Newfoundland and Labrador has long been lauded for its vibrant literary scene. Storytelling seems to be woven into the very fabric of who we are as a people, with many communities boasting a rich storytelling tradition, whether it takes place on the page, stage or around kitchens and campfires.
Many a wordsmith has made a name for themselves here, and their talents and efforts have not gone unnoticed further afield. For 22 years now, the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards (NLBAs) have been paying tribute to their work and dedication to the craft.
Administered by the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador (WANL), the NLBAs celebrate and honour excellence in writing by Newfoundland and Labrador authors. They are held each year in biennial pairings, alternating between the fiction and children’s/young adult and non-fiction and poetry categories.
The winners of this year’s awards were announced on September 5 during a ceremony at Government House in St. John’s. Joel Thomas Hynes was crowned winner of the fiction award (sponsored by Killick Capital) for his novel “We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night,” while Sheilah Lukins won the children’s/young adult prize (sponsored by the Bruneau family) for her novel “Full Speed Ahead: Errol’s Bell Island Adventure.” Each winner took home $1,500 while the finalists (Bridget Canning, Mary Walsh, Lori Doody and Rebecca North) received $500.
Of course, awards such as these are not possible without the generosity of others – and here in this province, that support comes in spades.
“We had about 60 submissions to this year’s Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards — a great participation rate. It sends a strong message about how important these and other literary awards are to the province’s writing community,” says Kelley Power, Chair of the Literary Awards Committee and Vice President of the WANL Board of Directors.
“Sponsors like the Bruneau Family and Killick Capital, who were the exclusive sponsors of the 2018 awards for children’s/young adult and fiction, respectively, are essential. Their support enables us not only to offer the awards in the first place, but also promote the shortlisted and winning works to a broad audience across the province — and beyond, through social media — to raise awareness of the incredible stories our authors are telling about Newfoundland and Labrador.”