It is time to announce the winners of the 2018 “The Very Best!” Book Awards! For the first time, I have chosen to restrict the awards to three categories: Best First Book (fiction or non-fiction), Best Fiction, and Best Non-Fiction. I have also chosen to award a small gift to the “notable achievement” books in each category.
It was difficult to choose six books from this year’s shortlist. Very difficult! The shortlisted books are all four and five-star reads in my estimation. Yet, the six winners were standouts in some distinct way: a book that earns a special place on an already overcrowded bookshelf, or one you want to read again or recommend to a friend.
Note that my realm of reading is limited due to the fact I can only read so much in a year. I try to promote east coast authors and small and independent publishing houses. In select cases, I will get books from Ontario and Quebec (and some are 2018 winners), but for the most part, Canada’s Atlantic provinces provide the bulk of the books I read. There are many excellent writers here in the East to read!
This year I have a small, but unique, award to give each winner: a “soap book” which is a bar of handmade soap encased in a specially designed book cover! This gift was generously supplied by Miramichi’s own Clean Suds Soap Co. The scent is called “Miramichi Sunrise” and it has “dewy, green, fresh, fruity florals as well as apple, berries, cyclamen, water lily, rose and musk notes.” I have also added a “notable achievement” prize for each of the three categories: a personal-size bar of Amber-scented artisan soap.
Here are the 2018 winners:
- Quarry by Catherine Graham (Best Fiction)
- The Land’s Long Reach by Valerie Mills-Milde (Notable Achievement-Fiction)
- The Art and Passion of Guido Nincheri by Melanie Grondin (Best First Book – Non-Fiction)
- Watermark by Jennifer Farquhar (Best First Book – Fiction)
- Following the River by Lorri Neilsen Glenn (Best Non-Fiction)
- The Homing Place by Rachel Bryant (Notable Achievement- Non-Fiction)
(If the winning authors could contact me with a mailing address via my Contact page, I will try and get your award out to you as soon as possible.)
Thanks to all the authors and publishers who sent me books to review over the past year! Your Tweets, Re-Tweets, Likes, Shares, etc. on various social media sites were truly appreciated. Thanks, too to Tina at Clean Suds Soap Co. of Miramichi for generously designing, producing and packaging the prizes. Her Facebook page is here: https://www.facebook.com/cleansudssoapco/
Happy reading in 2019! My longlist for the next reading year is already stocked with good titles. You can find it here along with past nominees: https://miramichireader.ca/very-best-awards/
James M. Fisher is the owner and editor-in-chief of The Miramichi Reader. He began TMR in 2015, realizing that there was a genuine need for more book reviews of Canadian literature. It has since become Canada’s best-regarded source for the finest in new literary releases. James has been interviewed about TMR on CBC Radio and other media sites. James works as a Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) Technologist and lives in Miramichi, New Brunswick with his wife Diane and their tabby cat Eddie.