Canadian Book Club Award winners
December 12th, 2023
Christina Myers (at right) has won the Canadian Book Club Award for Fiction for her novel, The List of Last Chances (Caitlin Press, 2021). The narrative follows thirty-eight-year-old Ruthie, facing unemployment, a fresh single life and a descend to alcoholism on a friend’s couch. Desperate for a job, she responds to David’s ad, taking up the job to drive his mother, Kay, from PEI to Vancouver, hoping for a brief escape and a financial boost. However, Kay’s journey transforms into a blend of sightseeing, a sexual bucket-list and a stroll down memory lane, leading Ruthie into a web of well-intentioned lies, unexpected friendships, and the prospect of second chances in this book. As Kay shares details of a long-lost love, Ruthie, unintentionally playing matchmaker, finds herself caught between past and present. The road ahead becomes uncertain, prompting Ruthie to navigate a new path amid heartfelt moments and humorous twists, ultimately shaping a story of unforeseen adventures and the unique gift of starting anew.
Myers is a writer, editor and former journalist. She edited the award-winning anthology BIG (Caitlin Press, 2020), and her work has appeared in anthologies, magazines and newspapers. An alumnus of the Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University, she now teaches creative writing through SFU’s continuing studies.
The Canadian Book Club Award for Fantasy/Sci-fi was awarded to Kate Gateley for Mantle of the World Ruler (FriesenPress, 2023), the second installment of the Lost Well Trilogy. Julia Harrison, a formidable magic Bearer, faces a destiny shaped by an ancient curse and a new prophecy. Having endured a year of intense violence, magic and a profound, recurring love across lifetimes, Julia emerges as a powerful magic wielder, surpassing the abilities of her predecessors. Her imminent path unfolds in two stark possibilities: fulfilling the prophesized role as the Sovereign, the chalice of the World Ruler, or succumbing to the ruthless Cassius Longinus, known as The Child of Rome, whose quest for true immortality threatens the lives of everything dear to Julia.
Author Kate Gateley seamlessly continues the story from the previous book, immersing readers in a world teeming with romance, magic, and peril. Amidst the intricate dynamics of Bearers, Wielders, Knaves, and Wraiths, the narrative explores the unbreakable bond between Julia and Domhnall O’Brien, cursed to traverse lifetimes until they can save each other. As the stakes escalate, Mantle of the World Ruler promises a captivating journey filled with suspense, mystique, and the relentless pursuit of destiny in a realm defined by dark Druidic magic.
Lesia Kohut bagged the Canadian Book Club Award for Spirituality/Health & Wellness for her book, Soul Excavation: An Exploration and Discovery of Self Through Fear, Failure, and Quantum Physics (Hybrid Global Publishing, 2022). This book chronicles Kohut’s transformative journey from a life dominated by pain, anger and fear to a conscious embrace of her core identity as infinite creativity, resilience and love. Kohut courageously delves into her early experiences, revealing the roots of three limiting beliefs— “I am not good enough,” “I am not smart enough,” and “I don’t have what it takes”—formed through a turbulent relationship with her father and a complex connection with God.
The narrative unfolds through tales of heartache, loss and triumph, including the painful closure of her dream pastry shop. Kohut shares her struggles with attempted suicide, alcoholism and a sense of inherent brokenness. The turning point comes as she immerses herself in spiritual and consciousness studies, exploring quantum physics. This exploration sparks a profound shift, allowing her to break free from past patterns and embrace a new perspective. Kohut invites readers to recognize their own power to choose love over fear, emphasizing the capacity to shape reality and tap into limitless creativity and resilience. The book serves as an inspiring testament to the transformative potential within each individual’s journey of self-discovery.
Hieu Pham-Fraser took home the Childrens award for her book, The Little Girl (FriesenPress, 2022). Inspired by the real experiences of a Vietnamese refugee family, the narrative follows a little girl who arrives at a new home where a piece of her name is gradually taken away, first by a border guard and then by a teacher at her new school. This new place is both beautiful and frightening, and she faces the challenge of learning various skills in a foreign language. She works diligently every day, but doubts linger about whether she will ever be good enough and how she is going to tackle all these changes without her name. The story highlights the unintended consequences of well-intentioned actions, such as anglicizing foreign names for the convenience of those in power, while exploring the impact on an individual’s well-being when their identity is erased or altered. Pham-Fraser has worked as an educator for over twenty-five years. She has a bachelor’s and a master’s degree in education, a diploma in English Language Learning, and certificates in special education and reading intervention. She has taught every grade from preschool to university, and currently works as a school administrator in the Metro Vancouver area.
Awfully Hilarious: Stories We Never Tell (Library and Archives Canada, 2023) won the Canadian Book Club Award for Anthology. Curated by Heather Hendrie and her close friends, this book brings together a handpicked crew of emerging writers to share brave and authentic stories that resonate with the experiences we often keep to ourselves. From the trenches of Tinder to mishaps with tiny toilets, these pages unfold a courageous tell-all, weaving tales of getting drunk, public pants-peeing and navigating bad dates. Hendrie, a creative radical with a penchant for life’s unpredictable journey, draws on her own mishaps, from Ms. Frizzle look-alike bus tours in Calgary to swiping through the Tinder-verse. Her journey, marked by stumbling through disasters, led her to become a clinical counselor, offering solace through her intimate writing style. This collection, born from consoling a friend after a bad date, emerges as a refreshing blend of poignant and hilarious truth-telling with the power to heal.
Sophie Sullivan was given the Canadian Book Club Award for Romance for her book, How to Love Your Neightbor: A Novel (St. Martin’s Griffin, 2022). The story follows Grace Travis, armed with a degree from Interior Design School and a cute house to fix up, is on a determined path to her dream job and a place to belong. However, her plans hit a snag when her sexy yet grumpy neighbor, Noah Jansen, becomes an unexpected roadblock. As a real estate developer, Noah sees potential in the beachfront property Grace is fixing up and aims to expand by taking over the house next door. This sparks an all-out feud between them, shattering the rules of neighborly conduct. Amidst the clash, Noah and Grace find themselves in an unforeseen journey that reveals sometimes a nemesis can show you that home is where the heart truly belongs.
ABOUT THE AWARDS
The Canadian Book Club Awards are open to any English language book published within the past 6 years. Self-published, traditionally published and hybrid-published books are welcome. Authors must hold copyright to their book, and books must be available for purchase in physical form on Amazon.