Skip to Content

Announcing the Shortlist for the 2017 Newfoundland & Labrador Book Awards












(April 6, 2016 – St. John’s, NL) The juries have read and debated and have named the finalists for the prestigious Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards. This year the Awards honour excellence in the categories of Non-Fiction and Poetry.

Finalists for the 2017 Newfoundland and Labrador Book Award for Non-Fiction

Sponsored by Killick Capital, Cox & Palmer, and Don Power

  • Jenny Higgins for Newfoundland in the First World War (Boulder Publications)
  • John Nick Jeddore, Elder (deceased), for Moccasin Tracks: A Memoir of Mi’kmaw Life in Newfoundland (ISER Books)
  • James McLeod for Turmoil, As Usual: Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Road to the 2015 Election (Creative Book Publishing)

Jury Members: Glen Carter, Marjorie Doyle, Elaine Janes

Finalists for the 2017 E. J. Pratt Poetry Award

  • Michael Crummey for Little Dogs: Poems Selected & New (House of Anansi)
  • Robin Durnford for Half Rock (Gaspereau Press)
  • Patrick Warner for Octopus (Biblioasis)

Jury Members: Andreae Callanan, Boyd Chubbs, Mary Dalton

The shortlist was announced at a reading at the Carbonear Public Library on Wednesday, April 5, 2017 at 6:30 pm.

Public readings by the finalists will take place as follows:

  • Poetry: Tuesday, April 25th at 7:30 pm, Eastern Edge Gallery, 72 Harbour Drive, St. John’s, NL. Hosted by E. J. Pratt Award jury member, Mary Dalton.
  • Non-Fiction: Wednesday, April 26th at 7:30 pm, Suncor Energy Hall, Memorial University, St. John’s NL. Hosted by CBC’s Ted Blades.

The winning authors will be announced at a ceremony on Wednesday, May 3rd at Government House in St. John’s and will receive a cash prize of $1500 with the remaining finalists to receive $500 each.

The Newfoundland & Labrador Book Awards are sponsored by the Literary Arts Foundation of Newfoundland and Labrador and administered by the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador under the distinguished patronage of The Honourable Frank Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador. Other sponsors this year include The Telegram, Perfect Day and the NL Teacher’s Association.

What the jury members said about the shortlisted books:

Non-Fiction Finalists:

Jenny Higgins – Newfoundland in the First World War

This historical book takes a timeless subject and leaves no stone unturned in its inclusivity of data in a well researched and well organized form. The book includes additional literary material which makes it interactive and entertaining. It is unique in the sense that it is like being in a museum and touching the artifacts of the soldiers from so long ago. Newfoundland in the First World War is an educational work of art.

John Nick Jeddore, Elder – Moccasin Tracks

Moccasin Tracks is an unsentimental record of a life lived, of a Conne River Indian who respects the tradition he was born into and recognizes its vulnerability to a newer age. Jeddore’s story is pivotal. It links his 1920’s boyhood and young manhood to those who came before him, who shared the same closeness to the land and the animals that inhabited it. Jeddore’s senses are finely tuned; his narrative makes it easy to hear the sound of hooves on the hard ground, the padding of hairy paws, the taste of pancakes fried in beaver fat, and smell the venison cooking.

James McLeod – Turmoil, As Usual: Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Road to the 2015 Election

James McLeod has deked away from the safety of his calling as a legislative scribe, to reveal the truth about Newfoundland and Labrador’s topsy-turvy political tableau. Through his eyes, we scope the hiccups and at times hilarious struggles of imperfect politicians, whatever their political stripe. No one escapes his critical eye, or the irreverence he brings to his unique narrative. Sometimes directed at his own human condition.

Poetry Finalists:

Michael Crummey – Little Dogs: Poems Selected and New

Little Dogs contains works from Michael Crummey’s entire poetic oeuvre to date. The selection from earlier volumes attests to this author’s ease with the speaking voice in his work, as well as his ability to tease out the poetic implications of a nugget of image or story. Crummey’s poetry is in the tradition of Wordsworth, work that strives to capture everyday experience.  The “New Poems” section, which makes up about one-quarter of the book, displays those strengths and introduces a new note, exploring some of the harder truths about marriage, experience, and aging.

Robin Durnford – Half Rock

The poems in Half Rock are filled with longing: longing for the land and speech of outport Newfoundland, longing for a lost parent or grandparent, longing for a time before the current threat of ecological destruction. The collection is ambitious, navigating childbirth, parenthood, and teenage reminiscences without succumbing to the saccharine. Durnford’s language is energetic to the point of crackling; crow-like, she gathers the shiniest bits of European tradition and adds to them pieces of her own ancestral vernacular and lore.

Patrick Warner – Octopus

The octopus, an emblem of the mind in the work of several modernist poets, presides over this collection, an image evoking fluidity, the hidden, the strange. Octopus continues to explore territory travelled in Patrick Warner’s other works; contemporary life is reflected at times through a Swiftian lens. The satire is often phantasmagoric, with elements of dream or of a carnival funhouse. An important strain of this new book is its enquiry into the nature of lyric and of mind. Warner’s skill with image and the musical resources of poetry makes Octopus compelling technically as well as emotionally and intellectually. 




  Media Contact:        

Glenn Deir, Vice President

Tel 709-682-8433 |

  Foundation Contact:

Jennifer Morgan, President

Tel 709-631-4397 |