By John Swartz
“It’s proof that I have at some particular point in time been a very small part of a larger community of writers and humourists who are swimming against the tide, looking outside and inside at the same time, which is where I always wanted to be. Thank you very much,” Kelly said in his acceptance speech to a sold out audience at the Mariposa Inn in Orillia.
When the event concluded and Kelly had a moment to start breathing again and reflect on what just happened he told SUNonline/Orillia. “I honest to God never considered I would win this. I thought I’d write the speech because it would be rude not to, which is why the speech was so goofy.”
Cathal spoke of his trials as a sports writer and some moments his editors weren’t buying the humour injected into some his stories, in particular two incidents covering soccer games, one in Uruguay and another in Edmonton, to illustrate the ups and downs of having a sense of humour, juxtaposed to just being named the author of the most humorous book published in 2018.
Kelly, author of Boy Wonders, was shortlisted for the award with Mark Critch (This Hour Has 22 Minutes) who wrote Son of Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir, and Ali Bryan, author of The Figgs.
Previous winners of the award include venerated Canadian writers like Terry Fallis, Stuart McLean, Arthur Black, Will Ferguson, Ian Ferguson (who was emcee of the awards dinner), Dan Needles, Mordecai Richler, W. O. Mitchell, Roch Carrier, Paul Quarrington, Farley Mowat, Pierre Berton, and Robertson Davies.
(Photos by Swartz – SUNonline/Orillia) Main: Shortlisted Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour authors Mark Crtich and Ami Bryan, with Leacock Medal winner Cathal Kelly.