Before a packed house at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth, Thursday night, May 19, two Cape Breton writers took top honours in their respective categories.
In an audience of over 200 of the region’s writers, illustrators, book publishers and readers, Inverness born Alexander MacLeod won the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award for his collection of short stories, “Light Lifting” (Biblioasis), and Sydney born academic Laura Penny won The Evelyn Richardson Non-fiction Prize for More Money than Brains (McClelland & Stewart).
Two other Cape Breton writers, Sheldon Currie, Two More Solitudes (Key Porter Press), and Daniel Doucet, Élizabeth LeFort: Canada’s Artist in Wool (Cape Breton University Press), were nominated but failed to win in separate categories.
Alexander MacLeod is the son of acclaimed author, Alistair MacLeod, and was born in Inverness, Cape Breton and raised in Windsor, Ontario. His award-winning stories have appeared in many of the leading Canadian and American journals and have been selected for The Journey Prize Anthology. He currently lives in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia and teaches at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax.
MacLeod’s first collection of short fiction, Light Lifting, was previously nominated for a Giller Book Prize in 2010.
Sydney born Laura Penny is the author of the Canadian bestseller Your Call Is Important to Us: The Truth About Bullshit, a Globe and Mail Best Book of the year. She has a PhD in Comparative Literature, and has worked as a bookstore clerk, a student activist, a union organizer, and a university instructor. Her writing has appeared in the Globe and Mail, the National Post, and The Chronicle Herald. She lives in Halifax, where she teaches at Mount Saint Vincent University and the University of King’s College.
More Money Than Brains examines what Penny believes to be the pitiful state of public education in Canada and the United States as she offers a defence of the humanities and social sciences. In review after review, Penny has been praised for both her insight and her scathingly funny prose.
At the Thursday night event, Eleanor Dawson, Director of Arts for Newfoundland & Labrador, announced that, in keeping with the mandate of the regional book awards society, the 2012 Atlantic Book Awards will be held in St. John’s, Newfoundland, launching an effort to move the annual event around the Atlantic region (although Dawson did not mention it, hopefully that effort may include a stop in Cape Breton sometime in the future).
For a complete list of categories, nominees and winners for the Atlantic Book awards, visit atlanticbookawards.ca.