Kertes, King and Murray named on Leacock Medal shortlist
ORILLIA, Ont. — The president and board of directors of Stephen Leacock Associates are pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2021 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. In the running for the medal and $15,000 prize are, in alphabetical order by author surname:
- Joseph Kertes, Last Impressions (Penguin Random House)Joseph Kertes (born 1951) is a writer who escaped from Hungary with his family to Canada after the revolution of 1956. He studied English at York University and the University of Toronto, where he was encouraged in his writing by Irving Layton and Marshall McLuhan. Kertes founded Humber College’s distinguished creative writing and comedy programs. He was for 15 years Humber’s Dean of Creative and Performing Arts and was a recipient of numerous awards for teaching and innovation. His first novel, Winter Tulips, won the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour in 1989.
- Thomas King, Indians on Vacation (HarperCollins Publishers)Thomas King is an award winning novelist, short story writer, scriptwriter and photographer. His critically acclaimed, bestselling books include Medicine River; Green Grass, Running Water; One Good Story, That One; Truth and Bright Water; A Short History of Indians in Canada; The Back of the Turtle (winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction); Sufferance; The Inconvenient Indian (winner of the RBC Taylor Prize); the DreadfulWater mystery series, including most recently Obsidian; and the poetry collection 77 Fragments of a Familiar Ruin (shortlisted for the Nelson Ball Prize). A Companion of the Order of Canada and the recipient of a National Aboriginal Achievement Award, Thomas King lives in Guelph, Ontario.
- Morgan Murray, Dirty Birds (Breakwater Books)Morgan Murray was born and raised on a farm near the same west-central Alberta village as figure-skating legend Kurt Browning (Caroline). He now lives, works, plays, writes, and builds all sorts of crooked furniture in Cape Breton. In between, he has been a professional schemer, a farmer, a rancher, a roustabout, a secretary, a reporter, a designer, a Tweeter, and a student in St. John’s, Calgary, Prague, Montreal, Chicoutimi, and Paris. He holds a Bachelor of Arts in Canadian Studies from the University of Calgary, a Certificate in Central and Eastern European Studies from the University of Economics, Prague, a Master of Philosophy in Humanities from Memorial University of Newfoundland, and a participation ribbon for beef-calf showmanship (incomplete) from the Little Britches 4-H Club.
“The panel of judges from across the country has selected three finalists from the 77 books that were submitted this year for the Leacock Medal for Humour,” said Leacock Associates president Michael Hill. “After evaluating all the books submitted, these three were deemed to be of high literary quality and the most humorous to be submitted. These books – from a former Leacock medal winner, an RBC Taylor prize winner and a first-time novelist – are worthy of national pride!”
The winner will be announced on Friday, June 4, 2021, by press release and social media. The usual Gala Dinner has had to be cancelled yet again owing to the COVID19 pandemic. The shortlisted authors will be invited to the Gala Weekend festivities in 2022, where they will join the shortlisted authors from 2020 and 2022.