Books

Mark Critch, Dawn Dumont and Rick Mercer named finalists for $25K Leacock Medal for Humour

Presented by the Stephen Leacock Associates, the award annually recognizes the best in Canadian humorous writing.
Rick Mercer, Dawn Dumont and Mark Critch are on the shortlist for the 2022 Leacock Medal for Humour. (Jon Sturge, Thistledown Press, CBC)

UPDATE: On Aug. 5, 2022, it was announced that Dawn Dumont (also known as Dawn Walker) and her seven-year-old son, Vincent Jansen, were located alive in Oregon after illegally entering the U.S., according to police. They had been reported missing on July 22, 2022. Saskatoon police are still asking anyone with information related to this investigation to call their local police detachment or Crime Stoppers. For more information, click here.

Canada's award for literary humour, the Stephen Leacock Medal, has announced its 2022 shortlist. 

The medal will be awarded to one of the three finalists — Mark Critch, Dawn Dumont and Rick Mercer. The winner will receive a $25,000 prize.

The three finalists were chosen from a 10-title longlist. 78 titles were up for consideration this year. 

Presented by the Stephen Leacock Associates, the award annually recognizes the best in Canadian humorous writing. The organization acknowledged the news that Saskatchewan-based finalist Dumont (also known as Dawn Walker) and her son had been missing and were last seen on July 22.

"While the Leacock Associates are happy and proud to include Dawn Dumont as one of the finalists for the Leacock Medal in 2022, we are extremely concerned for the current safety of Ms. Dumont, who also goes by the name Dawn Walker. She and her son Vincent have been missing in Saskatchewan since July 22. Saskatoon police and the RCMP continue their ongoing investigation," the organization said in a statement.

Critch is nominated for his memoir An Embarrassment of Critch's.

In An Embarrassment of Critch's, Critch revisits some of his career's — and the country's — biggest moments, revealing all the things you might not know happened along the way.

Critch is a Canadian comedian. For 14 years, he starred on CBC's flagship comedy series This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He has also hosted the Halifax Comedy Festival and has written for and appeared at the Just for Laughs comedy festival. He is also the author of the earlier memoir Son of a Critch, which was adapted into a series for CBC Television.

Dumont is a finalist for her novel The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour.

The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour draws loosely from the true story of a group of Indigenous dancers who left Saskatchewan and toured through Europe in the 1970s. Weaving a comedic thread through an interesting cast of characters, Dumont brings her signature wit to this series of odd and amusing adventures. The novel was also nominated for a 2022 Saskatchewan Book Award.

Dumont is a Plains Cree writer, comedian and actor who lives in Saskatoon. She is the author of Rose's Run, Glass Beads and Nobody Cries at Bingo, which was shortlisted for the 2012 Alberta Readers Choice Awards, Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Award and First Nation Communities READ Award.

The third finalist is Mercer's memoir Talking to Canadians

In the book, Mercer charts his rise from highly unpromising schoolboy to the heights of TV fame. In a memoir that's vulnerable, candid and comedic, Talking to Canadians reflects on Mercer's life and career.

Mercer rose to fame with his one-man show Show Me the Button I'll Push It, or Charles Lynch Must Die that toured across Canada before co-creating and starring on CBC's long-running series This Hour Has 22 Minutes. He was also the host of The Rick Mercer Report for 15 seasons. 

"Books selected for the Stephen Leacock medal must be not only humorous but also well-written, showing style and depth. The three finalists this year meet those criteria without question," said Leacock Associates president Michael Hill.

"Our panel of judges has selected three outstanding books from 78 entries. It will be exciting to see which one was determined to be the most humorous of the year."

The winner will be announced on Sept. 17, 2022.

The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, an annual literary prize given to the year's funniest Canadian book, increased the grand prize amount from $15,000 to $25,000 in 2022.

The announcement will take place at a gala dinner where the shortlisted authors from 2020 and 2021 will also be in attendance after prior celebrations were delayed due to the pandemic. 

2022 marks the prize's 75th anniversary. The award has been given out since 1947. 

Thomas King won the 2021 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for his novel Indians on Vacation.

Past winners include Heidi L.M Jacobs, Robertson Davies, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, Paul Quarrington, Mordecai Richler, Stuart McLean, Terry Fallis, Susan Juby and Cassie Stocks.

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