By John Swartz
Despite the inability to have a Leacock Medal For Humour award dinner and celebration this year, the Leacock Associates are still awarding prizes and this weekend they announced the winners of the Student Humorous Short Story Competition.
The prize money for both the student award and the Medal for Humour are sponsored by Brad and Sara Dunkley through their Dunkley Charitable Foundation. Brad won the student award in 1993.
Vincenzo Fracassi, who is home schooled in Everett, Ontario wins the top prize of $1,000 for A Regrettable Afternoon, as told by Gordon R. Ibitt.
Bethany Robert, who goes to St. Francis Xavier High School in Ottawa wins the second place prize of $700 for A Samosa By Any Other Name.
Caius Harbridge who goes to Bear Creek Secondary School in Barrie wins $300 for Froyo Fables of Forestville.
There were a number of shortlisted entries for judges to debate merit.
They are The Postman’s Gutter by Lena Brubacher of Huntsville High School; My Cat is the Spitting Image of My Grandfather by Emily Cao of Glen Forest Secondary School in Mississauga; Adulthood (Terms and Conditions Might Apply) by Noor Grewal of Burlington Central High School; A Slightly Boring Tale by Ireland Moore of O’Neill Collegiate and Vocational Institute in Whitby; and Not Interested (A Polemic) by Jonathan Sacher of Newtonbrook Secondary School in North York.
There was no shortage of humourous books published in Canada during the pandemic. The reading committee had 77 books to cull to the first round – the longlist, and then determine which would advance to the famous shortlist, or finalists round.
After many late nights on video conferences (the reading panel members reside in different parts of the country) they announced the result of their collective wisdom earlier this month. They are
- Joseph Kertes’s Last Impressions
- Thomas King’s Indians on Vacation
- Morgan Murray’s Dirty Birds
Kertes won the medal in with his first book, Winter Tulips, in 1989. King is used to winning awards (though he hasn’t won the Leacock Medal, yet) such as the Governor General’s Literacy Award for Fiction and the RBC Taylor Prize; he was also shortlisted for the Nelson Ball Prize and is a Companion of the Order of Canada and the recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award. Murray has some tough competition.
The winner will be announced June 4 and in lieu of a humorous evening complete with presentation of the medal and a $15,000 cheque, he will get a lovely Facebook posting about the achievement. He’ll still get the hardware and cheque, by mail.
We can all look forward to June 2022 when there will be an awards dinner featuring the 2022, 2021 and 2020 short listed authors; paramedics with lots of oxygen will be standing by for those who are unable to catch their breath.
These are the authors and books which made the shortlist:
|Jane Christmas||Open House: A Life in Thirty-Two Moves|
|Tyler Enfield||Like Rum-Drunk Angels|
|Randal N.M. Graham||Afterlife Crisis|
|Mark Leiren-Young||Bar Mitzvah Boy (’09 Medal Winner)|
|Maria Reva||Good Citizens Need Not Fear|
|Paddy Scott||The Union of Smokers|