Titles by 2017 Ottawa Book Award finalists are available at the Ottawa Public Library.
2017 Finalists: Fiction
Awarded for outstanding published works of fiction including novels, short stories, children’s literature and poetry.
View video: 2017 Ottawa Book Awards finalists: English Fiction
When Mama Loa, a witch doctor, tells Inspector Ramirez that people in the sky are going to die, he thinks she’s crazy. After all, there hasn’t been a violent death in Havana in months. But things quickly change when a Russian is murdered, execution-style, on the Malecón and three flight crew members die in suspicious circumstances. When Russian intelligence officer Slava Kadun arrives in Havana warning that a CIA hitman has plans to assassinate Raúl Castro, Ramirez starts to wonder if the deaths are connected. With the political future of Cuba at stake, he has only hours to stop a cold-blooded killer.
Peggy Blair was a lawyer for more than thirty years. Most of her legal career was spent in Aboriginal law. She is the author of the award-winning and critically acclaimed Inspector Ramirez mysteries The Beggar’s Opera, The Poisoned Pawn, and Hungry Ghosts. She lives in Ottawa.
Told in the tradition of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, Thirteen Shells is a novel-in-stories about a young girl coming of age in the 1980s. Narrated from the perspective of Shell, the only child of bohemian artisans determined to live off their handicrafts and uphold a left-wing lifestyle. Shell quietly watches her parents’ loveless marriage fall apart and learns to survive divorce, weight gain, heartache, and first love.
Nadia Bozak is the author of the novels Orphan Love and El Niño, the first two parts of her Border Trilogy. She has also written a book of film theory, The Cinematic Footprint: Lights, Camera, Natural Resources. She is currently Assistant Professor of English at Carleton University, where she teaches creative writing.
The Greatest Films
This poem addresses the imaginations of cultural hybridity as they are formed through passages between real and imagined homelands and host lands--Guyana, Canada, and India. Employing disjunctive poetic techniques that exteriorize the personal and public histories of the Indo-Guyanese Canadian diaspora, The Greatest Films refashions and revivifies these improvisational sources into a collage of repeating lines of verse that pull readers back-and-forth.
Faizal Deen was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1968 and arrived in Canada in 1977. In 2000 he published what became Guyana's first LGBTQ poetry collection, Land Without Chocolate, a Memoir. He lives in Ottawa and is presently working on a new book of poems and an experimental novel.
All the Gold Hurts My Mouth
Katherine Leyton’s fresh and vibrant debut collection takes on the sexual politics of the twenty-first century, boldly holding up a mirror to the male gaze and interrogating the nature of images and illusions. And yet, for all its unflinching and raw lyricism, the poetry of All the Gold Hurts My Mouth is warm and searching, full of humour and hope.
Katherine Leyton was the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at the Al & Eurithe Purdy A-Frame (Summer 2014). Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including the Malahat Review, Hazlitt, the Globe and Mail, and the Edinburgh Review. She is the founder of the highly unorthodox video poetry blog, HowPedestrian.ca.
2017 Finalists: Non-fiction
Awarded for outstanding published works of non-fiction including biographies, memoirs, cultural histories, literary journalism and essays.
View video: 2017 Ottawa Book Awards finalists: English Non-Fiction
Henri Nouwen: His Life and Spirit
This is a biography of Henri Nouwen, the celebrated writer. A Dutch-born psychologist, ordained priest, and successful academic, Nouwen was a wounded, restless soul. Encouraged by Jean Vanier, Nouwen moved to Canada to work in the L’Arche community in Richmond Hill, Ontario. A decade of intense creative renewal resulted. Since his death in 1996, Nouwen’s readership continues to grow. Why?
Kevin Burns is an Ottawa-based writer, editor, and documentarian. His print and broadcast work focuses on spirituality, culture, and biography. His 2013 CBC Ideas series on Henri Nouwen received the Gold Medal at the New York Festivals. He is a member of Editors Canada and the Writers’ Union of Canada.
Marion Dewar: A Life of Action
A beloved mayor, Marion Dewar shaped the landscape of Canada's capital city and was a role-model for social activists and aspiring female politicians. Her work on behalf of refugees gives her accomplishments special resonance today. Women's history scholar Deborah Gorham shows us a woman who acted when it counted most and whose legacy is a wonderful example of public life.
Deborah Gorham taught History and Women's Studies at Carleton University for forty years, including setting up, planning and teaching the first women’s history course there – one of the first such courses in North America. She is the author of Vera Brittain: A Feminist Life, and others. Deborah lives in Ottawa.
Nathan M. Greenfield
The Reckoning: Canadian Prisoners of War in the Great War
In The Reckoning bestselling author and Governor General’s Award–nominee Nathan M. Greenfield explores life and death in German POW camps, as well as the attempts to run for freedom. These are the forgotten stories of our soldiers at war and in the camps, and of how they never gave up hope of making it out alive.
Nathan M. Greenfield, PhD, is the Canadian correspondent for TES and is a contributor to Maclean’s, Canadian Geographic and TLS. He is the author of The Damned, Baptism of Fire, The Battle of the St. Lawrence and The Forgotten. Greenfield lives in Ottawa.
D. Peter MacLeod
Backs to the Wall: The Battle of Ste-Foy and the Conquest of Canada
The Battle of Sainte-Foy was less a battle for territory than a struggle for survival between two equally desperate adversaries. MacLeod presents this historical event in riveting detail, from the preparation and day-by-day actions during the engagement to the compelling siege of Quebec by land and ship. Backs to the Wall is an accessible and engaging account of an important episode in Canadian history.
D. Peter MacLeod is the pre-Confederation historian at the Canadian War Museum and currently works as English language style editor for the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History. His previous books include The Canadian Iroquois and the Seven Years’ War and Northern Armageddon. He lives in Ottawa.
(For outstanding books published in French, see the 2017 Prix du livre finalists.)