Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the Toronto Book Awards honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. The annual awards offer $14,000 in prize money: finalists receive $1,000 and the winning author is awarded $10,000. This year marks the 41st anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards.
Although she couldn't be in Toronto to accept her 2015 Toronto Book Award, author Emily St. John Mandel said in a video acceptance speech, "This award means a great deal to me; some of the very first serious writing I did was at a Toronto Public Library downtown. So that makes it all the more meaningful to me that the first award I received for my work in Canada is the Toronto Book Award. Thank you so much, I'm profoundly grateful and honoured and moved."
St. John Mandel's editor Jennifer Lambert, far left, accepted the prize for Station Eleven. The other finalists, each of whom received $1,000, are Bruce McDougall for The Last Hockey Game, Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer for All the Broken Things, Margaret Atwood for Stone Mattress (Book Awards juror Tina Srebotnjak, in red, accepted) and Andre Alexis for Fifteen Dogs. Congratulations to all the authors!
Congratulations to the finalists for this year's Toronto Book Award:
- André Alexis for his apologue, Fifteen Dogs, published by Coach House Books
- Margaret Atwood for her collection of short stories,Stone Mattress, published by McClelland & Stewart
- Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer for her novel, All the Broken Things, published by Random House Canada
- Bruce McDougall for his work of dramatic non-fiction,The Last Hockey Game, published by Goose Lane
- Emily St. John Mandel for her novel,Station Eleven, published by Harper Avenue
The 2015 Toronto Book Awards were presented at the Toronto Reference Library's Bram & Bluma Appel Salon October 15 at 7 pm hosted by CBC's Gill Deacon.
Toronto Book Awards finalists read at Word on the Street (below) September 27 and again at North York Central Library (5120 Yonge Street), October 8 at 7 pm -- both events were free.
In 2014, Toronto City Council voted to commemorate the 40th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards by creating a Toronto Book Garden. On Sunday, November 1, a ground breaking ceremony was held in front of Queen's Quay Terminal (207 Queens Quay West) attended by former mayor John Sewell (far left) who proposed the creation of the Toronto Book Awards in 1973, and by past TBA winners Helen Humphreys (1998), Rosemary Sullivan (1996), Guy Vanderhaeghe (1990), Rabindranath Maharaj (2011), Charlotte Gray (2014) and Richard B. Wright (1974). Former City Councillor Ceta Ramkhalawansingh (far right) conceived of the Book Garden and got the funding ball rolling while representing Ward 20 in 2014.
The garden -- to be completed by fall 2016 -- will feature the names of winning authors and book titles engraved in paving stones; new stones will be added each year.
The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and the Trial that Shocked a Country