Books

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

The $1,500 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.
Sharon Bala is the author of The Boat People. (Peter Power/CBC, McClelland & Stewart)

Sharon Bala is among the six writers shortlisted 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. There are three finalists in each category.

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

Also shortlisted is Terry Doyle for the short story collection Dig and Melissa Barbeau for the novel The Luminous Sea.

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. 

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

The Luminous Sea is about a group of researchers set up in a remote Newfoundland port who are studying the phosphorescent tide. When one of them discovers a new species of fish, drama unfolds as more senior people on the research team exploit the discovery.

The three finalists in the children's/young adult category are the middle-grade novel The Ghost Road by Charis Cotter, the picture book Paint the Town Pink by Lori Doody and the YA novel Catching the Light by Susan Sinnott.

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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