Alan Twigg’s tribute to Rudolf Vrba

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Always a bridesmaid

May 08th, 2017

Indefatigable author Neil McKinnon, has come close to winning three literary awards this year. His unpublished manuscript, Yoshida’s Sword, placed second for the 2017 David Adams Richards Prize, a national competition for unpublished manuscripts sponsored by the Writers Federation of New Brunswick.

The judge, Darren Greer, wrote: “Yoshida’s Sword is an interesting exploration of Japanese/Canadian history and culture, and the broader culture of a man displaced. A literary story with an appealing element of historical suspense.”

The story, a mix of history and fiction, tells about a national treasure of Japan that was found in Canada, the dispossession and expulsion of Japanese Canadians during World War II, and a failed military coup.

The other 2017 literary awards for which McKinnon placed are: 3rd prize, Royal City Literary Arts Society Write On! Short Non-Fiction Contest, New Westminster, BC; and 2nd prize, Word on the Lake Short Fiction Contest, Salmon Arm, BC.

“Always a bridesmaid,” he says.

But in fact, McKinnon has won writing prizes in the past. In 1999, he collected 1st prize at the Canadian Authors Association International Writing Contest in Toronto in the Short Non-Fiction Category. And he has won first place for Best Humor Writing, Best Historical Article and Best Fiction Award at El Ojo del Lago, Mexico.

McKinnon’s background includes stints as a businessman, archaeologist, university lecturer and freelance writer. He has worked in China, Japan, Mexico, Canada, and the U.S. and holds a B.Sc. in math and BA and MA in archaeology. He is an alumnus of the Writing with Style program at the Banff Centre.

McKinnon’s book Tuckahoe Slidebottle (Thistledown 2006) was short-listed for the 2007 Stephen Leacock Award for humour and for the 2007 Alberta Book Award for short fiction. His other published book is The Greatest Lover of Last Thursday (Thistledown 2015).

He lives in Langley.

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