We’ve been holding our collective breath ever since Gail Sidonie Sobat’s poetry book, How the Light is Spent, was named as a semi-finalist for this national book award. Gail’s book is published by Wintergreen Studios Press. Well, at the 15th annual Whistler Writers Festival, held 13-16 October, Gail’s book was declared the winner in the poetry category! This year’s festival hosted the inaugural Whistler Independent Book Awards, established to recognize excellence in Canadian independent publishing. The winners of the awards in four categories – fiction, non-fiction, crime fiction and poetry – were announced at the Festival’s Literary Cabaret event. “This was a truly national event, with the 12 finalists coming from all across Canada,” explained Lynn Duncan, director of Vivalogue Publishing, who organized the awards in conjunction with the Whistler Writing Society.
Winner of the fiction category was Byrna Barclay (Saskatchewan) for her novel, House of the White Elephant. Miji Campbell from Alberta won the non-fiction category for her book, Separation Anxiety: A Coming of Middle Age Story. Ontario resident Gerry Fostaty’s novel, Stage Business, was the winner of the crime-fiction category. How the Light Is Spent, by Gail Sidonie Sobat, from Alberta, was named the winner of the poetry category.
The longlist for the awards was determined by Vivalogue Publishing, with the shortlist of three finalists in each category selected by members of Canadian Authors Vancouver. Award-winning author and former City of Vancouver Poet Laureate Evelyn Lau jointly selected How the Light Is Spent with author Mary McDonald of the Whistler Writing Society. They described Gail Sidonie Sobat’s work as poems which “illuminate unadorned lives” and that have “breadth and detail and the hope in the small things of everyday life.” Winners received a cash prize of $500 each and the opportunity to present their work to the Canadian publishers and agents who attended the Festival. Winning authors also read and participated in key events at the Festival.
Congratulations to Gail from us all!