Edmonton Book Prize finalists display a diversity of talent

‘I would like to see greater readership, greater recognition of Alberta writers among readers,’ says new head of Writers Guild of Alberta

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A dystopian future with survivors on campus, a memoir watching for smoke on the horizon and an awakening through a connection to the past; the three finalists for the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize show off the incredible diversity in writing in the city.

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Premee Mohamed was nominated for the City of Edmonton Book Prize for her novella, The Annual Migration of Clouds, a sci-fi horror set at the University of Alberta where a mind-altering fungus causes havoc among survivors.

The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed.
The Annual Migration of Clouds by Premee Mohamed. Supplied

Trina Moyles received the nod for her book, Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest. She writes about her summers working in a fire tower, the struggles of living in solitude for months on end and the pressures of watching for smoke on the horizon.

Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest by Trina Moyles.
Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest by Trina Moyles. Supplied

Glen Huser’s book, Burning the Night, is the third finalist. His novel by him focuses on a man who comes to Edmonton from small-town Alberta to pursue a teaching degree but finds much more through a friendship with his aunt Harriet and the diary her husband kept before he died in the First World War.

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Glen Huser's Burning the Night is a finalist for the City of Edmonton Book Prize.
Glen Huser’s Burning the Night is a finalist for the City of Edmonton Book Prize. Supplied

The three finalists and the winners of numerous awards were named by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta (WGA) at a ceremony Monday.

Giorgia Severini, the new executive director of the WGA, said there are always surprises through the process, books that come to the fore that might not have seen recognition previously. Severini takes over from long-time executive director Carol Holmes, who has been with the organization in various roles since 2008. Holmes retired in March.

“I would like to see greater readership, greater recognition of Alberta writers among readers,” says Severini of her goals with the WGA. “I would like to see Canadian readers, in general, picking up Alberta books.”

On top of the City of Edmonton Book Prize, the guild also announced its shortlist for other prizes, from nonfiction to memoir, poetry and short-story collection.

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Omar Mouallem received three nominations, including two for his book Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped America. Norma Dunning’s book, Tainna: The Unseen Ones, Short Stories, was nominated in the short story collection category. Her book by her previously won the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction. Jordan Abel’s collection of poetry about contemporary Indigenous experience and the residential school system, Nishga, was also nominated for a nonfiction award.

The complete list of finalists can be found at writers guild.ca.

The winners for both the City of Edmonton Book Prize and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta awards will be announced at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 11. The WGA is also organizing readings from finalists. Watch the WGA website for more information.

yegarts@postmedia.com

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