Atlantic Book Awards 2020

As the Atlantic Book Awards have announced their shortlist, I thought it would be interesting to see how many we’ve been able to review here at The Miramichi Reader. Not as many as I have thought! Generally speaking, we can only review the books we are sent (and there are a lot of those) so we always seem to miss out on some great titles. The links below are all reviews posted here or at Consumed by Ink, with whom we share a common love of all things Atlantic.

Here’s the full shortlist:


1.  Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction

A Dark House and Other Stories by Ian Colford (Vagrant Press – a Nimbus imprint)

DIG by Terry Doyle (Breakwater Books)

Nosy White Woman by Martha Wilson (Biblioasis)

2.  Ann Connor Brimer Award for Children’s Literature

EveryBody’s Different on EveryBody Street by Sheree Fitch (Nimbus Publishing)

A World Below by Wesley King (Simon & Schuster/Paula Wiseman Books)

I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas (Nimbus Publishing)

3.  Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association Best Atlantic-Published Book Award Sponsored by Friesens Corporation

Almost Feral by Gemma Hickey (Breakwater Books)

I Lost My Talk by Rita Joe and I’m Finding My Talk by Rebecca Thomas (companion books), illustrated by Pauline Young (Nimbus Publishing)

Land Beyond the Sea by Kevin Major (Breakwater Books)

4.  Atlantic Book Award for Scholarly Writing, Sponsored by Marquis Book Printing

Shaped by Silence:  Stories from Inmates of the Good Shepherd Laundries and Reformatories by Rie Croll (ISER Books)

The Wake:  The Deadly Legacy of a Newfoundland Tsunami by Linden MacIntyre (HarperCollins Canada)

Truth and Conviction:  Donald Marshall Jr. and the Mi’kmaw Quest for Justice by L. Jane McMillan (UBC Press)

5.  Democracy 250 Atlantic Book Award for Historical Writing

Listening for the Dead Bells by Marian Bruce (Island Studies Press)

As British as the King:  Lunenburg County During the First World War by Gerald Hallowell (Nimbus Publishing)

Dangerous Enemy Sympathizers:  Canadian Internment Camp B, 1940-1945 by Andrew Theobald (Goose Lane Editions)

6.  Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award

Daughter of Family G:  A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate by Ami McKay (Knopf Canada)

Mayann Francis: An Honourable Life by The Honourable Dr. Mayann Francis (Nimbus Publishing)

Hell and Damnation:  A Sinner’s Guide to Eternal Torment by Marq de Villiers (University of Regina Press)

7.  Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction), presented by Boyne Clarke LLP

The Difference by Marina Endicott (Knopf Canada)

Broken Symmetry by Rosalie Osmond (Nevermore Press)

Crow by Amy Spurway (Goose Lane Editions)

8.  J.M. Abraham Poetry Award

Year of the Metal Rabbit by Tammy Armstrong (Gaspereau Press)

Smallholding by Anne Compton (Fitzhenry and Whiteside)

Belated Bris of the Brainsick by Lucas Crawford (Nightwood Editions)

9.  Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration

Denise Gallagher, illustrator for Peg Bearskin:  A Traditional Newfoundland Tale, written by adapted by Andy Jones and Philip Dinn from a story told by Mrs. Elizabeth Brewer (Running the Goat Books)

Danielle Loranger, illustrator for Un géant dans la tête, written by Danielle Loranger (Bouton D’or Acadie)

Sydney Smith, illustrator, for Small in the City, written by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books)

10.  Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Non-Fiction, sponsored by Downtown Dartmouth Business Commission, Weed Man Maritimes, Heritage House Law Office, I Love Renovations and Simply Sage Solutions

Almost Feral by Gemma Hickey (Breakwater Books)

Wounded Hearts:  Memories of the Halifax Protestant Orphans’ Home by Lois Legge (Nimbus Publishing)

Transplanted:  My Cystic Fibrosis Double-Lung Transplant Story by Allison Watson (Nimbus Publishing)

11.  Margaret and John Savage First Book Award – Fiction, sponsored by the family of John and Margaret Savage and Royden Trainor

DIG by Terry Doyle (Breakwater Books)

Going Dutch:  A Novel by James Gregor (Simon & Schuster)

Crow by Amy Spurway (Goose Lane Editions)

12.  Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Non-fiction), presented by the Kiwanis Club of Dartmouth

Grandfather’s House:  Returning to Cape Breton by Clive Doucet (Nimbus Publishing)

Daughter of Family G:  A Memoir of Cancer Genes, Love and Fate by Ami McKay (Knopf Canada)

Ghosts Within:  Journeying Through PTSD by Garry Leech (Fernwood Publishing)

13.  Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award

Crocuses Hatch from Snow by Jaime Burnet (Vagrant Press – a Nimbus imprint)

The Innocents by Michael Crummey (Doubleday Canada)

The Waiting Hours by Shandi Mitchell (Viking Canada)

In light of the ongoing COVID-19 emergency, the 2020 Atlantic Book Festival and awards gala, initially planned for this month, is now taking place online through the month of June, with the winners announced on June 30.   Details will be posted shortly at and through social media as they become available. 

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.