2019 Writers’ Trust Awards

The Vicky Metcalf Award for Literature for Young People is given annually to the author of an exceptional body of work in children’s literature and the winner is selected by a three-member judging panel. We would like to congratulate Susin Nielsen who was the recipient of this year’s award!

From the jury citation:

In one of her book titles, Susin Nielsen reminds us we are all made of molecules. Deftly, in her writing, she has managed to mould these molecules into unforgettable characters that lead us in and out of the seismic shifts of adolescence in the earthquake zone of Vancouver, where her stories are set. Nielsen celebrates the amazing resilience of young people as well as the adults around them as they face such trials as mental health issues, bullying, homelessness, and the deaths of siblings and parents. Few writing today can match her ability to make even peripheral characters memorable through a wonderful distillation of dialogue and details. A testimony to her talent is that she manages to put everything together with a humour that can only draw us in and keep us laughing even as we reach for a box of tissues. Witty, tender, fearless in the face of tackling big issues, Nielsen has staked out her territory in children’s literature — and it’s a place worth visiting often.

Word Nerd
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9780887769900
Ages 9-12 | Tundra Books

In this brilliantly observed novel, author Susin Nielsen transports the reader to the world of competitive Scrabble as seen from the honest yet funny viewpoint of a boy who’s searching for acceptance and for a place to call home.

Dear George Clooney, Please Marry My Mom
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770492950
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books

When her mother takes up with the unfortunately named Dudley Wiener, Violet and her friend Phoebe decide that they need to take control. If Violet’s mom can’t pick a decent man herself, they will help her snag George Clooney.

The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770496545
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books

Thirteen-year-old Henry’s happy, ordinary life comes to an abrupt halt when his brother, Jesse, picks up a hunting rifle and leaves the house one morning.

We Are All Made of Molecules
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770497801
Ages 12+ | Tundra Books

Written in alternating voices, Susin Nielsen deftly explores family tragedy and family ties; sibling rivalry and union; and adolescent confusion and revelation.

Optimists Die First
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9781770497832
Ages 12+ | Tundra Books

This touching, hilarious tragi-comedy by award-winning author Susin Nielsen proves: Life is out to get you. But so is love. A quirky alternative to the “sick lit” genre for YA readers.

No Fixed Address
By Susin Nielsen
ISBN 9780735262751
Ages 10+ | Tundra Books

From beloved Governor General Literary Award–winning author Susin Nielsen comes a touching and funny middle-grade story about family, friendship and growing up when you’re one step away from homelessness.

Princess Puffybottom … and Darryl
By Susin Nielsen
Illustrated by Olivia Chin Mueller
ISBN 9781101919255
Ages 3-7 | Tundra Books

What’s a pampered cat to do now that she has to compete for attention with an ill-mannered puppy? Award-winning author Susin Nielsen delights in this laugh-a-minute twist on the classic sibling rivalry story.

9th Annual Writers’ Trust Awards

Last night, the 9th Annual Writers’ Trust Awards was held at the Isabel Bader Theatre in Toronto. The following award winners were announced:

  • Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize
  • Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature
  • Writers’ Trust Notable Author Award
  • Writers’ Trust Award for Distinguished Contribution
  • Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize
  • Rogers’ Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

Congratulations to Marthe Jocelyn on being this year’s recipient of the Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature. This award honours a Canadian author of children’s literature whose body of work is judged to demonstrate the highest literary standards.

In her more than twenty books for preschoolers, elementary school children and young adults, Jocelyn demonstrates a rich versatility with genre, medium and style. She has published compelling narratives in a wide range of genres, including young adult realism, historical fiction, biography/memoir, fantasy and picture books. The emotional range of tone in her work is as broad and deep as her exploration of genre: she writes with equal conviction in the voice of satire, comedy and tragedy. Inventiveness, humour, and a sharp understanding of human nature underlie her work for all ages.

She is a visual artist as well as a verbal one, as her numerous picture books show. Her collage art glories in the beauty and grace of the child’s domain, rich in artefacts, objects of play and contemplation. Her subtle use of endpapers and framing, textured materials, fabrics and found objects — her use of real “kid things” — creates a visual world of identity, interest and choice, showing the creative possibilities and thoughtfulness in the child’s world.

– 2009 Vicky Metcalf Award for Children’s Literature Jury
Deirdre Baker, Julie Johnston and Judith Saltman

Congratulations to all the winners this year! Jian Ghomeshi, of Q on CBC Radio One, hosted the ceremony. He did a great job and kept the event on schedule. From left to right: Jian Ghomeshi, Annabel Lyon, David Bergen, Yasuko Thanh, Brian Brett, Marthe Jocelyn, and Politics & the Pen.

We would like to thank the jurors – Deirdre Baker, Julie Johnston, and Judith Saltman – for all their work. Thank you to everyone who attended the event and cheered for Marthe Jocelyn and gave a round of applause to Publisher, Kathy Lowinger. Finally, thank you to the Sponsors, Board of Directors, Authors’ Committee, and the staff at Writers’ Trust of Canada.