Filmmaker, playwright and author Mark Leiren-Young's quirky book about his misadventures as a rookie reporter working in the B.C. interior has snagged the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.
Organizers of the annual humour-writing prize announced Leiren-Young the award's 2009 winner for his book, Never Shoot a Stampede Queen: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo at the Stephen Leacock Memorial Museum in Orillia, Ont., on Thursday.
Leiren-Young's debut book is a memoir of his time as a young reporter in Williams Lake, B.C.
"Not only does the author recount his encounters with the police, loggers, the fire department, fellow workers and, yes, beauty contest aspirants for the local rodeo, but he tells his story with both humour and compassion. As his readers will find out, it is a wonderfully amusing story," organizers said in a statement.
The Vancouver-based writer is the first Leacock winner to receive the increased cash prize of $15,000 (raised from $10,000 earlier this year). He will receive the actual Leacock medal and his cheque at a gala near Orillia on June 13.
Also for the first time, the other finalists — William Deverell (Kill All the Judges), Sheree Fitch (Kiss the Joy as it Flies), Jack MacLeod (Uproar) and Charles Wilkins (In the Land of the Long Fingernails) — will receive $1,500 each.
One of Canada's oldest literary honours, the Leacock Medal was established in memory of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town author Stephen Leacock and to celebrate excellence in contemporary humour-writing. Past winners have included Mordecai Richler, Farley Mowat and Roch Carrier.