25th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards: Kerry Schooley Award Finalists
Stephen Near

This is the third in a four part blog series showcasing the finalists of this year's 25th Annual Hamilton Literary Awards. Find out which authors will take home the prizes by attending the gala celebration on Dec. 10, 2018 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. Each year, the Literary Awards’ Kerry Schooley Award is given to the book that is most evocative of Hamilton. Each of the four shortlisted books this year feature Hamilton (both past and present) as a vibrant and memorable character.

No stranger to the Hamilton Literary Awards, Gary Barwin won the fiction award last year for his first novel Yiddish for Pirates. This year, his most recent poetry collection, No TV for Woodpeckers, has been nominated in two categories. Blurring “the lines between haunting and hilarious, wondrous and weird, beautiful and beastly,” No TV for Woodpeckers explores “the connection between bodies, language, culture, and the environment.” 

Trevor Cole’s The Whisky King was called a “superb work of historical non-fiction” by the Globe and Mail. It follows the trail of Canada’s first celebrity mobster, Rocco Perri, and Canada’s first undercover Mountie, Frank Zaneth. Providing a glimpse into Hamilton’s gritty past, The Whisky King “details the fascinating rise to power of a notorious Prohibition-era Canadian crime figure twinned with the life of the man who pursued him.”

Shortlisted for the prestigious 2018 RBC Taylor Prize for Literary Non-fiction, Yardwork asks the question, “How can you truly belong to a place?” Written by McMaster University professor Daniel Coleman, Yardwork is an exploration of his beloved garden, “a small plot of land sheltered by the Niagara Escarpment,” and the rich environment that surrounds it. 

Anyone who has ever been in the presence of Tom Wilson knows that he is a skilled storyteller. His first book, Beautiful Scars, is no exception, bringing readers first to Hamilton’s east mountain in the middle of the 20th century. The memoir explores not only Wilson’s rise in Canadian music, but also the discovery of his long-buried Indigenous ancestry and his true identity hidden in plain sight.

This year’s award for Fiction was sponsored by:

The Awards take place on December 10 at 7PM. RSVP TODAY!