A graphic novel about a boy navigating life after the death of his mother has won the young adult novel award from the Quebec Writers Federation.

Alan Silberberg's Milo: Sticky Notes and Brain Freeze was one of six books by Quebec writers recognized Monday by the QWF at its annual awards ceremony in Montreal.

Montreal-based Silberberg is a screenwriter and graphic artist who also penned the children's book Pond Scum. His win for Milo is a rare recognition of a graphic novel with a literary award. The jury praised Milo for its use of humour to talk about difficult emotions.

"Silberberg makes you chortle with laughter and recognition and then pulls a fast one and has you weeping into your sleeve," the jury said in its citation.

Lebanese-Canadian writer Dimitri Nasrallah won the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for fiction for his second novel, Niko. Nasrallah previously won the QWF best first book award for his debut novel Blackbodying.


Joel Yanofsky's Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism won the non-fiction award. ((Viking Canada))

Niko tells the story of a Lebanese family forced from its home by war and of young Niko's painful attempt to adapt to life in Montreal.

"Written in clear, direct, and startlingly lovely prose… beautifully imagined and told with honesty and grace, Niko is a gripping and deeply compassionate novel," the jury said in its citation.

Joel Yanofsky's memoir of learning to live with an autistic son, Bad Animals: A Father's Accidental Education in Autism, won the Mavis Gallant non-fiction award.

Other QWF winners:

  • Concordia first book award: Ann Scowcroft, The Truth of Houses.
  • A.M. Klein poetry prize:: Gabe Foreman, A Complete Encyclopedia of Different Types of People.
  • Cole Foundation prize for translation: Lazer Lederhendler for Apocalypse for Beginners, a translation of Nicolas Dickner's Tarmac.

Each prize comes with a $2,000 cash award.