Books

Tyler LeBlanc leads Atlantic Book Award nominations, with 4 for memoir Acadian Driftwood

The awards, managed by the Atlantic Book Awards Society, recognize books from Atlantic Canada including poetry, illustrated children's books, adult fiction and nonfiction.
Acadian Driftwood is a book by Tyler LeBlanc. (Goose Lane Editions)

Acadian Driftwood by Tyler LeBlanc leads the shortlisted titles for the 2020 Atlantic Book Awards, a coalition of 13 different book prizes.

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

Acadian Driftwood has the most nominations of any title, with four. It's a finalist for the Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing, the Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award and the Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award.

LeBlanc grew up on the South Shore of Nova Scotia and only vaguely knew his family had Acadian heritage. But once he decided to investigate, he learned his family's history traced back to the Acadian Expulsion in the mid-1700s, when hundreds of Acadians were sent from the Maritimes to the United States, Britain and France. Some stayed and tried to forge new lives wherever they ended up, while some returned to the Maritimes to face the difficult task of rebuilding their lives. In Acadian Driftwood, LeBlanc traces this family history and the legacy the expulsion had on the Maritimes today.

LeBlanc is a writer from the South Shore of Nova Scotia. His work has appeared in This Magazine, Modern Farmer and the Coast. Acadian Driftwood is his first book.

Dirty Birds by Morgan Murray is the second most recognized title with three nominations. It's nominated for Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award and Best Published Book Award.

Dirty Birds is a humorous coming-of-age novel set against the backdrop of the 2008 global recession. A young man named Milton Ontario (yes, it's also a place) leaves his small hometown in Saskatchewan to pursue fame and fortune in Montreal and to find his idol, the iconic singer-songwriter Leonard Cohen.

Dirty Birds was on the Canada Reads 2021 longlist and is currently on the longlist for the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour.

Murray is a writer from Alberta who now lives in Nova Scotia. Dirty Birds is his first novel.

Black Matters by Afua Cooper and Blood in the Water by Silver Donald Cameron scored two nominations each.

Cooper and photographer Wilfried Raussert collaborated on Black Matters, which explores the everyday experience of what it's like to be Black in Canada. Each of Raussert's photographs has a companion poem written by Cooper.

Cooper is the poet laureate of Halifax. She's also a historian and teacher. She is the author of five books of poetry and two novels, including The Hanging of Angelique.

Raussert is a Canadian photographer, artist and academic who currently teaches in Germany. He has authored or edited more than 20 scholarly books.

 Blood in the Water is a nonfiction book that recounts the 2013 murder of Philip Boudreau, a notorious outlaw who was killed while vandalizing the lobster traps of three Cape Breton fishermen.

Cameron was a celebrated Nova Scotia author, filmmaker and environmentalist. He had been a columnist for the Globe and Mail and wrote a weekly column for the Halifax Sunday Herald for 13 years. He died on June 1, 2020.

The winners will be announced on May 13, 2021.

You can see the complete shortlists for all the awards below.

The Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award is a $25,000 prize that recognizes the best work of fiction from Atlantic Canada.

The finalists are:

The Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction is a $1,000 prize that recognizes the best short story collection by someone from or living in Atlantic Canada.

The finalists are:

  • Boy with a Problem by Chris Benjamin
  • Winter Road by Wayne Curtis
  • The Appendage Formerly Known as Your Left Arm by Julie Curwin

The Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature is a $2,000 prize that recognizes excellence in young people's literature. The prize alternates between YA and children's literature. The 2021 prize is recognizing YA.

The finalists are:

The Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing is a $1,000 prize that recognizes an academic work.

The finalists are:

  • At the Ocean's Edge by Margaret Conrad
  • The Miramichi Fire by Alan MacEachern 
  • A Long Journey by Andrea Procter

The Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award recognizes the best published Atlantic Canadian book. The publisher receives $3,000 while the author receives $1,000.

The finalists are:

The Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing is a $2,000 prize that recognizes a book about Atlantic Canadian history.

The finalists are:

The Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award is a $2,000 prize that recognizes a work of nonfiction from Nova Scotia.

The finalists are:

The Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award is a $2,500 prize that recognizes the best work of fiction from a Nova Scotian writer.

The finalists are:

The J. M. Abraham Poetry Award is a $2,000 prize for the best poetry collection from Atlantic Canada.

The finalists are:

The Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration is a $500 prize that recognizes the illustrator of a book from Atlantic Canada.

The finalists are:

The Margaret and John Savage First Book Awards are awards worth $2,500 that recognize the best debut books in Atlantic Canada. There is a prize for fiction and a prize for nonfiction.

The fiction finalists are:

The nonfiction finalists are:

The Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award is a $1,000 prize that is awarded every other year to a poetry book from Nova Scotia.

The finalists are:

  • Year of the Metal Rabbit by Tammy Armstrong
  • Burden by Douglas Burnet Smith
  • Waking Ground by shalan joudry

The Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award is a $2,500 prize for the best work of nonfiction from a Nova Scotian writer.

The finalists are:

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?

now