Dionne Brand, Doreen Vanderstoop among winners of Alberta Book Publishing Awards

The Alberta Book Publishing Awards annually celebrate the province's best books of the year across 13 categories — including two new categories introduced this year.
Dionne Brand (left) and Doreen Vanderstoop are among the winners of the 2021 Alberta Book Publishing Awards. (Jason Chow, Doreen Vanderstoop)

Dionne Brand and Doreen Vanderstoop are among the winners of the 2021 Alberta Book Publishing Awards, which annually celebrate the province's best books of the year across 13 categories.

Brand won the Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year category for An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading. 

An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading reflects on colonial literature and racist tropes Brand encountered during her early readings. She explores how reading and writing are shaped by existing narrative structures, as well as the challenges of creating an independent, conscious narrative of Black life. 

Brand is a Trinidad-born Canadian poet and novelist. The Ontario-based author won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry and the Trillium Book Award for her 1997 collection Land to Light On, the 2011 Griffin Poetry Prize for Ossuaries, and the 2019 Toronto Book Award for her novel Theory

"I was curious about what literature might do to describe my own life and the lives of people who were like me. I understood its power because literature is such a seductive enterprise. Narrative is so seductive," Brand told CBC Books in a 2019 interview.

Watershed by Vanderstoop won the Trade Fiction Book of the Year category.

Watershed is a novel that explores the effects of climate change on one ordinary family in Alberta, where water is now the most precious resource. Willa is stunned when her son, Daniel, goes to work for the water corporation that is putting the farm out of business. Is there a way to repair the fractures of her family after the string of betrayals? 

Vanderstoop is a musician and writer based in Alberta. Watershed is her first book.

The 2021 Alberta Book Publishing Awards this year introduced two new award categories — Graphic Novel of the Year and Regional Book of the Year.

You can find the full list of winners below.

  • Learning Book of the Year: The Educational Assistant's Guide to Supporting Inclusion in a Diverse Society by Carol Massing
  • Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year: An Autobiography of the Autobiography of Reading by Dionne Brand
  • Speculative Fiction Book of the Year: In Veritas by C.J. Lavigne
  • Robert Kroetsch Award for Poetry: Nautilus and Bone by Lisa Richter
  • Graphic Novel of the Year: Awkward Pause by Ryan Harby
  • Children's & Young Adult Book of the Year: Howdy, I'm John Ware by Ayesha Clough and Hugh Rookwood
  • Scholarly and Academic Book of the Year: Our Whole Gwich'in Way of Life Has Changed / Gwich'in K'yuu Gwiidandài' Tthak Ejuk Gòonlih: Stories from the People of the Land by Leslie McCartney and Gwich'in Tribal Council
  • Trade Fiction Book of the Year: Watershed by Doreen Vanderstoop 
  • Regional Book of the Year: Borderlands by Mark Vitaris
  • Book Cover Design: The End of Me by John Gould, book cover design by Natalie Olsen
  • Book Illustration: A Brush With Depth by Rick Sealock
  • Book Design: ​​If Sylvie Had Nine Lives by Leona Theis, designed by Natalie Olsen
  • Lois Hole Award for Editorial Excellence: One Madder Woman by Dede Crane, edited by Deborah Willis

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