Alan Cumyn   Elizabeth Hay   Michael Ondaatje   David Adams Richards   Eden Robinson   Fred Stenson   2000 Jury Panel   2000 News

Alan Cumyn
McClelland & Stewart

Bill Burridge survives torture at the hands of terrorists in the South Pacific to return home to Ottawa, where he throws himself singlemindedly into building a human rights organization to stand watch over the world's most troubled areas. He is a man struggling to hold his life together, plagued by memories of his incarceration and by the strain of his disintegrating marriage. After two years he is drawn back to Santa Irene, to serve on a Truth Commission investigating past atrocities. He becomes enmeshed in a world of betrayal and shifting loyalties, where, it appears, nothing is as it seems. Alan Cumyn's most recent novel was the highly acclaimed Man of Bone, which won the Ottawa-Carleton Book Award and was a finalist for Ontario's Trillium Award in 1999. He worked for eight years for the Canadian Immigration and Refugee Board, writing on international human rights issues. His previous novels are Waiting for Li Ming and Between Families and the Sky. Cumyn has taught in the People's Republic of China and in Indonesia, and is the author of a bestselling guide to working and studying abroad. Alan Cumyn lives in Ottawa.

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Elizabeth Hay
McClelland & Stewart

From some accidents of love and weather we never quite recover. At the worst of the Prairie dust bowl of the 1930s, a young man appears out of a blizzard and alters the lives of two sisters. His disarming presence in a family adept at making do throws into relief a rivalry that sets the stage for all that follows in a narrative spanning just over thirty years. Hay's characters are at once eccentric and familiar. Among them, the two sisters: Lucinda, beautiful, fastidious, and reserved; and her younger sister, bold, homely Norma Joyce, tricky and tenacious, at first a strange, dark self-possessed child, later a woman who learns something of the redemptive nature of art.

A Student of Weather is Elizabeth Hay's first novel, following her short story collection Small Change, which was shortlisted for three prizes: the Governor General's Award for Fiction, the Trillium Award, and the Rogers Communications Writers' Trust Fiction Prize. She is also the author of Crossing the Snow Line, a collection of short fiction; and two collections of creative non-fiction: The Only Snow in Havana, and Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York. Born in Owen Sound, Ontario, Elizabeth Hay now lives in Ottawa with her husband and three children

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Michael Ondaatje
McClelland & Stewart

The time is our own time. The place is Sri Lanka, the island nation off the southern tip of India, a country formerly known as Ceylon, forced into the late twentieth century by the ravages of civil war and the consequences of a country divided against itself. Into this maelstrom steps a young woman called Anil Tissera. She is a forensic anthropologist sent by an international human rights group to work with local officials to discover the source of the organized campaigns of murder engulfing the island. What follows is a novel about love, family, loss, the unknown enemy and the quest to unlock the hidden past - all propelled by a riveting mystery. Novelist and poet Michael Ondaatje was born in Sri Lanka, and came to Canada in 1962. His published works include Coming Through Slaughter, which won the Books in Canada First Novel Award in 1976; There's a Trick with a Knife I'm Learning to Do, which won the Governor General's Award in 1980; In the Skin of a Lion, which won the City of Toronto Book Award and the Trillium Award, and was shortlisted for the Governor General's Award; and The English Patient, which won The Governor General's Award and the Booker Prize and was later made into a successful Academy Award-winning film. Michael Ondaatje lives in Toronto.

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David Adams Richards
Doubleday Canada

Mercy Among the Children is the story of Sydney Henderson and his son Lyle. As a young man, Sydney, believing he has accidentally killed a friend, makes a pact with God vowing to never harm another if the friend's life is spared and the boy walks away unharmed. Later, tragedy strikes when a small boy is accidentally killed and Sydney is accused of the crime. While Sydney refuses to defend himself and his family, Lyle adopts a more aggressive strategy and it is left to Lyle to decide what the legacy of his father's pact will be. Richards' characters strive for a sense of human dignity that rings with universal truth.

David Adams Richards is an award-winning author of both fiction and non-fiction. Lines on the Water won the Governor General's Award in 1998. He is well-known for his Miramichi trilogy: Nights Below Station Street, winner of the 1988 Governor General's Award; Evening Snow Will Bring Such Peace, winner of the Canadian Authors Association Award; and For Those Who Hunt the Wounded Down, winner of the Thomas Radall Award. His most recent novel is The Bay of Love and Sorrows, published in 1998. David Adams Richards lives in Toronto with his wife and their two sons

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Eden Robinson
Alfred A. Knopf Canada

Set amidst the long, cool shadows of B.C.'s Rocky Mountains, Monkey Beach is the story of a family on the edge of heartbreak. This is a novel which reminds us that places, as much as people, have stories to tell. Seventeen-year-old Jimmy Hill, ambitious and handsome, is the pride of the village. Jimmy shows little interest in courtship - until he falls in love with Karaoke, tough as nails and the village beauty. But their young romance is cut short by the news of a horrifying accident at sea and Jimmy's mysterious disappearance. Monkey Beach is a story about childhood and the pain of growing older, a tale of family grief and redemption.

Eden Robinson is a First Nations woman whose father is Haisla and whose mother is Heiltsuk. She grew up in Haisla territory near Kitimaat, B.C. Her first book, a collection of stories called Traplines, was published in 1996. Traplines was awarded the Winifred Holtby Prize for the best work of fiction in the Commonwealth, and was selected as a New York Times Editor's Choice and Notable Book of the Year. Eden Robinson lives in North Vancouver. Monkey Beach is her first novel.

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Fred Stenson
Douglas & McIntyre

Written between the lines of recorded history, The Trade tells the story of Edward Harriott, a Hudson's Bay Company clerk on the North Saskatchewan River; his Metis cousin Margaret; Harriott's friend Chief Factor One Pound One; and Jimmy Jock Bird, a former-Governor's Metis son. It's 1822. The Hudson's Bay Company, swollen by a merger with its bitter rival, the North West Company, is about to exercise its uncontested monopoly over the lands drained by Hudson Bay. Here is a story that traces how European culture tried to root itself in this anarchic place and how the mighty fur trade was rolled under by the greater forces of change and history.

Fred Stenson is the author of ten books, including the novels Lonesome Hero and Last One Home and the short-story collections Teeth and Working without a Laugh Track. He has written more than one hundred films and videos, including History TV's The Great March and the Discovery series World of Horses. He is a past winner of the Alberta Motion Picture Industry Association's award for best documentary script. A third generation Albertan, he lives in Calgary, Alberta.

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Alan Cumyn   Elizabeth Hay   Michael Ondaatje   David Adams Richards

Eden Robinson   Fred Stenson   2000 Jury Panel   2000 News