Michael Crummey wins $25K prize for best Atlantic Canadian fiction for The Innocents

The Newfoundland writer was among 13 winners announced by the Atlantic Book Awards, which recognize fiction, non-fiction, children's books and poetry.
The Innocents is a novel by Michael Crummey. (Doubleday Canada, Arielle Hogan)

Michael Crummey took home the top prize at the 2020 Atlantic Book Awards.

The awards, managed by the Atlantic Book Awards Society, recognize books from Atlantic Canada including poetry, illustrated children's books, adult fiction and nonfiction.

Crummey won the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award for his novel The Innocents. The $25,000 prize recognizes the best work of fiction by an Atlantic Canadian writer.

In The Innocents, a young brother and sister live in isolation in Newfoundland, surviving alone on the bits of knowledge their parents left behind. Their loyalty to one another is the reason they are able to persist through storms and illness, but their relationship is tested as they grow older.

The Innocents was shortlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prizethe 2019 Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction.

Crummey is a poet and novelist from Newfoundland and Labrador. His other books include the novels Sweetland and Galore and the poetry collection Little Dogs.

Michael Crummey talks to Shelagh Rogers on location about his 2019 Giller nominated book, The Innocents.

Ami McKay won two awards for her memoir Daughter of Family G: the $2,000 Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award, which recognizes a work of nonfiction by a Nova Scotian writer, and the $2,500 Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award for non-fiction, which recognizes books that "have contributed the most to the enjoyment and understanding of Nova Scotia and its people." 

Daughter of Family G is about McKay's family's history of dying early, thanks to a a genetic disorder called Lynch syndrome and how they contributed to the longest and most detailed cancer genealogy study ever.

McKay is a novelist based in Nova Scotia. Her books include The Birth House and The Virgin Cure.

The Dartmouth Book Award also has a fiction category, which was won by Marina Endicott for her novel The Difference.

Also winning two awards was Gemma Hickey for their memoir Almost Feral

Almost Feral took home the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award and Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Non-Fiction. 

Almost Feral is about Hickey's 908-kilometre walk across the island of Newfoundland, which they did to raise awareness and money for survivors of institutional religious abuse. 

Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award recognizes a book that showcases excellence in the publishing process. $1,000 is awarded to the author while $3,000 is awarded to the publisher.

The John Savage First Book Award is a $2,500 prize that recognizes debut books by Atlantic Canadian authors in both fiction and nonfiction.

The 2020 fiction winner was Crow by N.S. writer Amy Spurway.

New Brunswick poet Lucas Crawford won the J.M. Abraham Poetry Award for their collection Belated Bris of the Brainsick.

American artist Martha Wilson, whose career was launched in Halifax, won the $1,000 Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction for her short story collection Nosy White Woman.

Sheree Fitch won the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature for her classic children's book EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street.

The $2,000 prize recognizes the best Atlantic Canadian children's book.

EveryBody's Different on EveryBody Street was originally created in 2001 as a fundraiser to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of the Festival of Trees in support of the Nova Scotia Hospital and to raise awareness for mental illness and addiction. 

Sydney Smith won the Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration for his picture book Small in the City.

In Small in the City, a young boy is on the hunt for a precious item he has lost on a snowy day in a big city. Small in the City also won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature, illustration.

L. Jane McMillan won the $1,000 Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing for Truth and Conviction. Truth and Conviction is about Donald Marshall Jr.'s wrongful conviction for a murder he did not commit. McMillan was Marshall's partner and is an anthropologist.

Andrew Theobald won the $2,000 Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing for Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers, about an internment camp located in New Brunswick from 1940-1945 known as Canadian Internment Camp B.


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