Faculty members make Alberta book award shortlists

May 6, 2014

Four Alberta authors, who are also instructors at MacEwan University, are celebrating the nomination of their books for several prestigious literary awards. The shortlisted books represent works across genres, including children’s literature, fiction, non-fiction and poetry.

“Having these nominees and award winners among the talented instructors at MacEwan teaching literature and writing is not only impressive, it also has a real impact on student learning,” says Pam Farvolden, associate chair and acting chair in the Department of English. “Being taught by real writers can be exciting for students and can really give them a new appreciation of literature.”

Tim Bowling, Selected Poems

Tim Bowling’s Selected Poems was awarded the City of Edmonton Book Prize in late April. The poet, novelist and instructor in the university’s Department of English has been nominated for the award eight times and says he’s happy Selected Poems was the book that finally won the $10,000 prize. “It’s a very big deal to me because this book is a collection of what I think of as my strongest poetry over a 25-year period. To be recognized for that in the city where I live is a big honour.”

Tim’s book is also shortlisted for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry as part of the 2014 Alberta Literary Awards. He is joined on that shortlist by three other authors who are also instructors at the university: Jessica Kluthe, Theresa Shea and Gail Sidonie Sobat.

Jessica Kluthe, Rosina, The Midwife

Jessica’s first book, Rosina, The Midwife, is in the running for the Alberta Literary Awards’ Wilfrid Eglleston Award for Nonfiction. She explores the story of her great-great grandmother, and the book’s namesake, to trace her family history from Italy to Canada.

“I’ve read both of the other books shortlisted in the non-fiction category and loved them. This province is so full of writing talent and I get to see that every day as an instructor at MacEwan. That makes me feel honoured and really grateful to be nominated for this award,” says Jessica, who teaches in the Bachelor of Communication Studies program and is pictured above (far right).

Gail Sidonie Sobat, Not With A Bang

Gail Sidonie Sobat, also a communications studies instructor, was nominated in Alberta Literary Awards’ children’s literature category for her book, Not With A Bang, that pairs a 17-year-old in trouble and a curmudgeonly 72-year-old man in an unlikely friendship. “I’m honoured to be in the company of the fine authors in my category, as well as to be nominated alongside my colleagues here at MacEwan University,” says Gail.

Theresa Shea, The Unfinished Child

Theresa Shea’s The Unfinished Child explores female friendships, prenatal testing, infertility and Down syndrome. The novel tackles complex moral issues around 21st Century human reproduction with great sensitivity. Nominated for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction as part of the Alberta Literary Awards, the book is Theresa’s first novel. It’s also a finalist for the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, which will be announced in June. Albertans can vote online during the month of May to select the winner of the $10,000 prize.

“It’s so exciting to receive a call that your book has been nominated for an award,” says Theresa, who is an instructor in the Department of English and pictured above (centre). “I’m delighted to be on these shortlists knowing that there were a lot of really strong books published this year.”

Faculty members aren’t the only connection between the university and the spring literary awards lineup. Past writers in residence Lynn Coady, Caterina Edwards and Curtis Gillespie also hold places on the 2014 Alberta Literary Awards shortlist.

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