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Oct. 20, 2016

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Oct. 20, 2016
For Immediate Release

WATERLOO – Wilfrid Laurier University’s Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction will celebrate its 25th anniversary Nov. 3 and 4 with special events at the university’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses and at the Princess Twin Cinema in Waterloo.

“Laurier is very proud to have hosted the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for the past 25 years and to therefore contribute to the emergence of writers beginning to take their place in the world of Canadian authorship,” said Richard Nemesvari, dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Arts. “Edna Staebler was well-known, among all her other accomplishments, for the type of mentorship that encouraged those who met her to pursue their artistry. It is a true indication of her generous spirit that this award allows for the continued support of the literary genre that so inspired her.”

The Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction was established and endowed by writer and award-winning journalist Edna Staebler in 1991. The $10,000 award encourages and recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance.

“This award has raised the profile of creative non-fiction as a genre among both readers and writers in Canada,” said Bruce Gillespie, an award juror and professor in Digital Media and Journalism at Laurier’s Brantford campus. “People used to think of non-fiction as something that was necessarily dry, but by applying the tools and techniques of fiction, such as narrative, character development and dialogue, to non-fiction, it is possible to write about real people and events in a way that is every bit as compelling as the best novel.”

The winner of the 2016 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is The Prison Book Club by Ann Walmsley (Viking). The shortlist for the 2016 Edna Staebler Award included: That Lonely Section of Hell by Lorimer Shenher (Greystone) and The Right to be Cold by Sheila Watt-Cloutier (Allen Lane).

A number of special events are planned to celebrate the 25th anniversary. These include:

  • Nov. 3, 1 p.m. to 2:30 p.m.: A public award presentation and reception for this year's winner, Ann Walmsley, will be held in the Laurier Library on the Waterloo campus.
  • Nov. 3, 7 p.m. to 9 p.m.: Renowned writer, editor and publisher Douglas Gibson will discuss creative non-fiction with past winners of the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, including Wayson Choy and Lynn Thomson, at a public event at the Princess Twin Cinemas in Waterloo. Tickets are $10 for general admission; $5 for students. Purchase tickets to this event.
  • Nov. 4, 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.: Ann Walmsley will be speaking to students, staff and faculty at a public event on Laurier’s Brantford campus at the Carnegie Building. Find out more about this event.

Find more information about the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

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Richard Nemesvari
Dean of Arts 
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3891


Kevin Crowley, Director
Communications & Public Affairs
Wilfrid Laurier University

T: 519.884.0710 x3070



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