Books

Guy Vanderhaeghe, Louise B. Halfe, Lisa Bird-Wilson & Dawn Dumont nominated for 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards

The annual awards recognize the best writing and publishing in Saskatchewan. The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on June 23.
From left: Guy Vanderhaeghe, Louise B. Halfe, Lisa Bird-Wilson and Dawn Dumont are among the finalists for the Saskatchewan Book Awards in 2022. (Grant McConnell, Louise B. Halfe, Harbour Publishing, Thistledown Press)

Guy Vanderhaeghe, Louise B. Halfe, Lisa Bird-Wilson and Dawn Dumont are among the writers shortlisted for the 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards, each receiving multiple nominations in various categories this year.

Award-winning poet Halfe (whose Cree name is Sky Dancer), currently serving as Canada's ninth parliamentary poet laureate and who was the first Indigenous poet laureate of Saskatchewan, is among the leading nominees. She is recognized in four categories for her poetry collection awâsis – kinky and disheveled, which draws on a gender-fluid trickster character from traditional Cree stories for a raucous and rebellious look at the realities of colonialism, racism, religion and residential schools.

Vanderhaeghe is nominated in two categories for August Into Winter, the first novel in nearly a decade from the Governor General's Award-winning author. An epic story of crime and retribution set in 1939 as the world is on the brink of global war, the novel follows narcissistic Ernie Sickert, whose act of violence sets in motion a course of events that reverberates for years to come.

Bird-Wilson, a Métis and nêhiyaw writer whose 2013 debut short story collection Just Pretending previously won four Saskatchewan Book Awards, is nominated in three categories for her novel Probably Ruby. It traces an adopted woman's search for her Indigenous identity after her tumultuous early life leads her to try to find out who she really is.

Saskatoon author, columnist and comedian Dumont's novel The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour, a comic novel loosely based on a group of traditional dancers who toured Europe in the 1970s, is nominated in two categories.

Benjamin Hoy, an associate professor of history at University of Saskatchewan, is tied with Halfe for the most nominations this year, recognized in four categories for his nonfiction book A Line of Blood and Dirt: Creating the Canada-United States Border Across Indigenous Lands, which examines the creation and enforcement of the Canada-U.S. border from 1775 until 1939.

"Once again, we are very proud of this year's nominees, which reflect the diversity of our authors and publishers," Saskatchewan Book Awards executive director Kam Teo said.

The winners will be announced at a virtual ceremony on June 23.

The complete shortlist is below.

The Regina Public Library Book of the Year Award is a $3,000 award that recognizes the best overall book, in any genre. 

The finalists are:

The Ministry of Parks, Culture and Sport First Book Award is a $2,000 prize that recognizes the best debut book in any genre.

The finalists are:

  • 20.12 m: A Short Story Collection of a Life Lived as a Road Allowance Métis by Arnolda
  • Dufour Bowes
  • A Line of Blood and Dirt: Creating the Canada-United States Border Across Indigenous Lands by Benjamin Hoy
  • handwringers by Sarah Mintz
  • Iskotew Iskwew: Poetry of a Northern Rez Girl by Francine Merasty
  • Only If We're Caught by Theressa Slind

The University of Saskatchewan President's Office Nonfiction Award is a $2,000 award that recognizes the best nonfiction book of the year.

The finalists are:

  • Indigenous Women & Street Gangs: Survivance Narratives by Amber, Bev,
  • Chantel, Jazmyne, Faith, Jorgina, and Robert Henry
  • Crossroads: My Story of Tragedy and Resilience as a Humboldt Bronco by Kaleb Dahlgren
  • A Line of Blood and Dirt: Creating the Canada-United States Border Across Indigenous Lands by Benjamin Hoy
  • Daughters of Aataentsic: Life Stories from Seven Generations by Kathryn Magee Labelle
  • Bread & Water by dee Hobsbawn Smith

The SK Arts Poetry Award is a $2,000 poetry award that recognizes the best book of poetry.

The finalists are:

The University of Regina Faculty of Arts/University of Saskatchewan College of Arts and Science Jennifer Welsh Scholarly Writing Award is a $2,000 award that recognizes the best academic book.

