Shortlist for the Edna Staebler 2018 Award announced

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Photo by Eva Ou

Earlier this month, Wilfrid Laurier University released the shortlist for the 2018 Edna Staebler Award for creative non-fiction. The award, established by the award-winning journalist, writer and philanthropist Edna Staebler herself, has been presented annually by Laurier since 1991.

The award, being the only award of its unique genre in Canada, is presented to a Canadian writer of a first or second published novel who has retold a true story with Canadian context or setting, as well as a strong, compelling, literary construction.

This year’s shortlist was compiled from 62 overall submissions that were then reduced to the long list of fourteen submissions, then finally to the shortlist of three nominees.

Once the winner has been announced by the university the author will be invited to campus to perform a reading of their book. Laurier will also host an award ceremony as well as a private dinner.

“Those 14 are submitted to three judges. Those three judges are Anne Russell, an associate professor in English and Film Studies, Sharon Brown, a librarian Emerius, and Bruce Gillespie, an associate professor of Digital Media and Journalism. And those three judges select the shortlist and the winner,” said Richard Nemesvari, Dean of the Faculty of Arts at Wilfrid Laurier University.

“It’s a funnel process.”

The genre of creative non-fiction, specifically novels that are eligible to be presented with the Edna Staebler Award, require the author to tell a factual story with devices of fiction such as original research, dialogue, the depiction of personal discovery or experience and a creative, interpretative approach to the subject.

The three submissions that have been selected for this year’s Edna Staebler Award are as follows: Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood by Pauline Dakin, Life on the Ground Floor: Letters From the Edge of Emergency Medicine by James Maskalyk and A History of Canada in Ten Maps: Epic Stories of Charting a New Land by Adam Shoalts.

This year’s Edna Staebler Award winner will be announced during the third week of September; however, the winner has already been decided by the three jurors.

“The winner receives $10,000, which is one the larger literary awards in the country — certainly it’s the largest for creative non-fiction,” Nemesvari said.

Once the winner has been announced by the university the author will be invited to campus to perform a reading of their book. Laurier will also host an award ceremony as well as a private dinner.

The winning author’s reading, which does not have a confirmed date as of yet but will take place sometime in October, will be open to the public for viewing and will also be announced sometime within the next couple of weeks.

Synopses of the three books on this year’s shortlist have been published on Laurier’s website, as well as a complete list of previous winners.

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