Sept. 5, 2019
For Immediate Release
Waterloo – Three outstanding books have been shortlisted for the 2019 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. The $10,000 award, administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance.
“The books on this year's shortlist are all quite different,” said Bruce Gillespie, an award juror and professor in Laurier’s Digital Media and Journalism program. “But what they share is the ability to transport readers so deeply into the worlds they describe, whether that is the exterior world of a bicycle trek through some of the planet's most unforgiving environments or the interior worlds of men in the grip of violent urges or a woman trying to reconcile with her traumatic past. They are all engrossing, illuminating reads that will keep you glued to the page and linger in your mind long after after you've finished them.”
The books on the 2019 shortlist, listed alphabetically by author surname, are:
Mad Blood Stirring, by Daemon Fairless (Penguin Random House Canada)
Mad Blood Stirring is an unsettling but propulsive investigation into the roots of male violence. Daemon Fairless seeks to discover the influence of nature versus nurture, juxtaposing discussions of neuroscience and genetics with the personal stories of killers, rapists and mixed martial artists, and their reflections on the role violence plays in their lives. He frames his research with a raw and revealing personal narrative about his own life-long violent urges, played out at home, in boxing rings and on the street, that is both compelling and haunting.
Lands of Lost Borders, by Kate Harris (Knopf Canada and HarperCollins)
In Lands of Lost Borders, Kate Harris recounts her multi-year adventure with a female friend as they travel through Central Asia, most of the way by bicycle. Harris’s studies in history and science inform her descriptions of their efforts to follow the routes described by her childhood hero, Marco Polo, through the Caucasus Mountains and Tibetan Plateau to the Siachen Glacier. Although there is much hardship and some danger on the journey, Harris’s lively account emphasizes the kindness and hospitality the two friends experienced on their life-changing journey along the Silk Road.
Heart Berries: A Memoir, by Terese Marie Mailhot (Doubleday Canada)
Terese Marie Mailhot’s memoir, Heart Berries, is a series of short essays unrestricted by linear time or place, but which by book’s end encompass her life from childhood in a dysfunctional family on a Salish reserve to becoming a successful writer and academic. Taught to know and value her Indigenous culture, Mailhot’s important, poetic and profoundly moving memoir goes beyond the story of her own struggles to show how, with effort, patience and love, her culture and the settler culture in which she chooses to live can learn to co-exist.
The winner of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction will be announced later this month.
Established and endowed by writer and award-winning journalist Edna Staebler in 1991, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award.
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