2023 Glengarry Book Award Prize recipient
Sharon Butala – ‘Leaving Wisdom’
Regina – January 27, 2024 – Launched by the Saskatchewan Foundation For the Arts (SFFA) 2021, the Glengarry Book Award Prize was created to support and foster Saskatchewan’s literary culture. The Glengarry Book Award Prize is an annual award for the first edition of an English language novel or book of short fiction. This award is the vision of donor and book lover Claire Kramer, a founding trustee of the SFFA.
The annual $20,000 (CAD) prize celebrates authors with Saskatchewan roots. In its third year, the SFFA is proud to announce Sharon Butala as this year’s recipient of the province’s largest literary prize.
“I am delighted to honour Sharon Butala with this award,” says Kramer. “Whether they began their career in Saskatchewan or were schooled in the province, the authors are connected to the land. We are proud of the continued momentum in our third year and look forward to continuing to support the creativity of Saskatchewan writers who share stories with readers far beyond our borders.”
Sharon Butala says, “In establishing Saskatchewan’s most important literary prize, Claire Kramer has not only assisted individual writers but is actively spreading the word across Canada about Saskatchewan’s rich literary culture and the talent of our writers. I am deeply honoured by this award.”
Leaving Wisdom, tells a thought-provoking story of life in small town Saskatchewan and the shock Judith, the protagonist experiences after the anonymity of a big city. Her story tells not only the suffering that comes from family secrets, but also unfolds one woman’s late life awakening to the complex shadows cast by World War Two and the Holocaust.
Managed and administered by the SFFA, The Glengarry Book Award Prize selects its jury from a pool of Canadian authors, literary publishers and organizations. The 2023 jury members were author Marina Endicott, Glenda MacFarlane, editor of Scirocco Books in Winnipeg and writer Maggie Siggins, and was chaired by Valerie Creighton, CEO of the Canada Media Fund.
Creighton says, “The Jury selected the novel Leaving Wisdom for its strong craft of writing. A powerful narrative – one that stays true to character from start to finish, and themes addressing the struggle of being true to one’s understanding of the world, that resonate across generations. It’s been an honour to work with Claire Kramer and the Foundation to establish this award and to chair the jury. The impact of this award is significant for our province.”
Shortlisted novels for the 2023 Glengarry Book Award Prize include Dee Hobsbawn-Smith’s Danceland Diary, andMichael Afenfia’s Leave My Bones in Saskatoon.
Kramer says, “Realising a dream to contribute to recognizing and encouraging Saskatchewan authors became a reality in partnership with the Saskatchewan Foundation For the Arts. My thanks to them, the juries and the creative storytellers.”
Butala has written over 22 novels and nonfiction books, including The Perfection of the Morning, Where I Live Now, Zara’s Dead, Fever and Wild Rose. Born in Nipawin in 1940, Butala resided in Saskatchewan for over 60 years. She began her education in a one-room eight-grade school and furthered her studies at The University of Saskatchewan campus as a student and teacher.
Her previous awards include the Marian Engel Award for Women Writers in Mid-Career, the 1986 Writers’ Choice Award, Saskatchewan Book Awards and Western Magazine Awards. She has also won a Saskatchewan Writers Guild Member’s Achievement Award, a Canadian Authors’ Award, Canada 125 Commemorative Medal, Queen’s Jubilee Medal and the Centennial Medal. She is a three-time Governor General’s Literary Award nominee. In 2002, she became an officer of the Order of Canada.
For her ninth novel, Leaving Wisdom, Butala joins previous Glengarry Book Award Prize recipients and award-winning authors Diane Warren for The Diamond House (2021 recipient), and GuyVanderhaeghe for August into Winter (2022 recipient.)
“The Glengarry Book Award Prize follows a long history of Saskatchewan arts patrons supporting and celebrating the arts. We are honoured to be a part of recognizing the literary artists who have made their mark on Saskatchewan,” says Gursh Barnard, Chair of the Board of Trustees.
About the Saskatchewan Foundation For the Arts
The Saskatchewan Foundation For the Arts (SFFA) is a public Foundation dedicated solely to creating a legacy of financial support for the arts and artists in Saskatchewan, through the generous financial support of individuals, organizations, and corporations.
Gursh Barnard: Chair, Board of Trustees