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WATERLOO – Author Sonja Larsen is the winner of the 2017 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for her memoir, Red Star Tattoo: My Life as a Girl Revolutionary (Random House Canada).

Red Star Tattoo is a compelling story of the writer’s unconventional and transient youth, as well as her personal experience in counterculture organizations, including her association with a clandestine wing of the Communist Party of USA.

“As is the case with lives themselves, all memoirs are unique, but this seems especially true of Sonja Larsen’s Red Star Tattoo: My Life as a Girl Revolutionary,” said Bruce Gillespie, an award juror and professor in Wilfrid Laurier University’s Digital Media and Journalism program. “In this coming-of-age story, she looks back at a childhood and adolescence spent searching for a sense of connection and purpose beyond her family, first in a commune and later as part of what she eventually recognized as a cult whose purported goal was to incite an American communist revolution. She captures the environment of paranoia, violence, and futility in which she grew up in a stark, frank style that never tugs on readers’ heartstrings or asks for their pity. Instead, Larsen presents a clear-eyed look at her almost unbelievable past and crafts a character study in resilience that is eminently engaging.”

In addition to Red Star Tattoo, the shortlist for the 2017 Edna Staebler Award included: The Shoe Boy by Duncan McCue (Nonvella) and The Elephants in My Backyard by Rajiv Surendra (Random House Canada).

Sonja Larsen will be celebrated at two public events Nov. 9 and 10 at Wilfrid Laurier University, which administers the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction. These events include:

Thursday, Nov. 9, 3:30-5:00 p.m.:  Award presentation and book reading in the Robert Langen Art Gallery and Library on the Waterloo campus of Wilfrid Laurier University.

Friday, Nov. 10, 11:30 a.m.-1:00 p.m.:  Meet the author in Room CB 100 (Reid Lounge) of the Carnegie Building on Laurier’s Brantford campus.

About The Edna Staebler Award For Creative Non-Fiction

Established and endowed by writer and award-winning journalist Edna Staebler in 1991, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award. 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.

Media Contacts:

Richard Nemesvari, Dean of the Faculty of Arts

Wilfrid Laurier University

E: rnemesvari@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x3891

Kevin Crowley, Director

Communications and Public Affairs, Wilfrid Laurier University

E: kcrowley@wlu.ca
T: 519.884.0710 x3070

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