Sharon Bala among writers longlisted for 2020 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards

The $1,500 awards recognize the best literature written by authors from Newfoundland and Labrador. 2020 will recognize fiction and children's literature.
A blue book cover designed to look like illustrated paper art waves.
Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People. (Peter Power/CBC, McClelland & Stewart)

Sharon Bala is among the writers longlisted for the 2020 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards.

The awards recognize the best literature written by authors from Newfoundland and Labrador.

There are two categories in 2020: an award for adult fiction and an award for children's/young adult literature. The winners in each category will receive $1,500. 

The prizes alternate each year, with fiction and children's books being recognized on even years and poetry and nonfiction being recognized on odd years.

Books published in 2018 and 2019 were eligible for the 2020 edition of the prizes.

Bala is nominated in the fiction category for her novel The Boat People.

In The Boat People, a ship carrying 500 Tamil refugees reaches the shores of British Columbia. Mahindan and his six-year-old son have survived a harrowing journey and hope to start a new life in Canada. But Mahindan is immediately taken into detention and left to wait there as politicians, journalists and the public debate the fate of the "boat people." 

The Boat People was defended by Mozhdah Jamalzadah on Canada Reads 2018. 

Also on the fiction longlist is Terry Doyle for the short story collection Dig and Leslie Vryenhoek for the novel We All Will Be Received.

Dig is a collection of 12 stories that are linked thematically ⁠— they explore misfortune and redemption.

We All Will Be Received is about a woman who in 1977, left town to build a new life. Thirty years later, she runs a roadside motel where she helps people rewrite their own stories.

In the children's category, previous winner Sheila Lukins is nominated for Flying Ace: Errol's Gander Adventure.

Flying Ace is about a mischevious mouse named Errol who goes on a great adventure when he takes a girl's toy plane for a flight.

The full fiction longlist is:

  • The Boat People by Sharon Bala
  • The Luminous Sea by Melissa Barbeau
  • Dig by Terry Doyle
  • An Exile's Perfect Letter by Larry Mathews
  • Unveiled by Carolyn Morgan
  • We All Will Be Received by Leslie Vryenhoek

The longlist for the children's/young adult category is:

  • Shiny and New by Robert Chafe
  • The Sky Weaver by Kristen Ciccarelli
  • The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter
  • Paint the Town Pink by Lori Doody
  • Flying Ace: Errol's Gander Adventure by Sheila Lukins
  • Catching the Light by Susan Sinnott

The shortlists will be announced on Sept. 15, 2020.

The winner of the Bruneau Family Award for Children's/Young Adult Literature will be announced on Sept. 22, 2020.

The winner of the NLBA Fiction Award will be announced on Sept. 29, 2020.

Last year's winners were Stan Dragland for his biography Gerald Squires and Alison Dyer for her poetry collection I'd Write the Sea Like a Parlour Game.

In 2018, Joel Thomas Hynes won the fiction category for We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night and Sheilah Lukins won the children's/young adult category for Full Speed Ahead: Errol's Bell Island Adventure. 


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