Cassandra Blanchard, Tracey Waddleton & Michael Blouin win 2020 ReLit Awards

The ReLit Awards honour the best Canadian books published by independent presses.

The ReLit Awards honour the best Canadian books published by independent presses

Books by Cassandra Blanchard, Tracey Waddleton and Michael Blouin won the 2020 ReLit Awards. (Nightwood Editions, Breakwater Books, Anvil Press)

Cassandra Blanchard, Tracey Waddleton and Michael Blouin are the winners of the 2020 ReLit Awards.

The ReLit Awards honour the best Canadian books published by independent presses.

There are three categories: novel, short fiction and poetry. The prize is known for releasing long shortlists.

Cassandra Blanchard won the poetry category for Fresh Pack of Smokes.

Blanchard's first book of poetry, Fresh Pack of Smokes, offers insight into Vancouver's Downtown Eastside and the transient life she once knew as a drug addict. She writes about the overlooked, misunderstood periphery of urban society — violence, drug use and sex work.

Born in Whitehorse and now based in Duncan, B.C., Blanchard spent many years in Vancouver and studied gender, race, sexuality and social justice at the University of British Columbia.

Tracey Waddleton won the short fiction category for Send More Tourists...the Last Ones Were Delicious.

Send More Tourists...the Last Ones Were Delicious explores the human response to the weight of social expectations. Waddleton's stories of survival transcend geographical, gender and generational boundaries. 

Waddleton is a Newfoundland writer living in Montreal. Her recent short story, Spud Life, made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist. Waddleton was a recipient of the 2015 Lawrence Jackson Writers' Award.

Michael Bloiun won the novel category for Skin House.

A story within a story, Skin House is about two guys who end up in the same bar they started in — or not. The story is told with humour but also deals with loss and grief.

Blouin is a writer from Ontario. He previously won the ReLit Award in 2009 for his debut novel Chase and Haven. 

The prize was first founded in 2000 by Newfoundland filmmaker and author Kenneth J. Harvey. The year 2017 marked the last year the prizes were previously awarded.

The ReLit Awards are now being managed by Harvey's daughter, Katherine Alexandra Harvey. 

To bring the awards up to date, the prizes announced the shortlists and winners for 2018-2021 in April. The 2020 winners marks the final prize announcement, bringing the awards up to date.

Past winners include Bill Gaston, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Lisa Moore, Ivan Coyote, Megan Gail Coles and Suzette Mayr.

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