Shortlist for 2017 NL Book Awards announced in Carbonear

Finalists will be in St. John’s at the end of April for announcement of winners

Published on April 6, 2017

Poet Robin Durnford after hearing her name announced on the shortlist for the 2017 E.J. Pratt Poetry Award.

©Chris Lewis/TC Media

Three authors and three poets will be heading to St. John’s at the end of the month, after their names were announced on the shortlist for the 2017 NL Book Awards Wednesday night.

The shortlist was announced at the Carbonear Public Library, where Andrew Peacock revealed the list of names. Peacock, a Freshwater resident who won the Non-Fiction Book Award in 2015, also read an exert from his own book, “Creatures of the Rock: A Veterinarian’s Adventures in Newfoundland.”

The 2017 NL Non-Fiction Book Award will be awarded to the best non-fiction writer published in 2015 and 2016 on April 26th. The E.J. Pratt Poetry Award will be awarded a day earlier, on April 25th.

Carmelita McGrath won the E.J. Pratt Award in 2015, for her collection of poetry titled “Escape Velocity.”

Andrew Peacock, winner of the 2015 NL Book Award, reading a selection from his book, “Creatures of the Rock: A Veterinarian’s Adventures in Newfoundland.”
Chris Lewis/TC Media

Peacock told The Compass that making it to the shortlist for an award like this is no small feat, and that everyone involved should feel great knowing that their work has been recognized in such a way.
“No one writes a book or a poem to win an award,” said Peacock. “They write because they love to write. That being said, to have your work recognized in such a way by your fellow writers is an honour all on its own.”

The shortlist for the 2017 NL Non-Fiction Book Award:

-       Jenny Higgins for “Newfoundland in the First World War” (Boulder Publications)

-       John Nick Jeddore for “Moccasin Tracks: A Memoir of Mi’kmaw Life in Newfoundland” (ISER Books)

-       James McLeod or “Turmoil, As Usual: Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and the Road to the 2015 Election” (Creative Book Publishing)


The shortlist for the 2017 E.J. Pratt Poetry Award:

-       Michael Crummey for “Little Dogs: Poems Selected and New” (McClelland & Stewart)

-       Robin Durnford for “Half Rock” (Gaspereau Press)

-       Patrick Warner for “Octopus” (Biblioasis)


The event was hosted in Carbonear for the first time, after having been held in St. John’s every other year. This is because the number of people showing up in St. John’s was much smaller than expected, and Peacock noted that the number of writers who showed up in Carbonear was already enough to justify coming back in the future.

Peacock, who is originally from Ontario, also explained how it felt to receive the award back in 2015.

“People originally told me I’d never get published in Newfoundland, because my book may come across as poking fun at Newfoundland culture,” Peacock said. “But that’s obviously not the case. Winning the award was not just being recognized as a writer by other writers, it was being recognized as an honourary Newfoundlander by other Newfoundlanders.”

“So, yes, winning the award is great, but at the end of the day, it became so much more than just an award,” added Peacock.