The City of Calgary Announces Shortlist Authors for W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
The City of Calgary and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta are pleased to announce the shortlist authors for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, one of 13 awards presented as part of The Calgary Awards.
The three finalists are Taylor Lambert for Darwin’s Moving, (NeWest Press), Clem & Olivier Martini for The Unravelling, (Freehand Books), and Deborah Willis for The Dark and Other Love Stories, (Hamish Hamilton).
Taylor Lambert’s novel, Darwin’s Moving is a touching and honest book about a little seen part of society populated with not always positive characters but real and compelling people just the same. It is a well written memoir that offers a portrait of Calgary, as only movers see it. Lambert takes us behind the scenes of a moving company industry that is almost completely undocumented in Canadian literature to reveal the cycles of poverty and addiction that ensnare its workers. Ex-cons and drug addicts are invited into spacious homes, entrusted with the care and transport of the possessions of the upper-classes – a unique bridging of two normally segregated worlds. An award-winning author, Lambert is a journalist who has published three previous books, and lives in Calgary.
The Unravelling: How our caregiving safety net came unstrung and we were left grasping at threads, struggling to plait a new one by Clem Martini and Olivier Martini is a memoir, told through text by Clem and illustrations by Olivier. The book recounts their family's desperate scramble when their mother, Catherine, develops dementia. It’s the telling of a story of one family’s journey with mental illness, dementia and caregiving. The Unravelling is a candid, painful and, at times, comical account of what it's like to navigate a perplexing health-care system that fails to meet the needs of the patient. An award-winning playwright, Clem Martini is the Chair of Drama in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at the University of Calgary.
In The Dark and other Love Stories—a collection of thirteen short stories—Deborah Willis delves into the concept of love in all its varied guises. Full of longing and strange humour, these poignant and complex stories reveal how love ties us to one another and to the world. One story examines an intense friendship between girls at summer camp, another follows a man who finds himself inadvertently adopting a pet crow, and another explores the psychology of a man whose girlfriend stars on a reality TV show, determined to win a seat on the first manned mission to Mars. The book isn’t all about romantic love. It is about attachments — about the different bonds we form between ourselves and the people (and animals!) in our lives. Willis presently lives in Calgary.
The City of Calgary established the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize in honour of the late Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell to recognize literary achievement by Calgary authors. The $5000 prize is awarded each year for an outstanding book published in the award year. The 2016 recipient was Joan Crate for “Black Apple”, (Simon & Schuster).
The recipient of The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize will be recognized at the Calgary Awards presentation on June 13, 2018. The Calgary Awards will be live streamed on Calgary.ca
A Shortlist Reading and Q and A with the authors will take place at Shelf Life Books on Thursday, April 26, 2018 at 7:00 p.m. For more information contact Samantha at the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Calgary office at (403) 265-2226.