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May 23, 2023
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO — Wilfrid Laurier University has named author Vicki Laveau-Harvie winner of the 2021 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for her book The Erratics: A Memoir. The process of awarding a 2021 winner was postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The Erratics is a clear-eyed account of how and where to draw the line with people we love and survive the aftermath. In this memoir, Laveau-Harvie describes returning from Australia to her childhood home in Alberta to check on her aging parents, who disowned her and her only sister years earlier. She worries that her mother — a long-standing toxic and dangerous presence in her life — is trying to kill her blithely acquiescent father. Despite its troubling subject matter, The Erratics is a darkly humorous and deeply engaging read that leaves an indelible, haunting impression.
“This short book packs a staggering punch. I’ve never read a work of creative non-fiction like it,” said Bruce Gillespie, an award juror and professor in the User Experience Design program at Laurier’s Brantford campus. “Told with an expert’s economy of words and details and pared down to its essentials, The Erratics is a gripping story that I read in almost one sitting.”
In addition to The Erratics: A Memoir, the shortlist for the 2021 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction included Dead Mom Walking: A Memoir of Miracle Cures and Other Disasters by Rachel Matlow and Two Trees Make a Forest: In Search of My Family's Past Among Taiwan's Mountains and Coasts by Jessica J. Lee.
Additional jurors for the 2021 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction included Sharon Brown, former librarian at Wilfrid Laurier University, and Harry Froklage, former associate director, development, in the Faculty of Arts. An intimate virtual congratulations to honour Laveau-Harvie, who lives in Australia, is scheduled for May 24, 2023.
The $10,000 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance. 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.
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Lori Chalmers Morrison, Director: Integrated Communications, External Relations
Wilfrid Laurier University
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