Submitted by wits on
Saturday, September 21, 2013 - 9:50pm

Halifax, NS – September 21, 2013

$29,000 in prizes presented to Russell Wangersky, Lesley Choyce, and Steven Laffoley at the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia's 2013 WFNS Literary Awards. 

The Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, valued at $25,000, was presented to Newfoundland’s Russell Wangersky for Whirl Away (Dundurn) at a ceremony hosted by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia (WFNS) on Saturday, September 21, 2013 at the Institute of Applied Creativity at NSCAD in Halifax.

In addition, The Evelyn Richardson Memorial Non-Fiction Award was presented to Steven Laffoley of Halifax, NS for Shadowboxing: The Rise and Fall of George Dixon (Pottersfield Press), and the Atlantic Poetry Prize was awarded to Lesley Choyce of Halifax, NS for I’m Alive. I Believe in Everything. (Breton Books). 

Invisible Publishing author and CBC Radio host Stephanie Domet presided over the ceremony and prizes were presented by Sarah Emsley and Ryan Turner of the WFNS Board of Directors.  

The shortlists for the WFNS Literary Awards were released in June, with nominated writers appearing throughout the region in the immediate run-up to the September 21 announcement. Now in its 23rd year, The Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award has been administered by WFNS since its inception in 1990. The Evelyn Richardson Memorial Award for Non-Fiction was established in 1978, and the Atlantic Poetry Prize was first awarded in 1998.

Shortlisted nominees for each prize also included:
Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award: Keir Lowther for Dirty Bird (Tightrope Books) and Donna Morrissey for The Deception of Livvy Higgs (Penguin Group).

Evelyn Richardson Memorial Award for Non-Fiction: Jerry Lockett for The Discovery of Weather (Formac Lorimer Books) and Herb MacDonald for Cape Breton Railways: An Illustrated History (Cape Breton University Press)

Atlantic Poetry Prize: Carole Glasser Langille for Church of the Exquisite Panic: The Ophelia Poems (Pedlar Press) and George Murray for Whiteout (ECW Press)


About the winning titles:

Shadowboxing: The Rise and Fall of George Dixon by Steven Laffoley (Pottersfield Press)
Before all the great black boxing champions of every age and every weight class, there was George Dixon. He was the first. He was the greatest. And this is his story. Steven Laffoley is the author of Hunting Halifax: In Search of History, Mystery and Murder; Death Ship of Halifax Harbour; The Devil and the Deep Blue Sea; and Pulling No Punches: The Sam Longford Story

I'm Alive. I Believe In Everything. by Lesley Choyce (Breton Books)
It perhaps comes as no surprise that a book with this title covers a wide range of subjects: war, peace, surfing, organic gardening, aging, seaweed, Halifax, Saskatoon, Glasgow, outhouses, cement mixers, crows, watermelons, mushrooms, geese, truth, lies, and madness – to name a few. Lesley Choyce runs Pottersfield Press and has published over 70 books for adults and kids. His recent novel, Cold Clear Morning, is currently being developed as a feature length movie.

Whirl Away: Stories by Russell Wangersky (Dundurn)
These stories look at what happens when characters safe in the world of self-deception or even self-delusion, [are] forced to face the fact that their main line of defence has become their greatest weakness. This latest collection of short stories by Russell Wangersky's was shortlisted for the 2012 ScotiaBank Giller Prize. His most recent novel is The Glass Harmonica. His previous book, Burning Down the House: Fighting Fires and Losing Myself won Canada's largest non-fiction prize, the British Columbia National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Rogers Communications Newfoundland and Labrador Non-Fiction Book Award, and the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.