Doug Wright Awards announce a new award category for kids books for 2020

The literary awards annually celebrate Canadian comic book and graphic novel creators. The new category, the Egghead, is for the best book for kids aged 12 and under.
The 2018 Doug Wright Award winners (from left): Sami Alwani, Jesse Jacobs and Jenn Woodall. The annual literary awards celebrate Canadian comic book and graphic novel creators. (Jane van Koeverden/CBC)

The Doug Wright Awards, which annually celebrate Canadian comic creators, has announced a new award category and a few criteria changes for 2020. 

The new category, the Egghead, is for the best book for kids aged 12 and under.

According to Conan Tobias, executive director for the Doug Wright Award, the category was created in response to community demand. 

"People have been asking us to add a kids' category for a while. We've always accepted kids' books in the best book category, but many people felt kids' books were unique enough and a big enough category that they deserved their own award, and we agreed," Tobias told CBC Books in an email.

"Egghead was Doug Wright's original, unused name for his signature character, Nipper. So since we already had an award called the Nipper, we figured Egghead was a good (and kind of funny) name for the new kids' award," he added.

Changes to this year's Doug Wright Awards also include a new online submission portal and updated criteria for the Nipper and Pigskin awards.

The awards are named after the late Ontario-based cartoonist Douglas Austin Wright. Wright wrote the weekly comic strip Doug Wright's Family which ran from 1949 to 1980.

A day in the life of Doug Wright, the cartoonist behind one of the longest-running Canadian comic strips in history: Doug Wright's Family. 12:01

Submissions for the 2020 Doug Wright Awards opened on Jan. 7. 

Canadian English-language books published Jan. 1 to Dec. 31, 2019 in which illustrations are integral to the story are eligible.

The award categories get anywhere from 20 to 40 entries, a number that the organization says it aims to boost this year with the new submission process.

"Taking submissions online is just the way most awards work now. It makes things a lot easier," Tobias said.

In addition to the Egghead, the submission categories include the Doug Wright Award for best book, which recognizes a book of any size for adults, young adults (ages 13–17) or young readers (ages 0–12),; the Spotlight Award, which goes to a comic artist deserving of greater recognition; and the Pigskin Peters Award, which recognizes a Canadian avant-garde comic.

The Nipper reverts back to its original mandate as the Doug Wright Award for emerging talent, while the Pigskin shifts focus to annually award the best small or micro-press book.

The award winners will be announced at the 2020 Toronto Comic Arts Festival (TCAF) on May 9 and 10.

Past Doug Wright Award winners include Hartley Lin, Kate Beaton, Michael DeForge, Jillian Tamaki and Mariko Tamaki.



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