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Finalists announced for 2017 BMO Winterset Award


February 21, 2018 (St. John's, NL) – ArtsNL is pleased to announce the finalists for the 2017 BMO Winterset Award are Bridget Canning, Joel Thomas Hynes, and Wayne Johnston. The award celebrates excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing. The winner will be announced at Government House on Thursday, March 22, 2018.

The three finalists are:

  • Bridget Canning, for: The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes (Breakwater Books), St. John’s, NL
  • Joel Thomas Hynes, for: We’ll All Be Burnt In Our Beds Some Night (Harper Perennial; imprint of HarperCollins Publishers Ltd.), Toronto, ON
  • Wayne Johnston, for: First Snow, Last Light (Alfred A. Knopf Canada; imprint of Penguin Random House Ltd.), Toronto, ON

The winner will receive a prize of $12,500 and the two finalists will each receive $3,000.

Books in any genre published in 2017 were eligible for the award. A total of 31 works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors (either native-born or resident) were submitted by publishers from across the country.

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, which is managed by ArtsNL. It’s named after the historic house on Winter Avenue in St. John’s where Sandra grew up.

Finalists will read from their works and answer questions from the audience at a public reading and reception: 7 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, 2018 at The Rooms (in the Theatre), 9 Bonaventure Avenue in St. John’s.

Media Contact:
Joshua Jamieson
Communications Officer, ArtsNL
Phone: (709) 726-2212 ext. 203
Mobile: (709) 746-6531
Toll free: 1 (866) 726-2212 (NL only)

The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (now known as ArtsNL) 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, Industry, and Innovation (non-voting). ArtsNL receives an annual grant of $1.9 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 2017 BMO Winterset Award Finalists

Bridget Canning is an author and educator living in St. John’s, NL. Bridget earned a B.A. in English and a B. Ed. from Memorial University in 1997 and 2009 respectively. She also holds a Masters of Literary Education from Mount St. Vincent and Bridget is currently working on a Masters in English Literature (Creative Writing) at Memorial. Her writing has won the Cox and Palmer SPARKS Creative Writing Award, the British Columbia Federation of Writers’ Literary Writes competition, a Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters award, and it has been shortlisted for the Cuffer Prize. Her debut novel, The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes, is one of four titles currently selected for #NLReads by the provincial public libraries, and it received an honourable mention for the H. R (Bill) Percy Novel Prize in 2015 under its original title, Impulse. Bridget’s film synopsis, Water from Stones, was selected as one of five winners in the Women in Film and Television’s From Our Dark Side genre film contest, a national competition to promote women’s work in the genre film industry. She is currently participating in their incubator program and developing Water from Stones into a screenplay.

Joel Thomas Hyneswon his first Governor General’s Literary Award in 2017 with We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night, the development of which was supported by an ArtsNL Professional Project Grants Program grant in 2013. The title was also longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and it is one of four titles selected for #NLReads by the provincial public libraries. He’s published numerous books and plays, including the novels Down to the Dirt (2004) which was a finalist for the 2004 BMO Winterset Award, Right Away Monday (2007), and Straight Razor Days (2012). His screen adaptation of his novella Say Nothing Saw Wood (2013) was nominated for four Canadian Screen Awards and won numerous awards on the festival circuit. He’s worked in Canadian film and TV for 20 years, and has written and directed two award-winning short films, Clipper Gold and Little Man. The new comedy series Little Dog created by Joel and featuring him in the lead role, premieres in the winter of 2018 on CBC. Joel Thomas Hynes divides his time between Toronto and St. John’s, NL.

Wayne Johnston was born and raised in Goulds,NL. After a stint in pre-Med, he obtained a BA in English from Memorial University. He worked as a reporter for the St. John's Daily News before devoting himself full-time to writing. En route to being published, Wayne earned an MA (Creative Writing) from the University of New Brunswick. His first book, The Story of Bobby O'Malley, won the WH Smith/Books in Canada First Novel award and subsequent releases consistently received critical praise and increasing public attention. Johnston wrote a film adaptation of his novel The Divine Ryans, which starred Academy Award winner Pete Postlethwaite. His memoir, Baltimore's Mansion was tremendously well received and won the most prestigious prize for creative non-fiction awarded in Canada - the Charles Taylor Prize. Both The Colony of Unrequited Dreams and The Navigator of New York spent extended periods of time on national bestseller lists and have been published in the US, UK, Germany, Holland, China, and Spain. Colony of Unrequited Dreams was named one of the 100 most important Canadian books ever produced (including both fiction and non-fiction) by the Globe and Mail, and it is being developed for television and has been adapted for the stage.