*Thank you to Alain Photography for photographing the gala.
On Monday, November 14, 2022 Quebec’s English-language literary community gathered for the first fully in-person gala in over two years.
The 2022 QWF Literary Awards Gala marked a new addition to the QWF awards roster. The first-ever QWF Spoken Word Prize was awarded to three spoken word artists in recognition of their outstanding literary achievement. With the addition of the Spoken Word Prize, this year’s gala bestowed the largest number of awards in QWF history.
You can watch the entire gala ceremony on YouTube here:
Read the complete list of winners below.
2022 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry
Sponsored by Byron Rempel
D.M. Bradford for Dream of No One but Myself
“An astounding accomplishment. At times Bradford’s work is sound and rhythm. At times collage and cut up. At times erasure and distortion. Every page of this work challenged me to be on my toes as a reader, and I wanted to rise to that challenge each time. I Dream of No One but Myself is a difficult, necessary book on family and belonging that explodes those very ideas page by page.”
Jury members: Jordan Abel, Susan Gillis, and Zoe Imani Sharpe
2022 Concordia First Book Prize
Sponsored by Concordia University
Trynne Delaney for the half-drowned
“The half-drowned is a crystalline snapshot of a dystopia shaped by a toxic sea and the ghosts of whatever came before. Steeped in Black history and diasporic culture, the novella presents a poetic rumination on survival, grief, and longing, framing the strength that it takes to persevere in any dying world.
Delaney’s prose is sharp and experimental, yet the quality of the narrative is never sacrificed for the sake of stylistic exploration. The Half-Drowned is incredibly robust in its stylistic sojourns and infinitely flexible in its emotional consideration.
I have rarely seen a book with such fierce discourse and narrative integrity.”
Jury members: Kess Mohammadi, Emily Raine, and Hal Wake
2022 QWF Playwriting Prize
Sponsored by Gabriel Safdie in conjunction with Infinithéâtre
Erin Shields for The Millennial Malcontent
(Playwrights Canada Press)
“Whip-smart, funny dialogue cuts through this hyper-contemporary take on a classic restoration comedy. With a millennial sense of irony, Shields employs mistaken identities, farce, and over-the-top characterizations to create what, at first glance, reads like a fun, cheeky comedy. However, emotional monologues and insightful dialogue reveal that The Millennial Malcontent is run through with the darker undercurrents that define this generation. Shields has found ripe ground for comedy and created an utterly modern take on a centuries-old form.”
Jury members: Yvette Nolan, Jeff Ho, and Sabrina Reeves
Prix de traduction de la fondation Cole 2022
Sponsored by the Cole Foundation
Nicolas Calvé for Plus aucun enfant autochtone arraché
“The [original] book’s reach is fortuitously extended thanks to this excellent French translation,which makes its content available to Francophones in Quebec and the rest of Canada, its primary readership.
Il convient d’abord de souligner le travail colossal mené à bien par Nicolas Calvé, soit celui d’un ouvrage de presque 500 pages qui non seulement est d’une importance capitale, mais contribue pleinement à la réflexion essentielle s’étant engagée ces dernières années dans la foulée des travaux de la Commission de vérité et réconciliation.
L’original est un texte fouillé, foisonnant de détails, qui exige beaucoup du traducteur; celui-ci, sur tous les plans, a brillamment réussi.”
Jury members: Asselin Charles, Marc Charron, and Sufia Duez
2022 Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction
Marc Raboy for Looking for Alicia: The Unfinished Life of an Argentinian Rebel
(House of Anansi Press)
“Marc Raboy’s investigation into the disappearance of Argentine journalist and social activist, Alicia Raboy, succeeds in many ways. As a personal memoir, it uncovers surprising family links (Marc and Alicia are distantly related). As a political essay, it delves into the nature of repressive and democratic governments. As a page-turning story, it sweeps away the dust around a decades-old mystery. As a cautionary tale, it warns of the consequences that idealistic youth inevitably face in their zeal to confront corrupt powers that be. As a moral treatise, it posits that the search for justice is an obligation that continues long after unpunished crimes were committed.”
