Atlantic Book Awards Shortlist 2020


(The highlighted titles will take you to reviews written by myself or some of my other blogging friends. More to come!)

1.  Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction

A Dark House and Other Stories by Ian Colford (Vagrant Press – a Nimbus imprint)

DIG by Terry Doyle(Breakwater Books)

Nosy White Woman by Martha Wilson(Biblioasis)

2.  Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature

EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street by Sheree Fitch(Nimbus Publishing)

A World Below by Wesley King(Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)

I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas(Nimbus Publishing)

3.  Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award Sponsored by Friesens Corporation

Almost Feral by Gemma Hickey (Breakwater Books)

I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe and I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas (companion books), illustrated by Pauline Young(Nimbus Publishing)

Land Beyond the Sea by Kevin Major(Breakwater Books)

4.  Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing, Sponsored by Marquis Book Printing

Shaped by Silence:  Stories from Inmates of the Good Shepherd Laundries and Reformatories by Rie Croll (ISER Books)

The Wake:  The Deadly Legacy of a Newfoundland Tsunami by Linden MacIntyre (HarperCollins Canada)

Truth and Conviction:  Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice by L. Jane McMillan (UBC Press)

5.  Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

Listening for the Dead Bells by Marian Bruce(Island Studies Press)

As British as the King:  Lunenburg County During the First World War by Gerald Hallowell(Nimbus Publishing)

Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers:  Canadian Internment Camp B, 1940-1945 by Andrew Theobald (Goose Lane Editions)

6.  Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award

Daughter of Family G:  A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate by Ami McKay(Knopf Canada)

Mayann Francis: An Honourable Life by The Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis(Nimbus Publishing)

Hell and Damnation:  A Sinner’s Guide to Eternal Torment by Marq de Villiers(University of Regina Press)

7.  Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction), presented by Boyne Clarke LLP

The Difference by Marina Endicott(Knopf Canada)

Broken Symmetry by Rosalie Osmond(Nevermore Press)

Crow by Amy Spurway(Goose Lane Editions)

8.  J.M. Abraham Poetry Award

Year of the Metal Rabbit by Tammy Armstrong(Gaspereau Press)

Smallholding by Anne Compton(Fitzhenry and Whiteside)

Belated Bris of the Brainsick by Lucas Crawford(Nightwood Editions)

9.  Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration

Denise Gallagher, illustrator for Peg Bearskin:  A Traditional Newfoundland Tale,written by adapted by Andy Jones and Philip Dinn from a story told by Mrs. Elizabeth Brewer (Running the Goat Books)

Danielle Loranger, illustrator for Un géant dans la tête, written by Danielle Loranger (Bouton D’or Acadie)

Sydney Smith, illustrator, for Small in the City, written by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books)

10.  Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Non-Fiction, sponsored by Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, Weed Man Maritimes, Heritage House Law Office, I Love Renovations and Simply Sage Solutions

Almost Feral by Gemma Hickey (Breakwater Books)

Wounded Hearts:  Memories of the Halifax Protestant Orphans’ Home by Lois Legge(Nimbus Publishing)

Transplanted:  My Cystic Fibrosis Double-Lung Transplant Story by Allison Watson(Nimbus Publishing)

11.  Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Fiction, sponsored by the family of John and Margaret Savage and Royden Trainor

DIG by Terry Doyle(Breakwater Books)

Going Dutch:  A Novel by James Gregor(Simon & Schuster)

Crow by Amy Spurway (Goose Lane Editions)

12.  Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-fiction), presented by the Kiwanis Club of Dartmouth

Grandfather’s House:  Returning to Cape Breton by Clive Doucet(Nimbus Publishing)

Daughter of Family G:  A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate by Ami McKay (Knopf Canada)

Ghosts Within:  Journeying Through PTSD by Garry Leech(Fernwood Publishing)

13.  Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

Crocuses Hatch from Snow by Jaime Burnet(Vagrant Press – a Nimbus imprint)

The Innocents by Michael Crummey(Doubleday Canada)

The Waiting Hours by Shandi Mitchell(Viking Canada)

Twenty-five of the thirty-nine nominations are for books published by Atlantic publishers. Nova Scotia’s Nimbus Publishing/Vagrant Press leads with eight shortlisted titles, while Newfoundland’s Breakwater Books has five, including two of the three nominated titles for the APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award. Other regional publishers are:  Running the Goat Books and ISER Books (NL); Gaspereau Press, Nevermore Press, Fernwood Publishing (NS); Island Studies Press (PEI); and Goose Lane Editions and Bouton D’or Acadie (NB).

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, the 2020 Atlantic Book Festival and awards gala, initially planned for this month, is now taking place online through the month of June, with the winners announced on June 30.   Details will be posted shortly at and through social media as they become available.

Have you read any of these? Do any of them tempt you? Any predictions/wishes/books you think should be on the list?

13 thoughts on “Atlantic Book Awards Shortlist 2020

  1. buriedinprint says:

    The only ones I’ve read are the Jaime Burnet novel (her debut), Michael Crummey’s The Innocents (thanks for linking!),and Ian Colford’s collection of stories.

    The Marina Endicott is one that I thought I would have read by now, and there are quite a few others here that intrigue me. I’m really trying to make an effort to read more eastern stories but because so many of my reading projects this year are not CanLit oriented to start with, it’s a slow-boil.

    Are you secretly, or not-so, hoping to read all of these before the prize is announced? Is that going to be harder than usual with the library access limited?

    • Naomi says:

      I know there’s no way I can read all these books before the announcement, so I narrow it down to reading all the fiction, including the short stories. And I have done it this year! I have also read a couple of the nonfiction.

      I have no doubt that you will eventually get to the Endicott, and I can’t wait for it!

  2. Susan says:

    Yes I thought Michael Crummey’s novel The Innocents was very good. Now I’m putting Marina Endicott’s novel The Difference and Shandi Mitchell’s novel The Waiting Hours on my List. thanks for these. I’m mostly into fiction …. though not always.

    • Naomi says:

      Excellent choices! I hope you enjoy!
      I’m with you – I mostly read the fiction. I’ve read a couple of the nonfiction: Almost Feral and Transplanted… both good!

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