Ottawa’s most creative literary talents gathered at the Shenkman Arts Centre on Oct. 24 to hand out the 2012 awards for the city’s best books.
The 2012 Ottawa Book Awards were given for English fiction, English non-fiction and French fiction. There was no non-fiction French award given this year.
The event was MC-ed by Charlotte Gray, an Ottawa biographer and historian, and Martin Vanasse from Radio-Canada. Mayor Jim Watson and Coun. Shad Qadri presented the awards.
“Tonight we shine the spotlight on a vibrant, bilingual, literary community,” Watson said. “We don’t have to look far to find world-class talent.”
The English fiction award was presented to Centretown author Jamison Findlay for his book The Summer of Permanent Wants.
The book is about an 11-year-old girl who loses her voice and sets off with her grandmother on a trip down the Rideau Canal in a boat, which is also a bookstore.
“When I consider the roster of talent, I was totally overwhelmed,” Findlay said. “It feels really good to be recognized.”
The award for French fiction went to an author from Beacon Hill, Estelle Beauchamp. Beauchamp was honoured for her book Un soufflé venu de loin, which has also won a provincial Trillium Book Award.
For English non-fiction, the list of authors and their credentials was impressive, ranging from Robert E. Fowler, who was foreign policy adviser to prime ministers Trudeau, Turner and Mulroney, to Craig Oliver, the chief parliamentary correspondent for CTV.
The 2012 English non-fiction Book Award went to Ruth B. Phillips for Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums.
“(This is) owed to a great extent, to me living for 40 years in this city,” she said. “This is a museum city; it has a remarkable combination.”
The Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry was also presented by Chris Jennings from the Arc Poetry Society to Michael Blouin for Wore Down Trust.
The winners were chosen by a group of three jurors for each category and each finalist received a cash prize.
“They bring words to life for the residents of Ottawa and worldwide,” Watson said.