Jury members: Victor Swoboda, Stephen Trumper, and Evelyn C. White
2022 Janet Savage Blachford Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature
Sponsored in memory of Janet Savage Blachford
Matthew Forsythe for Mina
(Simon & Schuster Canada)
“This is a profound story wrapped in the most basic structure and vivid drawings: a story as simple as The Three Little Pigs that sticks in the head to be called back when you least expect it… This uniquely told, beautifully illustrated story manages to look directly at the big idea of parental fallibility—wrapped up with love and faith and trust—from such a distinctly child’s eye that we don’t even know it’s doing it.”
Jury members: Sean Dixon, Nadia Lakhdari, and Lauren Soloy
2022 Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction
Sponsored by Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore
Baharan Baniahmadi for Prophetess
“In Prophetess the simplicity of the language acts as a tether, pulling me through the poignant story with ease. Baniahmadi’s style is inherent, not something one can learn, it’s a voice unearthed. The attention to detail in the language reminded me of Jamaica Kincaid’s poetic prose. What astounded me most about Prophetess was the skilled use of the youthful voice. The way the young narrator pulls the reader into her intimate world is a gift, almost surreal just like what we encounter with every flip of the page. This is a truly unique book that left me feeling chilled and changed.”
Jury members: Michelle Butler Hallett, Chelene Knight, and Alejandro Saravia
2022 QWF Spoken Word Prize
Lucia De Luca for “Not in the Bike Commercial”
Lucia De Luca is a highly skilled and talented storyteller who is proof that the art of spoken word is very much alive and hriving amongst the younger generations. With a remarkable sense of rhythm, pacing, breath, and imagery, Lucia De Luca threads together stories that are personal and intimate, and yet resonate in a universal way. She is a rising star to watch out for!
Roen Higgins for “Free Your Mind”
Roen Higgins’ poetry moved me like a north wind wave on a freshwater lake. Roen uses precise language with a decisive delivery that bends no corners and pulls no punches and still manages to find the soft heartbeat and smooth edges of the music inside the lines. Roen Higgins is a poet that I want to hear from far into the future.
Erín Moure for “Odiama”
Erín Moure remains and excels as a dynamo of a voice in modern Canadian poetry and poetics! Her ability to convey a clarity of story with precise, direct imagery is solid, robust, and impressive! Her gusto for words/language and their uses flows like metaphors! Her deft, seasoned command of the form roars with resonance; and no doubt will continue to resonate with excellence.
Jury members: Ivan Coyote, Clifton Joseph, and Kama La Mackerel
Other Prizes Awarded at the 2022 QWF Gala
QWF also bestowed the honorary 2022 QWF Judy Mappin Community Award on Ian Ferrier, founder of the Words and Music Show and Wired on Words. Ian received the award for his lifelong commitment to the Montreal writing community and to literary arts, both on stage and off.
The carte blanche Prize was awarded to Meryem Yildiz for her poem “Some Kind of Light” (Issue 43). The $350 prize is awarded annually in recognition of an outstanding submission by a Quebec writer, artist, or translator to carte blanche, QWF’s online literary journal (https://carteblanchemagazine.com/). Second place ($200) went to Neil Smith for “The Salad Spinner” (Issue 43) and third place ($150) to Simon Brown for “Gardens of Dirty Laundry” (issue 43).
Eden Andrews of Dawson College won the QWF College Writers Award for her piece “Misremembering.” Supported by Champlain, Dawson, Heritage, John Abbott, Marianopolis, and Vanier Colleges, the award recognizes outstanding literary achievement by one student from one of the sponsoring colleges. The winner receives a cash prize of $1,000 and publication in carte blanche.
See you next year for the 2023 QWF Literary Awards!