New eBook by NMA winner Russell Smith takes publishing to new frontiers

Novelist, journalist and National Magazine Award-winning writer Russell Smith is the first author to publish an eBook via a new venture of the venerable agency Canadian Writers Group (CWG).

In December CWG announced plans to develop new frontiers for its writers — who between them possess more National Magazine Awards than even we can count — through digital self-publishing of eBooks, long-form journalism articles and story bundles.

Smith’s new book Blindsided, adapted from a Toronto Life personal essay, is being distributed via Kobo for just $1.99 and, within 48 hours of its launch, reached #11 on Kobo’s Top 50 eBooks list.

CWG promises readers at least five more eBooks this spring from its writers and will expand its digital reach to include Kindle and iBook readers as well.

Russell Smith won a National Magazine Award in 1997 for his fiction in The New Quarterly, and has been nominated a total of six times for his work in Toronto Life, Chatelaine, enRoute and Flare.

(Tip ‘o the hat to Canadian Magazines blog.)

Doug Wright Awards finalists include several NMA honourees

The finalists have been announced for this year’s Doug Wright Awards — celebrating the best in Canadian graphic novels and comics. Among the finalists in the three categories — Best Book, “Pigskin Peters” (aka best experimental comics), and “The Nipper” (aka best new talent) — are former National Magazine Award nominees Seth, Joe Ollman and Marc Bell.

(Visit the National Magazine Awards archive to find out more about the work of these illustrators.)

The awards, founded in 2005, are named for the late Canadian pioneer of cartooning Doug Wright.

The winners of this year’s awards will be revealed at the annual Doug Wright Awards ceremony, May 5 at the Art Gallery of Ontario.

NMA Winner Ed Struzik wins Yves Fortier Award

Veteran Edmonton Journal science journalist and National Magazine Award-winning writer Ed Struzik has been named the winner of the 2012 Yves. O Fortier Award for Earth Science Journalism by the Geological Association of Canada.

This the fourth time Ed has won the Fortier award, which includes a $1000 cash prize. His winning entry this year — “Solving Mammoth Mysteries” — followed University of Alberta paleontologists investigating the beasts’ unique ecosystem in the prehistoric Canadian Arctic.

Struzik told the Journal:

“It’s especially gratifying to receive an award from the professional association that represents the scientists I often write about. Scientists have a high standard for accuracy and a disdain for journalists who don’t understand complexity. This tells me that my desire to entertain and inform readers is not compromising those standards.”

Ed Struzik won a National Magazine Award in 1993 for Sports & Recreation, having written a piece called “Nanook Passage” for Equinox. He’s also twice been a finalist for other NMAs. No stranger to Arctic climes and their course of history, Ed is the author of three books of non-fiction about Canada’s far north.

[Related post: NMA Submissions closed; other awards for magazines still open]

Peter Gzowski Life Literary Fellowship open for 2012 submissions

ABC Life Literacy Canada — a non-profit organization aiming to engage media, business, communities and individuals to support adult literacy programs and campaigns — announced its call for the annual Peter Gzowski Life Literary Fellowship: a $3000 grant to a journalist in support of research of a story on adult literacy in Canada.

Applicants must submit a one-page story proposal, a brief bio and a support letter from the media outlet that will publish the finished work. Applications forms are here and the deadline is June 5, 2012.

The late, great Peter Gzowski was a 3-time National Magazine Award-winning writer for work in Saturday Night and Toronto Life in the early 1980s. He was perhaps best known as the host of CBC Radio’s This Country in the Morning and Morningside, and author of many books of non-fiction. He was a tireless advocate and fundraiser for adult literacy in Canada, and also a friend and supporter of the Canadian magazine industry.

NMA winner John Barton to speak at Tree Reading Series

Ottawa’s ongoing Tree Reading Series will feature a reading from National Magazine Award-winning writer John Barton at its April 10 event. John is a Victoria-based poet and author who has published nine books of poetry. He won a Silver National Magazine Award in 2006 for poetry published in The Capilano Review.

The April 10 event will also feature a workshop on chapbooks, of which John has also published five.

On April 14-15, John will also be the featured poet in a two-day Master Workshop on poetry writing. The cost is $250 to participate.

About the Tree Reading Series:

Running since May 9, 1980, the Tree Reading Series (Tree) is one of Canada’s longest-running literary events and an essential part of Ottawa’s vibrant literary community.  Tree is a non-profit organization that supports established and emerging writers from Ottawa and across Canada by offering a supportive public venue for writers to present their own work and to benefit from exposure to the work of other writers. In providing this service, Tree hopes to inspire and sustain the development of  the literary community in Ottawa and to promote Ottawa as an important community for Canadian literary arts.