Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
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Finalists announced for 2011 BMO Winterset Award


March 6, 2012, St. John’s, NL – The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (NLAC) is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2011 BMO Winterset Award are Edward Riche, Don McKay, and Mark Callanan. The award celebrates excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing. The winner will be announced at Government House on Thursday, March 22nd.

The three finalists are:

  • Edward Riche, Easy to Like, Anansi Press, Toronto, ON
  • Don McKay, The Shell of the Tortoise, Gaspereau Press, Printers & Publishers, Kentville, NS
  • Mark Callanan, Gift Horse, Véhicule Press, Montréal, PQ

The winner will receive a prize of $10,000 and the two finalists will each receive $2,500.

Books in any genre published in 2011 were eligible for the award. A total of 39 works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors (either native-born or resident) were submitted by publishers from across the country. The jury consisted of Noreen Golfman, Kevin Major, and Lisa Moore.

The Winterset Award honours the memory of Sandra Fraser Gwyn, St. John’s-born social historian, prize-winning author, and passionate promoter of Newfoundland and Labrador arts. Her husband, journalist and author Richard Gwyn established the award in 2000. It’s named after the historic house on Winter Avenue in St. John’s where Sandra grew up.

The three finalists will read from their works and answer questions from the audience at a public reading and reception: 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at The Rooms (in the Theatre), 9 Bonaventure Avenue in St. John’s.

Media enquiries:

Joshua Jamieson
Communications Officer
Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council
Phone: (709) 726-2212
Toll free: 1 (866) 726-2212 (NL only)

The NLAC is a non-profit Crown agency created in 1980 by The Arts Council Act. Its mission is to foster and promote the creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The Council is governed by a volunteer board of 13 appointed by government, reflecting regional representation of the province. This includes 10 professional artists who provide sectoral representation of the arts community; one community representative (with an interest in the arts); one business representative (with an interest in the arts); and one representative of the Department of Tourism, Culture and Recreation (non-voting). The NLAC receives an annual contribution of $2.1 million from the Province to support a variety of granting programs, program delivery, office administration, and communications. It also seeks support from the public and private sector. It supports the following artistic disciplines: dance, film, multidiscipline, music, theatre, visual art, and writing.

Backgrounder: About the 2011 BMO Winterset Award finalists

Edward Riche, an award-winning writer for page, stage, and screen, was born in Botwood, on the Bay of Exploits on the northeast coast of Newfoundland. His first novel Rare Birds, was adapted into a major motion picture starting William Hurt and Molly Parker. The Nine Planets, his second novel, was a Globe and Mail Best Book of 2004 and won the Thomas Head Raddall Best Novel Award and the 2004 Winterset Award. Edward Riche lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Don McKay is a poet, teacher and editor. He has published about a dozen books in a career that spans four decades. He has twice won the Governor General’s Literary Awards for poetry and the Griffin Poetry Prize for Strike/Slip in 2007. His previous essay collections include the GG-shortlisted Vis à Vis: Field Notes on Poetry & Wilderness and Deactivated West 100. McKay lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.

Mark Callanan is the author of Scarecrow, a critically-acclaimed first book of poems, and Sea Legend, shortlisted for the bpNichol Chapbook Poetry Award. Gift Horse, his second full-length collection of poetry, was largely written following a near-fatal medical emergency in 2007. The poems offer up the story of a young man whose gratitude at being alive is undercut by Lazarus-like confusion and ambivalence. His poetry has appeared in several anthologies, including Breathing Fire 2: Canada’s New Poets. He lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador.