Jan. 31, 2024
For Immediate Release
WATERLOO — Wilfrid Laurier University has named two finalists for the 2023 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction, a $10,000 prize that recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale or significance.
The 2023 finalists are authors Cody Caetano for Half-Bads in White Regalia: A Memoir and Hilary Peach for Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood.
“Memoir is one of the most popular types of creative non-fiction and these books make it easy to see why,” said Bruce Gillespie, an award juror and associate professor in the User Experience Design program at Laurier’s Brantford campus. “Although strikingly different, these books provide intimate access to experiences and communities that many of us would never be able to learn about firsthand.”
Established and endowed by the late writer and award-winning journalist Edna Staebler in 1991, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is administered by Laurier and the oldest national literary award bestowed by a university in Canada.
“One of the best aspects of this award is how it puts new authors on readers’ radar, which was Edna’s original goal,” said Gavin Brockett, vice-dean of Laurier’s Faculty of Arts. “The two books on this year’s shortlist have broad appeal and are sure to intrigue and surprise a wide range of readers.”
Half-Bads in White Regalia: A Memoir by Cody Caetano
“With Half-Bads in White Regalia: A Memoir (Hamish Hamilton), Cody Caetano has crafted that increasingly rare book: a memoir about childhood with enough lived experience to justify its having been written – and, in this case, written with unrelenting clarity and a compassion beyond his years. Caetano, the child of an Anishinaabe mother and a Portuguese father, writes about growing up in the grey zone between cultures and under the influence of both, one, or neither of his parents in the village of Happyland, near Orillia, Ont. Offsetting the addiction, poverty and broken promises of their parents, Caetano and his siblings make their story one of resilient pragmatism, a story told without judgement, but also without excuse.”
Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood by Hilary Peach
“In Thick Skin: Field Notes from a Sister in the Brotherhood (Anvil Press), Hilary Peach takes the reader on a lively journey through her nearly 30 years as a boilermaker, a lucrative but tough trade that saw her follow jobs from British Columbia to Nova Scotia and across the United States. With wit, humour and pull-no-punches honesty – skills she honed to thrive in this heavily male-dominated trade – the author describes both the rigours and extremes of a boilermaker’s work, welding industrial metal structures as diverse as cargo ships and power plants. Frequently funny and often gritty and surprising, this memoir succeeds in leaving the reader informed, entertained and greatly admiring those who undertake this unseen but invaluable work.”
The winner of the 2023 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction will be announced in the coming weeks. An award ceremony will be held at Laurier’s Waterloo campus this spring.
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