Books

Jean Teillet & Jenny Heijun Wills among winners of the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards

The annual provincial awards recognize the best in writing, book design, publishing and illustration.
Jean Teillet (left) and Jenny Heijun Wills were among the winners of the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards. (Ed Henderson, McClelland & Stewart)

Jean Teillet and Jenny Heijun Wills are among the winners of the 2020 Manitoba Book Awards, 11 separate awards that recognize the best in Manitoba writing, book design, publishing and illustration.

Teillet's The North-West Is Our Mother won the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award.

The book chronicles the history of the Métis nation, from the early 1800s until the late 19th-century, Riel led a resistance to reclaim the land stolen from them, all the way to the present day as they fight for reconciliation and decolonization.

Wills has won the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book for her memoir Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related.. 

In Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related., Wills, who was born in Korea, adopted by a Canadian family and raised in a small town, shares her journey of travelling back to her birth country in her early 20s to meet her extended biological family and other young people with similar stories. The book explores the impact of being raised by a family of a different ethnicity and culture.

Wills also won the 2019 Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Award for Nonfiction.

Also among the winners is the Indigenous comics collection This Place, which won the Mary Scorer Award for best book by a Manitoba publisher and the McNally Robinson Book of the Year.

The anthology of comics, edited and published by HighWater Press, an imprint of Portage & Main Press, features the work of Indigenous creators as they retell the history of Canada. 

This Place incorporates elements of fantasy and magical realism to tell the stories of characters like Jack Fiddler, an Anishinaabe shaman facing murder charges, and Rosie, an Inuk girl growing up during the Second World War.

You can see the full list of winners below.

  • Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction: Friends, Foes, and Furs: George Nelson's Lake Winnipeg Journals, 1804–1822, edited by Harry W. Duckworth
  • Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award: The North-West Is Our Mother by Jean Teillet
  • Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book: Older Sister. Not Necessarily Related. by Jenny Heijun Wills
  • John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Manitoba Writer: Lauren Carter
  • Lansdowne Prize for Poetry: St. Boniface Elegies by Catherine Hunter
  • Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Awards for book design: ROMANS/SNOWMARE by Cam Scott, cover and interior design by LOKI
  • Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Awards for Children's Illustration:The Grizzly Mother (Book Two, Mothers of Xsan) by Hetxw'ms Gyetxw (Brett D. Huson), illustrations and cover art by Natasha Donovan, cover and interior design by Relish New Brand Experience
  • Manuela Dias Design and Illustration Awards for General Illustration: Portraits of the Far North by Gerald Kuehl, art by Gerald Kuehl, design by Dave Maddocks
  • Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction:This Has Nothing to Do with You by Lauren Carter
  • Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher: This Place: 150 Years Retold
  • McNally Robinson Book of the Year: This Place: 150 Years Retold
  • McNally Robinson Book for Young People: Younger Category: The Promise Basket by Bill Richardson, illustrated by Slavka Kolesar
  • Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction: Operation Stealth Seed by George Amabile

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