Books

Colleen Nelson, Arnolda Dufour Bowes and Louise Bernice Halfe among finalists for 2022 High Plains Book Awards

Colleen Nelson, Arnolda Dufour Bowes and Louise Bernice Halfe are among 13 Canadians nominated for the High Plains Book Awards.

The awards recognize excellent writing from the High Plains region in North America.

Louise Bernice Halfe, left, Colleen Nelson, centre, and Arnolda Dufour Bowes, right, are finalists for the 2022 High Plains Book Awards. (Pajama Press, Gabriela Dumont Institute Press and Kimball V. Regier)

Colleen Nelson, Arnolda Dufour Bowes and Louise Bernice Halfe are among 13 Canadians nominated for the 2022 High Plains Book Awards.

Founded in 2006, the High Plains Book Awards recognize excellent writing from the High Plains region in North America. The award program recognizes books in 12 categories, including fiction, nonfiction, photography and children's books.

The High Plains are comprised of the Canadian provinces Alberta, Saskatchewan and Manitoba and the United States of Montana, Wyoming, Colorado, North Dakota, South Dakota, Nebraska and Kansas.

A record 293 titles were nominated in 2022. The winners will be announced on Oct. 8 in Billings, Mont.

Nelson is nominated twice, once in the Children's Book category for her book The Undercover Book List and once for The Life and Deaths of Frankie D. in the Young Adult Award category. 

In The Undercover Book List, Nelson tells the fictional story of Jane MacDonald, a seventh-grader who feels lonely after her best friend Sienna moves to the other side of the country and her father is posted overseas. Jane soon realizes Sienna has left her with one last trick: a hidden message in a library book. 

In The Life and Deaths of Frankie D., Frankie, found in an alley when she was a child, has no memory of who she is or why she was left there. Frankie is haunted by connected dreams involving a 100-year-old carnival sideshow, a performer known as Alligator Girl, and a man named Monsieur Duval.

Colleen Nelson is a YA author based in Winnipeg. Her other books include the award-winning Harvey Comes Home, Pulse Point, Spin, Blood Brothers and Finding Hope.

Dufour Bowes is nominated for her short story collection 20.12m in the Indigenous Writer category. 

20.12m: A Short Story Collection of a Life Lived as a Road Allowance Métis celebrates and acknowledges the humble living conditions of Métis Road Allowance families and it exemplifies their grit and tenacity to survive in the face of hardship.

Arnolda Dufour Bowes is a Métis author originally from Saskatoon who studied creative writing with Guy Vanderhaeghe at the University of Saskatchewan. The book 20.12m won the 2022 Danuta Gleed Literary Award and was also a finalist for the 2022 finalist for the Saskatchewan Book Awards.

Opening with a joyful and intimate introduction from Elder Maria Campbell, awâsis - kinky and dishevelled features themes of Indigenous resurgence, resistance and laughter. 

Louise Bernice Halfe, whose Cree name is Sky Dancer, is Canada's ninth Parliamentary Poet Laureate and served as the first Indigenous Poet Laureate of Saskatchewan. She was born in Two Hills, Alta., was raised on the Saddle Lake First Nation and attended Blue Quills Residential School. 

Halfe's poetry collections also include Bear Bones & FeathersBlue MarrowThe Crooked Good and Burning in this Midnight Dream.

The shortlisted Canadian titles are:

Children's Book

Creative Nonfiction

  • We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing by Jillian Horton 

First Book

Indigenous Writer

Medicine & Science

  • We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing by Jillian Horton
  • The Scenic Geology of Alberta: A Roadside Touring and Hiking Guide by Dale Leckie 

Nonfiction

  • We Are All Perfectly Fine: A Memoir of Love, Medicine and Healing by Jillian Horton 

Poetry

Woman Writer

  • Ancestors: Indigenous Peoples of Western Canada in Historic Photographs by Sarah Carter and Inez Lightning

Young Adult

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