Each year, the Dublin Literary Award receives nominations for its longlist from libraries all over the world. We would like to congratulate Heather Smith whose wonderful novel, Barry Squires, Full Tilt was one of eight Canadian titles nominated for this year’s award. The jury will announce the shortlist on March 22 and a winner will be announced on May 19 as part of the opening day of International Literature Festival Dublin.
Barry Squires, Full Tilt
By Heather T. Smith
232 Pages | Ages 12+ | Hardcover
ISBN 9780735267466 | Penguin Teen Canada
It’s 1995. When the Full Tilt Dancers give an inspiring performance at the opening of the new bingo hall, twelve-year-old Finbar (Barry) Squires wants desperately to join the troupe. Led by Father O’Flaherty, the Full Tilt Irish Step Dancers are the most sought-after act in St. John’s, Newfoundland (closely followed by popular bagpiper, Alfie Bragg and his Agony Bag). Having watched Riverdance twice, Barry figures he’ll nail the audition. And good thing too – it’d be nice to be known for something other than the port wine stain on his cheek. With questionable talent and an unpredictable temper, Barry’s journey to stardom is jeopardized by his parents’ refusal to take his dreams seriously. Thankfully, Barry has the support of a lively cast of characters: his ever-present grandmother, Nanny Squires; his adorable baby brother, Gord; an old British rocker named Uneven Steven; a group of geriatrics from the One Step Closer to God Nursing Home; and Saibal, a friend with whom Barry gets up to no good.
“Barry Squires has a port wine birthmark on his face. This both marks him as special but also foreshadows the cruelty of a random and indifferent universe. Barry Squires: Full Tilt by Heather Smith is a rare young adult book which deals with a riotously funny yet sensitive teenaged boy. This novel follows Barry as he copes (or doesn’t) with family strife, bullying, class and racial divisions, and even greater tragedy. A well-drawn community surrounds and supports Barry and his family as they get knocked down and struggle back up again in a story that refuses to give up its optimistic bent, even in the very darkest of times. Barry Squires is a kid you will never forget.
Barry Squires: Full Tilt by Heather Smith has been longlisted for the 2020 Winterset award and is a CBC Best Book (Young Adult) among many other accolades. Through this and previous works, Heather Smith has established herself as one of the leading young adult authors in Canada.” – St. John’s Public Libraries (Provincial Resources Division), Canada