The finalists are:

  • Collective care: Indigenous Motherhood, Family, and HIV/AIDS by Pamela J. Downe
  • A Line of Blood and Dirt: Creating the Canada-United States Border across Indigenous Lands by Benjamin Hoy
  • Daughters of Aataentsic: Life Stories from Seven Generations by Kathryn Magee Labelle
  • Cowboy Presidents: The Frontier Myth and U.S. Politics Since 1900 by David A. Smith
  • Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship by Allyson D. Stevenson

The City of Saskatoon/Saskatoon Public Library Saskatoon Award is a $2,000 prize that recognizes the best book in any genre by a writer from Saskatoon.

The finalists are:

The City of Regina Award is a $2,000 award that recognizes the best book of any genre by a writer from Regina.

The finalists are:

  • Wreck: a very anxious memoir by Kelley Jo Burke
  • Saltus by Tara Gereaux
  • A Natural History of Unnatural Things by Zachari Logan
  • Little Housewolf by Medrie Purdham
  • The "Mr. Big" Sting: The Cases, The Killers, The Controversial Confessions by Mark Stobbe

The Rasmussen & Co. Indigenous Peoples' Writing Award is a $2,000 prize for the best book written by an Indigenous writer from Saskatchewan.

The finalists are:

The G. Murray and Edna Forbes Foundation Children's Award is a $2,000 award that recognizes the best book for young people. It alternates each year between books or readers 10 and under and books for readers aged 11-18. In 2022, the award is recognizing books for readers 10 and under.

The finalists are:

  • The Girl with the Cat by Beverley Brenna, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
  • Road Allowance Kitten: Broken Promises by Wilfred Burton, illustrated by Christina Johns
  • Adventures on the Circle Star Ranch by Jackie Cameron, illustrated by Wendi Nordell
  • The 1-Dogpower Garden Team by Alison Lohans, illustrated by Gretchen Ehrsam
  • Nyla's New Shoes by Caitlin Nickel, illustrated by Vivien Sarkany

The Fiction Award is a $2,000 prize that recognizes the best work of fiction.

The finalists are:

The Creative Saskatchewan Publishing Award is a $2,000 prize that is given to a publisher who published the best book. The award is determined by "literary or artistic value, the quality of editing, book design, production and content."

The finalists are:

  • University of Regina Press for publishing #BlackinSchool by Habiba Cooper Diallo
  • Radiant Press for publishing handwringers by Sarah Mintz
  • University of Regina Press for publishing Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Absalom Halkett, by Michael Nest with Deanna Reder and Eric Bell
  • University of Regina Press for publishing Châhkâpâs: A Naskapi Legend, by John Peastitude; edited by Marguerite MacKenzie; translated by Julie Brittain and Silas Nabinicaboo
  • University of Regina Press for publishing Red Obsidian by Stephan Torre

The SaskBooks Publishing in Education Award is a $2,000 award for the publisher of the best educational book or resource.

The finalists are:

  • University of Regina Press for Mācī-Anihināpēmowin / Beginning Saulteaux by L. Lynn Cote & Margaret R. Cote
  • University of Regina Press for #BlackInSchool by Habiba Cooper Diallo
  • University of Regina Press for Carrying the Burden of Peace: Reimagining Indigenous Masculinities Through Story by Sam McKegney
  • University of Regina Press for Châhkâpâs: A Naskapi Legend by John Peastitute, edited by Marguerite MacKenzie, and translated by Julie Brittain & Silas Nabinicaboo

The Saskatoon Public Library Indigenous Peoples' Publishing Award is a $2,000 award for the publisher of the best book written by an Indigenous publisher or published by an Indigenous press.

The finalists are:

  • GDI Press for 20.12 m: A Short Story Collection of a Life as a Road Allowance Métis by Arnolda Dufour Bowes
  • A Wood Dragon Book for Finding Izzy by Sheryl Doherty
  • Radiant Press for Kitotam by John McDonald
  • MacKenzie Art Gallery/Musée d'Art MacKenzie for The Sioux Project – Tatanka Oyate edited by Dana Claxton
  • University of Regina Press for Gather: On the Joy of Storytelling by Richard Van Camp

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