24th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards: Kerry Schooley Award Finalists
Stephen Near

This is the forth in a four-part blog series showcasing the finalists of this year's 24th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards. Find out which authors will take home the prizes by attending the gala celebration on Nov. 27, 2017 at Theatre Aquarius.

The Kerry Schooley Award is our most storied literary award at the Hamilton Arts Council. The award is named after Kerry Schooley, who was a larger-than-life, tireless promoter of both Hamilton and Hamilton writers. There is a good chance that if Kerry was still with us, he’d be nominated for this award regularly and would take it home at least one. This year’s shortlist has three very different books up for the award, which is given to the book that best captures the spirit of the Hamilton and its surrounding areas. Only the feel of the city in their pages holds these books together.

In Evenings and Weekends: Five Years in Hamilton Music 2006-2011, Andrew Baulcomb explores  the roots of Hamilton’s legendary music scene. From blues singer Long John Baldry to the punk rock of Teenage Head, musicians, and music have made their home here. From innovative DJs to venue owners to radio hosts to the Arkells, Baulcomb interviews them all and weaves the story of an explosion of music in Hamilton with that of a generation adrift. This is a coming-of-age story that puts a human face on the people who made music happen, and on those who listened to it.

In Nobody Here Will Harm You: Mass Medical Evacuation from the Eastern Arctic 1950-1965, Shawn Selway casts an unflinching eye on the evacuation of 1,274 Inuit and Cree sufferers of tuberculosis from the Eastern Arctic to Mountain Sanatorium in Hamilton, Ontario, from 1950 to 1965. Selway considers the political culture, and the systemic racism within that culture, in which the decisions were made, as well as the technological and economic changes that made these relocations possible. Selway carefully documents the impact of the evacuations on the Inuit community and has included an assortment of archival images within this important book about at a difficult time in our country's history.

In Saints, Unexpected, author Brent van Staalduinen makes his debut in a magical tale about fifteen-year-old Mutton. Robbed at gunpoint while working in her mother's Hamilton thrift store, she loses a valuable item thus hurling herself and her family into a summer of remarkable and heartbreaking events. From fighting unscrupulous developers to first loves to the anguish that comes from never knowing what your final words to a loved one might be, Saints, Unexpected reminds us of the magic that comes with each opportunity to begin again. Brent van Staalduinen lives, works, and writes in Hamilton. He is the recipient of both the 2015 Bristol Short Story Prize and the 2015 Short Works Prize, his work appears in The Sycamore Review, The Bristol Prize Short Story Anthology 8, EVENT Magazine, The Dalhousie Review, The New Quarterly, and The New Guard Literary Review. A graduate of the Humber School of Writers, he also holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia and teaches writing at Redeemer University College.

In Unbuilt Hamilton, author Mark Osbaldeston presents the Ambitious City at its most ambitious, exploring the origins and fates of unrealized building, planning, and transportation proposals from the early nineteenth century to the early twenty-first. Marvel at the sweeping vista down Hamilton’s own version of the Champs-Élysées as you enjoy a concert in the escarpment amphitheatre. Drive up the Gage Avenue tunnel, or ride down the Ottawa Street incline railway. Take in the sites at the King’s Forest Zoo, see the stars in the planetarium, or catch a game at Commonwealth Stadium before returning to your island home in Bay Shore Village.Featuring more than 150 illustrations, plans, and photographs, Unbuilt Hamilton gives life to the Hamilton that might have been. A Hamilton native, Mark Osbaldeston has written and spoken extensively on architectural and planning history. His first book, Unbuilt Toronto, was the basis for an exhibition at the Royal Ontario Museum and was a finalist for the Toronto Book Awards and the Speaker’s Book Award.

The Kerry Schooley Award is made possible this year in honor of the late Greg Quill. Greg Quill was an acclaimed Australian roots musician and longtime Toronto Star entertainment critic. The sponsorship of the Kerry Schooley Award in honour of Greg Quill was made possible by his wife, Ellen Davidson. The Hamilton Arts Council is deeply honoured to accept this gift in the name of her husband who gave so much to the arts.

The Awards take place on November 27 at 7PM. RSVP TODAY!