Awards: Molson; Acorn Foundation Fiction

The Canadian Council for the Arts has awarded Lawrence Hill, author of The Book of Negroes and The Illegal, the CA$50,000 (about US$37,000) Molson Prize, which "recognizes two individuals each year--one in arts and one in social sciences--who have made outstanding contributions to Canada," for his distinguished career in the arts, CBC reported. The second honoree was Kent Roach from the University of Toronto for his work in the field of social sciences and humanities.

"The Molson Prize will serve as great encouragement and inspiration as I continue in my role as professor of creative writing at the University of Guelph," Hill said. "It will also help me focus on researching and writing a new novel about the thousands of African American soldiers who came up from the Deep South to build the Alaska Highway through northern B.C. and the Yukon during World War II."


Catherine Chidgey won New Zealand's richest writing award, the NZ$50,000 (about US$34,630) Acorn Foundation Fiction Prize, for her novel The Wish Child, Booksellers NZ reported. The judges said the winning book "exposes and celebrates the power of words--so dangerous they must be cut out or shredded, so magical they can be wondered at and conjured with--Chidgey also exposes the fragility and strength of humanity... Compelling and memorable, you'll be caught by surprise by its plumbing of depths and sudden moments of grace, beauty and light."

Chidgey was one of four Ockham New Zealand Book Awards category winners. The others, each of whom received NZ$10,000 (about US$6,925), are Fits & Starts by Andrew Johnston (poetry), Can You Tolerate This? by Ashleigh Young (nonfiction) and A History of New Zealand Women by Barbara Brookes (illustrated nonfiction).

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