Winners of the 2009 Atlantic Book Awards

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (April 16, 2009) — The 2009 Atlantic Book Awards were presented at a gala celebration Wednesday, April 15 at the Alderney Landing Theatre in Dartmouth, Nova Scotia. The event, co-hosted by author and CBC Radio host Stephanie Domet and actor/humorist Bill Carr conferred nine awards in a celebration of Atlantic Canadian writing and book publishing. Children’s picture book, Up Home (Nimbus Publishing), by author Shauntay Grant and illustrator, Susan Tooke, was a double-winner.

Best Atlantic Published Book Award ($5,000)
Sponsored by Friesens Corporation

The winner is Up Home by Shauntay Grant (Nimbus Publishing). The $5,000 prize is shared with the publisher. Up Home is a touching prose poem that portrays the Nova Scotian community of Preston, gorgeously illustrated by Susan Tooke. Shauntay Grant is a CBC Radio host, spoken word artist, and musician who also performed at the book awards celebration. The authors and publishers of the other two shortlisted books —John Leroux’s Building New Brunswick: An Architectural History (Goose Lane Editions) and Forget-Me-Not by Maxine Trottier and illustrator Nancy Keating (Creative Book Publishing) — also received prizes from sponsor, Hignell Book Printing.

Mayor’s Award for Excellence in Book Illustration

Halifax Mayor Peter Kelly presented the award to Eric Orchard, illustrator of The Terrible, Horrible, Smelly Pirate (Nimbus Publishing). Set in the misty waters around Halifax Harbour, this fun, read-a-loud story-written by Carrie Muller and Jacqueline Halsey follows the adventures of a pirate named Sydney and his friend, Parrot Polly. Illustrator Eric Orchard grew up in Halifax where he attended the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design.

Lillian Shepherd Memorial Award for Excellence in Illustration

The winner is Susan Tooke, illustrator of Up Home by Shauntay Grant. Tooke is an award-winning artist who has illustrated many books for children and paints murals, landscapes, and portraits, and creates digital montages. Illustrators Eric Orchard (The Terrible, Horrible, Smelly Pirate, Nimbus Publishing) and Frances Wolfe (The Little Toy Shop, Tundra Books) were also nominated.

Atlantic Independent Booksellers’ Choice Award

The winner is Budge Wilson for Before Green Gables (Penguin). This authorized prequel to the much-loved Anne of Green Gables tells the story of Anne Shirley before her arrival on PEI. Budge Wilson has published twenty-nine books, won many literary prizes, and in 2004 was made a Member of the Order of Canada. Also nominated were Donna Morrissey’s What They Wanted (Penguin) and John Leroux’s, Building New Brunswick: An Architectural History (Goose Lane Editions).

The Atlantic Book Awards Society congratulates all of the award recipients and nominees whose excellent work is a barometer of the rich literary culture of Atlantic Canada, and a harbinger of future success. Details on the Atlantic Book Awards, including descriptions of all the nominated titles, are available at

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For further information, contact publicist Christopher Majka at (902) 425-3725.