The ReLit Awards honour the best Canadian books published by independent presses
CBC Books · Posted: Apr 07, 2021 2:21 PM ET | Last Updated: April 8
After a four-year hiatus, the ReLit Awards have returned.
The ReLit Awards honour the best Canadian books published by independent presses. There are three categories: novel, short fiction and poetry. The prize is known for releasing long shortlists.
The prize was first founded in 2000 by Newfoundland filmmaker and author Kenneth J. Harvey. 2017 marked the last year the prizes were previously awarded.
The ReLit Awards are now being managed by Harvey’s daughter, Katherine Alexandra Harvey.
To bring the awards up to date, the prizes will announce the shortlists and winners for 2018-2021 in April, with each week in the month being devoted to a single year.
“I grew up with the ReLit Awards, from sifting through the mountains of books in our living room, to attending the annual bonfire. It was always such a positive movement,” the younger Harvey told CBC Books via email. “I know the importance of being acknowledged, praised and even noticed as a writer, and it brings me so much joy to be able to give that to the talented writers of Canada.”
Harvey felt it was important to recognize the work published during the prize’s hiatus. “I really didn’t want those past three years to have been lost, so I decided on a month-long celebration to both catch up and celebrate the beginning of a new era.”
Winners receive the ReLit Ring, which consists of four dials that are inscribed with the alphabet. However, Harvey says financial donations are needed to ensure this tradition continues.
This week, the prize revealed the 2018 shortlists.
The finalists in the short fiction category are:
- A Plea for Constant Motion by Paul Carlucci
- Smells Like Heaven by Sally Cooper
- I Never Talk About It by Véronique Côté and Steve Gagnon
- Barrelling Forward by Eva Crocker
- Has the World Ended Yet? by Peter Darbyshire
- Annie Muktuk and Other Stories by Norma Dunning
- A Mariner’s Guide to Self Sabotage by Bill Gaston
- The Encyclopedia of Lies by Christopher Gudgeon
- Peninsula Sinking by David Huebert
- You are Not Needed Now by Annette Lapointe
- Life on Mars by Lori McNulty
- Normalwhat’snormal by Stan Rogal
- Things Don’t Break by Richard Rosenbaum
- This Accident of Being Lost by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
- Everything is Awful and You’re a Terrible Person by Daniel Zomparelli
The finalists in the poetry category are:
- Children Shouldn’t Use Knives and Other Tales by Shirley Camia
- Everything We’ve Loved Comes Back to Find Us by Allan Cooper
- The Corpses of the Future by Lynn Crosbie
- Bad Engine by Michael Dennis
- Museum of Kindness by Susan Elmslie
- Frequent, small loads of laundry by Rhonda Ganz
- The Chemical Life by Jim Johnstone
- Dysphoria by Shane Neilson
- Dazzle Ships by Jamie Sharpe
- a place called No Homeland by Kai Cheng Thom
- The Least You Can Do Is Be Magnificent by Steve Venright
- Excitement Tax by John Emil Vincent
- The Truth is Told Better This Way by Liz Worth
- Whatever, Iceberg by Tara-Michelle Ziniuk
The finalists in the novel category are:
- The Prisoner and the Chaplain by Michelle Berry
- Tarry This Night by Kristyn Dunnion
- Leave Us In Peace by Marty Elkins
- The End of Music by Jamie Fitzpatrick
- You Are Among Monsters by Jon R. Flieger
- In the Cage by Kevin Hardcastle
- Small Claims by Andrew Kaufman
- Dying Behaviour of Cats by Marc Labriola
- Touching Strangers by Stacey Madden
- Only the Devil Is Here by Stephen Michell
- Skeet Love by Craig Francis Power
- In Every Wave by Charles Quimper
- To Me You Seem Giant by Greg Rhyno
- Long Ride Yellow by Martin West
The 2018 winners will be announced on Friday, April 9, 2021.
Next week, the 2019 shortlists and winners will be announced.
Past winners include Bill Gaston, Souvankham Thammavongsa, Lisa Moore, Ivan Coyote, Megan Gail Coles and Suzette Mayr.