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Coming of age for Indigenous identity
Books on lacrosse and growing up Cree in northern Alberta are among dozens of Canadian-history titles to be recognized by book prize juries so far this year, along with books about labour relations, taxes and efforts by women to gain the vote.
Allan Downey’s Creator’s Game: Lacrosse, Identity, and Indigenous Nationhood won the 2019 Canada Prize in the Humanities and Social Sciences, with the jury saying it “tells the fascinating story of Canada’s national game of lacrosse” and “makes an important and valuable contribution to Canadian cultural history and social understanding in an era with hopes of reconciliation and better understanding.”
Another finalist for that award, Shirley Tillotson’s Give and Take: The Citizen-Taxpayer and the Rise of Canadian Democracy, won the Canadian Historical Association’s 2019 Best Scholarly Book in Canadian History Prize.
The winner of the 2019 J.W. Dafoe Book Prize for the best book on Canada, Canadians, or Canada’s place in the world is Power, Politics and Principles: Mackenzie King and Labour, 1935–1948, by Taylor Hollander.
The jury called Hollander’s book “lively and substantial,” saying “it completes the portrait of Mackenzie King by showing his prime-ministerial mastery” in the area of labour relations.
Other shortlisted Canadian-history books were The Making of the October Crisis: Canada’s Long Nightmare of Terrorism at the Hands of the FLQ, by D’Arcy Jenish, and One Hundred Years of Struggle: The History of Women and the Vote in Canada, by Joan Sangster.
Meanwhile, the historical novel The Last Beothuk, by Gary Collins, was selected for the long list of the International Dublin Literary Award. And Darrel J. McLeod’s Mamaskatch: A Cree Coming of Age, already the winner of the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Non-fiction, was a finalist for the 2019 RBC Taylor Prize as well as for several other prizes.
Canadian history titles were well-represented at this year’s regional book prizes. Here’s a selection of other winners and finalists for regional awards:
BC and Yukon Book Prizes
- E.J. Hughes Paints Vancouver Island, by Robert Amos
- Murder by Milkshake: An Astonishing True Tale of Adultery, Arsenic, and a Charismatic Killer, by Eve Lazarus
Other book prizes in British Columbia
- Claiming the Land: British Columbia and the Making of a New El Dorado, by Daniel Marshall
- Don’t Never Tell Nobody Nothin’ No How: the Real Story of West Coast Rum Running, by Rick James
- On the Line: A History of the British Columbia Labour Movement, by Rod Mickleburgh
- Against the Current: The Remarkable Life of Agnes Deans Cameron, by Cathy Converse
Alberta Book Publishing Awards
- The Stories Were Not Told: Canada’s First World War Internment Camps, by Sandra Semchuk
- Metis Pioneers: Marie Rose Delorme Smith and Isabella Clark Hardisty Lougheed, by Doris Jeanne MacKinnon
- American Labour’s Cold War Abroad: From Deep Freeze to Detente, 1945–1970, by Anthony Carew
Saskatchewan Book Awards
- Man of the Trees: Richard St. Barbe Baker, The First Global Conservationist, by Paul Hanley
- Prairie Fairies: A History of Queer Communities and People in Western Canada, 1930–1985, by Valerie J. Korinek
- Psychedelic Revolutionaries: LSD and the Birth of Hallucinogenic Research, by P.W. Barber
- The Prairie Populist: George Hara Williams and the Untold Story of the CCF, by J.F. Conway
Manitoba Book Awards
- More Abandoned Manitoba: Rivers, Rails and Ruins, by Gordon Goldsborough
- Seeking the Fabled City: The Canadian Jewish Experience, by Allan Levine
- Rooster Town: The History of an Urban Métis Community, 1901–1961, by Evelyn Peters, Matthew Stock, and Adrian Werner
- Exploring the Old Trans-Canada East: Canada’s Route 66, by Clint Cannon
Ontario Historical Society Awards
- One Job Town: Work, Belonging, and Betrayal in Northern Ontario, by Steven High
- Our Voices Must Be Heard: Women and the Vote in Ontario, by Tarah Brookfield
- Wartime: The First World War in a Canadian Town, by Edward Butts
Atlantic Book Awards
- Where Duty Lies: A New Brunswick Soldier in the Trenches of World War I, by John Cunningham
- The Blind Mechanic: The Amazing Story of Eric Davidson, Survivor of the 1917 Halifax Explosion, by Marilyn Davidson Elliott
- Viola Desmond: Her Life and Times, by Graham Reynolds and Wanda Robson
- Following the River: Traces of Red River Women, by Lorri Neilsen Glenn
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