Holiday Wishlist: Hamilton Literary Awards

Thursday, 17 December 2015

I cross paths with a lot of incredible books throughout the year, and as much as I wish I could, I don't get to highlight all of them on this blog. Each year, the holidays are an opportunity for me to share some of my favourite reads, while at the same time promoting the importance of buying and reading local. Check back between now and Christmas for some of my favourite gifts for readers and writers. First up, it's the Hamilton Literary Award winners.

Last week, the Hamilton Literary Awards were given out, celebrating the local talent we're lucky enough to have in the Hammer. This year felt especially special as three of my favourite local authors, Gary Barwin (poetry), Krista Foss (fiction), and John Terpstra (non-fiction), took home awards. A fourth award, the Kerry Schooley Award, was awarded to Chris Laing for A Deadly Venture. I haven't read this one, but I've added it to my own personal holiday wishlist.

The WINNER of the HAMILTON ARTS COUNCIL LITERARY AWARD for POETRY:

Moon Baboon Canoe by Gary Barwin
From Mansfield Press's website: A follow-up to his acclaimed The Porcupinity of the Stars, Moon Baboon Canoe is filled with Gary Barwin’s trademark humour, invention, musicality and craft. These witty and surprising poems confront subjects as diverse as time machines, elves, hummingbirds, birth and cows, yet manage to explore the perennial themes of poetry: delight, mortality, childhood, love, the natural world and squirrels. It is a moon-guided, baboon-paddled canoe of a book, and around each bend in the river we find the sources of our strength: consolation, goofiness and joy.

The WINNER of the HAMILTON ARTS COUNCIL LITERARY AWARD for NON-FICTION:

The House with the Parapet Wall by John Terpstra
The House with the Parapet Wall, "weaves stories of caring for [Terpstra's] elderly mother with notions of home and place; and stories of the 19th century brick houses in his city neighborhood and the families who lived in them, then and now." As someone who is currently researching the history of my Hamilton home, I couldn't put this one down. It will appeal for any devotees of Hamilton's storied history.

The WINNER of the HAMILTON ARTS COUNCIL LITERARY AWARD for FICTION:

Smoke River by Krista Foss
Smoke River was one of my holiday picks in 2015, but it warrants a second mention. Smoke River is Krista's debut novel, centering around a proposed subdivision that threatens the land between a First Nations reserve and a neighbouring town. It's a gripping read and it's one of my favourite local books.

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