Books

Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour acquires new sponsor, Dunkley Charitable Foundation

The Leacock Medal is a $15,000 prize that annually recognizes the best in Canadian humorous writing.
The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour has been given out since 1947. (leacock.ca)

The Dunkley Charitable Foundation is the new sponsor of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

The Leacock Medal is a $15,000 prize that annually recognizes the best in Canadian humorous writing.

It is named in honour of teacher, humour writer and political scientist Stephen Leacock. His best-known book is the 1912 work Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town.

The award has been given out regularly since 1947. Past winners include Robertson Davies, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, Paul Quarrington, Mordecai Richler, Stuart McLean, Terry Fallis, Susan Juby and Cassie Stocks.

Leacock had a summer estate in Orillia, Ont., the town which was the inspiration for Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. The memorial medal is now based in Orillia.

Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock lives on in this audio recording. Leacock reads "My Old College," about a man trying to raise three dollars for the McGill Graduates' Society. 7:24

The Dunkley Charitable Foundation is a charitable entity based in Orillia that supports education, museums and support for soldiers and their families.

Brad and Sara Dunkley are the foundations' trustees, and both grew up in Orillia. Brad won the student essay competition in 1993.

"Having grown up in Orillia, we have an appreciation for Stephen Leacock's work and the national significance of the Leacock Medal for Humour," Brad Dunkley said in an email statement to CBC Books. 

"We think it is important to celebrate Canadian writing. The recognition that comes to finalists and recipients can provide a big boost to authors and may even help to launch a great writing career."

The sponsorship agreement is for five years, and will be reviewed in 2025.

Submissions for the 2021 prize are open until Dec. 31, 2020.

Heidi L. M. Jacobs won the 2020 prize for her novel Molly of the Mall.

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