gilles Latour
- Of Shane Rhodes’s novel, the jury noted: “Dead White Men shows extraordinary range – temporally, geographically, emotionally and historiographically. Rhodes makes especially powerful use of a range of masks and narrative voices to reframe our perceptions of landscapes we thought we already knew. Brilliantly inventive in both language and layout, these poems leave us awestruck and wanting more.”
- Of the non-fiction winner, Roy MacGregor, the jury wrote: “Whether they be glamorous, powerful or recovering from a fetid past, Roy MacGregor masterfully conveys the beauty and fragility of the 16 rivers whose characters he portrays in Original Highways. This unique history of place and people from the geological past to the present day offers a heart-felt call to cherish the precious resource of these waterways. By turns fascinating, funny and poignant, this book is a vivid and compelling read.”
- The jury praised Alain Bernard Marchand’s work, winner of the French fiction award: “This collection of short stories by Alain Bernard Marchand explores different facets of life and death along multiple intersecting paths. Whether they live in Greece during the Dictatorship or work in a government office tower, the characters’ stories are universally compelling. Behind their simplest gestures lies a complex and arduous quest. The author’s masterfully elegant and clear writing charmingly ties all the stories together and keeps us in suspense from beginning to end.”
More information about the Ottawa Book Awards, including jury statements and author biographies, is available online at ottawa.ca.
“Tonight is a showcase of Ottawa’s talented writing community as a whole. These awards not only celebrate the artistic achievement of the finalists and winners, but they also shine a spotlight on Ottawa’s thriving and diverse literary community.”
Bob Monette, Deputy Mayor, City of Ottawa