Beloved Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock was a founding member of the CAA, which was formed in 1921 with the motto "Writers helping Writers." For the past ninety years, the Association has been active in supporting Canadian letters. Recent national conferences were held in Victoria (2010) and Grand Bend, Ontario (2011).
In Orillia, Ontario, the Canadian Authors' Association gave out its annual prizes as part of the ongoing Leacock Summer Festival. The ceremony, a dinner followed by author readings, took place at the Leacock Museum National Historic Site.
The winner of the fiction award, Tom Rachman (The Imperfectionists, Dial Press, London/Random House Canada), adds his name to a very distinguished list including Hugh MacLennan, Joy Kogawa, Timothy Findley, Alberto Manguel, Margaret Atwood, Anne-Marie MacDonald, Alistair MacLeod and Joseph Boyden.
The poetry winner, Julia McCarthy, (Return to Erebus, Brick Books) finds herself on a long list of accomplished poets. A few of the best-known are Leonard Cohen, P.K. Page, Al Purdy, Patrick Lane, and George Bowering.
Shelagh D. Grant of Peterborough was recognized for excellence in writing Canadian history for Polar Imperative: a History of Arctic Sovereignty in North America (Douglas & McIntyre). Grant joins such illustrious predecessors as Will Ferguson, Ken McGoogan, Ishmael Alunik, Charlotte Gray, Jack L. Granatstein and Robert Wright.
Spoken word poet Titilope Sonuga of Edmonton won the Emerging Writer award with her poetry collection, Down to Earth. This is a new award, and was won last year by Rachel Delaney, also of Edmonton, for a children's book.
The Allan Sangster Award recognizes meritorious service to the Association, and was given this year to Anthony Dalton. Tony, a member and Past President of National and of the Vancouver Branch of the CAA, is a writer, photographer and lecturer. Much of his work is based on his adventure travels to locations all over the world.
The CAA is a great national organization, with a very active branch in Vancouver. For more information on local events, contact Branch President Bob Mackay, who last year launched his novel about Canadian Cavalry in WWI, Soldier of the Horse.