Books

Lisa Bird-Wilson wins book of the year at 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards for her novel Probably Ruby

Lisa Bird-Wilson, Guy Vanderhaeghe and Louise B. Halfe are among the winners of the 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards, which recognize the best books of the year in the province.

The annual awards celebrate excellence in writing and publishing in the province

Lisa Bird-Wilson's first novel Probably Ruby won two 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards. (Doubleday Canada, Julie Cortens)

Writer Lisa Bird-Wilson, novelist Guy Vanderhaeghe and poet Louise B. Halfe are among the winners of the 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards.

The awards are presented annually in recognition of the best books in the province, this year awarding $27,000 across 13 categories ($2,000 for each category with the exception of $3,000 for the Regina Public Library Book of the Year Award).

Bird-Wilson's 2021 novel Probably Ruby won the Regina Public Library Book of the Year Award Honouring Mary Sutherland and the City of Saskatoon/Saskatoon Public Library Saskatoon Award.

Bird-Wilson is a Saskatchewan Métis and nêhiyaw writer whose work has won multiple Saskatchewan Book Awards over the years, including 2014 Book of the Year for her short story collection Just Pretending.

She is the current prose editor for Grain magazine as well as a founding member and chair of the Saskatchewan Aboriginal Writers Circle.

Probably Ruby, Bird-Wilson's first novel, is the story of a girl who is relinquished as an infant, placed in a foster home and finally adopted by a couple who can't afford to complain too loudly about Ruby's Indigenous roots. And so begins Ruby's life-long identity crisis as she finds herself vulnerable and in compromising situations that lead her to search for her Indigenous identity — and grapple with the meaning of the legacy left to her.

Vanderhaeghe won the Fiction Award for August Into Winter, his first novel in nearly a decade. 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.

Vanderhaeghe is a novelist, short story writer and playwright who has won multiple Governor General Literary Awards, including in 1996 for his acclaimed novel The Englishman's Boy, and in 2015 for the short story collection Daddy Lenin and Other Stories.

Halfe (whose Cree name is Sky Dancer) won the Poetry Award for her 2021 collection awâsis  kinky and disheveled. Halfe, currently serving as Canada's parliamentary poet laureate, was born in Two Hills, Alta. and was raised on the Saddle Lake First Nation and attended Blue Quills Residential School.

She earned degrees in social work before going on to earn her doctorate of letters. Her poetry collections include Bear Bones & Feathers, Blue Marrow, The Crooked Good and Burning in this Midnight Dream.

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

The full list of winners includes:

  • First Book Award: Only If We're Caught by Theressa Slind
  • Non-Fiction Award: Bread & Water: Essays by dee Hobsbawn Smith
  • Poetry Award: awâsis — kinky and disheveled by Louise B. Halfe – Sky Dancer
  • Scholarly Writing Award: Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship by Allyson D. Stevenson
  • Saskatoon Award: Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson
  • Regina Award: Little Housewolf by Medrie Purdham
  • Indigenous Peoples' Writing Award: Intimate Integration: A History of the Sixties Scoop and the Colonization of Indigenous Kinship by Allyson D. Stevenson.
  • Children's Award: The Girl with the Cat by Beverley Brenna, illustrated by Brooke Kerrigan
  • Fiction Award: August Into Winter by Guy Vanderhaeghe
  • Book of the Year Award: Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson
  • Publishing Award: University of Regina Press for publishing Cold Case North: The Search for James Brady and Absolom Halkett by Michael Nest with Deanna Reder and Eric Bell
  • Publishing in Education Award: University of Regina Press for Mācī-Anihināpēmowin / Beginning Saulteaux by L. Lynn Cote & Margaret R. Cote
  • Indigenous Peoples' Publishing Award: GDI Press for 20.12 m: A Short Story Collection of a Life as a Road Allowance Métis by Arnolda Dufour Bowes

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