Bringing home the Leacock
June 14th, 2016
At a banquet in Orillia, Ontario, Susan Juby has won $15,000 and the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour (for best book of Canadian literary humour) for her second comic novel, Republic of Dirt: Return to Woefield (HarperCollins), about the troubles that befall Prudence Burns as she struggles to maintain her farm as she also battles a mysterious illness. It’s the sequel to The Woefield Poultry Collective in which a nice girl from Brooklyn, Prudence Burns, inherits an untended plot of land named Woefield Farm. Her farm hands are Earl, an elderly, reclusive bluegrass legend; Seth, an agoraphobic heavy-metal blogger in early recovery from alcoholism; and Sara, an 11-year-old girl with a flock of elite show poultry. Less than two months earlier, Juby also won her second Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Prize for The Truth Commission (Razerbill) at the B.C. Book Prizes in Victoria. She first won the Egoff Prize in 2015 for the second novel in her “Alice series,’ Miss Smithers (Harpercollins, 2004), in which her would-be fashion designer protagonist competes in a local beauty pageant–as Juby once did herself, failing miserably.
Previous Leacock winners from B.C. include Mark Leiren-Young, Arthur Black (3), Bill Richardson, Howard White, W.P. Kinsella, Eric Nicol (3) and Earle Birney.