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AT THE LIBRARY: Tis’ the literary awards season

By Greg Hayward

  1. Oscars might be a few months away but here in Canada we are in the midst of the literary award season – a time for the bookish to rejoice and grab a pen to add some of this year’s nominees to their “To Read” list.

The Scotiabank Giller Prize, now in its 25th year, recognizes excellence in Canadian fiction – long format or short stories. This year’s short list of novels was recently released and includes: “French Exit” by Patrick DeWitt, “Songs for the Cold of Heart” by Eric Dupont, “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan, “Motherhood” by Sheila Heti and “An Ocean of Minutes” by Thea Lim. All of these titles are available through your public library, although, of course, they are quite popular at the moment, so if you’re willing to wait you can place your name on the holds list today. The winner of the Scotiabank Giller Prize will be announced on Nov. 19.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada awards prizes from multiple categories including the Vicky Metcalf Award for writers of books for young people. Last year’s winner, Ruby Slipperjack, is hailed as a “trail-breaker in the field of Indigenous literature and of children’s literature in general.” You can find her latest book, “These are my words: The residential school diary of Violet Pesheens” in our print collection and a number of her books are available for download through our eBook collection.

For fans of memoirs, the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction has included a few books from this genre on its short list, “All Things Consoled: A Daughter’s Memoir” by Elizabeth Hay, “Heart Berries: A Memoir” by Terese Mailhot, and “The Woo Woo: How I Survived Ice Hockey, Drug Raids, Demons and My Crazy Chinese Family,” by Lindsay Wong. For a complete list of the Writers’ Trust awards, including the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, you can visit their website (

Finally, the leading literary award in the English speaking world, The Man Booker Prize will announce its winner Nov. 16. Among the Longlisted titles you will find a couple of Canadian authors and their books from this past year, including, “Warlight” by Michael Ondaatje and the previously mentioned “Washington Black” by Esi Edugyan, whose storyline includes a brief stopover in Nova Scotia. The list also includes the novels, “The Mars Room,” by Rachel Kushner, and “In our Mad and Furious City” by Guy Gunaratne. A real standout from the long list is, “Sabrina,” by Nick Drasno, the first graphic novel to be considered for this type of literary award. A list of all the books selected for the Man Booker Prize long list can be found on their website (

All of these books are available for free with your Pictou-Antigonish Regional Library card. You can either stop by in person or give your local branch a call during open hours to put your name on the holds list. Or you can always check out our online catalogue (, which is open 24/7, to place a hold the book of your choice for pickup at the library nearest you.

As you may have guessed many of these award nominees are popular books at the moment so you may have to wait a few weeks for your turn. While you wait your local library branch staff are always happy to make reading suggestions based on your interests and can help you find read-a-likes to many of these award nominees or in any genre of your choosing. We can even help you browse the lists of previous award winners to set you off on your literary journey. If you are interested in joining a book discussion group you can ask about our book club programs, now available at all of our branches. Most book clubs require registration, so call your local branch to find out more information about their regular book club program.

Happy Reading! For more information on upcoming library programs, special events and services, please drop by your local library branch, follow us on Twitter, find us on Facebook, or visit us online at

Sensory Storytime program Oct. 13

A new program coming up at the New Glasgow library is Sensory Storytime, on Saturday Oct. 13 at 10:15 a.m.

Sensory Storytime is an inclusive program which features stories, songs, rhymes, and sensory activities for children ages 3-9 and their caregivers. This program is open to all children, although if you have a child with sensory processing challenges, is on the Autism spectrum, or has difficulty sitting for a typical storytime, this may be a good option for you.

For more information, contact the New Glasgow Library at (902) 752-8233.

Sensory Storytime also take place every Wednesday at the Pictou Library at 2 p.m. For more information on the Sensory Storytime in Pictou contact the Pictou Library at (902) 485-5021.

Greg Hayward is technical services librarian and branch librarian for the New Glasgow Library.

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