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Indigenous issues centre stage at book awards

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While there were no multiple winners at the 26th annual Manitoba Book Awards Sunday night, indigenous issues took centre stage among the list of 13 winners.

Barbara Huck’s Kisiskatchewan: The Great River Road nabbed the McNally Robinson Book of the Year award at the awards ceremony, held at the West End Cultural Centre. The book, which details Orkneyman William Tomison’s trials and tribulations during the 18th-century Great Plains smallpox outbreak, beat out The Constructed Mennonite by Hans Werner and Rick Chafe’s The Secret Mask.

Top spot in the non-fiction category went to Indians Wear Red: Colonialism, Resistance and Aboriginal Street Gangs, by Elizabeth Comack, Lawrence Deane, Larry Morrissette and Jim Silver.

The Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book went to Breathing Life Into Stone Fort Treaty: An Anishinabe Understanding of Treaty One, by Aimée Craft.

Sarah Klassen was shut out of all three categories in which she was nominated for her novel The Wittenbergs, while the other triple nominee, Bill Wright's and Dave Craig’s 300 Years of Beer: An Illustrated History of Brewing in Manitoba, took home the award for best illustrated book of the year.

Winnipeg Free Press writers nabbed some hardware as well. Stuck in the Middle: Dissenting Views of Winnipeg, written by Free Press reporter Bartley Kives with photos by Bryan Scott, won the Carol Shields Winnipeg Book Award, while poet (and Free Press poetry columnist/haiku horoscope writer) Jonathan Ball won the John Hirsch Award for Most Promising Writer.

The rest of Sunday night’s winners, presented by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers:

❚ Landsowne Prize for Poetry: Tether, by Laurelyn Whitt (Seraphim Editions;

❚ Manuela Dias Book Design of the Year: 100 Masters: Only in Canada, by Stephen Borys with Andrew Kear, design by Frank Reimer (Winnipeg Art Gallery);

❚ Fiction: The Insistent Garden, by Rosie Chard (NeWest Press);

❚ Mary Scorer Award for Best Book by a Manitoba Publisher: Manitoba Butterflies: A field guide, by Simone Hébert Allard (Turnstone Press);

❚ McNally Robinson Book for Young People Award:

Younger category: Powwow Counting in Cree, by Penny M. Thomas (HighWater Press);

Older category: The Fall, by Colleen Nelson (Great Plains Teen Fiction);

❚ Michael Van Rooy Award for Genre Fiction: Thunder Road, by Chadwick Ginther (Turnstone Press).

ben.macphee-sigurdson@freepress.mb.ca

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