Canada

Atlantic Book Awards shortlist announced

Books about dirty secrets, being hit by lightning and a re-telling of the birth of Jesus as a Newfoundland folktale are among the 26 titles shortlisted for the 2012 Atlantic Book Awards.

26 books cover drama, comedy, history

The Atlantic Book Awards have announced the shortlist for 2012. (iStock)

Books about dirty secrets, being hit by lightning and a re-telling of the birth of Jesus as a Newfoundland folktale are among the 26 titles shortlisted for the 2012 Atlantic Book Awards.

The nine awards up for grabs cover children's lit, young adult novels, historical writing, excellence in illustration, first books, fiction books, non-fiction and books published in the Atlantic. The prizes include two new Newfoundland-based additions, the Bruneau Family Children's/ Young Adult Literature Award and the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Fiction.

Among the titles are Vicky Grant's book Betsy Wickwire’ s Dirty Secret, nominated for the Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children's Literature. It tells the story of Betsy Wickwire, a formerly popular girl who after losing her boyfriend and best friend is talked into starting a cleaning company with another girl she meets at a local café. She gets to peek inside the lives of her clients, but when items start to go missing, trouble arises. Chasing Freedom by Gloria Ann Wesley and The Year Mrs. Montague Cried by Susan White are the other two books vying for the award.

Gaspereau Press, the small press made famous in 2010 when it had to scramble to meet demand after its book The Sentimentalists by Johanna Skibsrud won the Giller, is also nominated for an award. Heather Jessup's The Lightning Field is up for the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award. It tells the story of a woman looking back over a dramatic marriage to a man who repaired damaged planes in the war, and who later worked on the Avro Arrow in Canada (she is hit by lightning the day the first plane is finished). A Globe and Mail review suggests it is heavily cinematic in tone, and would work well on the big screen. It is competing against A Description of the Blazing World by Michael Murphy and The Town That Drowned by Riel Nason.

Jack and the Manger, by comedian and actor Andy Jones, is competing for the Bruneau Family Children's/ Young Adult Literature Award. It is a reimagined look at the nativity story, told from the perspective of Jack who meets a young couple on their walk to Bethlehem. Other books in that category include Edge of Time by Susan M. MacDonald and Dragon Seer's Gift by Janet McNaughton. 

The winners will be announced on May 17 in St. John's, N.L. The awards are part of the Atlantic Book Awards and Festival, running events in all four Atlantic provinces from May 10 to 17.

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