NMA Winner Michael Harrington opens exhibit in Toronto

“Red House” by Michael Harrington.

Starting this Friday, November 2 the Katharine Mulherin Contemporary Art Gallery in Toronto’s Queen West district will be exhibiting a retrospective of work by Michael Harrington, a local artist and illustrator who won a 2006 National Magazine Award for illustration in Toro magazine.

The gallery is open Thursday to Saturday, 12-6pm, and Sundays from 1-5pm, and the Michael Harrington exhibit is on display until November 25.

From the gallery’s announcement of the exhibit:

Michael Harrington’s practice has focused on the depiction of the human form, occupying incomplete and ambiguous narratives. These scenarios aim to provoke an empathetic response from viewers. Harrington’s paintings employ traditional representational devices that he applies to a broad range of subject matter including cinema, theatre, literature, music, family folklore, and personal memory and experience.

Most recently his work considers the male figure in society. These men are positioned in the transient interiors and exteriors of the working world; hotel rooms, lobbies, boardrooms and barrooms. Also considered are the contemporary images of vacation sites; recreational vehicles, and the motels of south Florida.

“Brown Sofa” by Michael Harrington
“Forest People” by Michael Harrington
“Rehearsal” by Michael Harrington

More information here.

Opportunities for Students at the National Magazine Awards

Attention all journalism school students, creative writers, young artists and magazine professionals: The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) has a number of initiatives and opportunities for you.

Awards: Best New Magazine Writer & Best New Visual Creator
While all NMA categories are open to work published by students and young professionals, we have two categories open exclusively to your talent, with cash prizes and recognition at the annual NMA Gala. Submissions for work published in 2012 will be accepted starting on December 1 with a deadline of January 16.
[Read more about these awards]
[Check out last year’s winners]

E-Book: Best in Magazines 2007-2012
A collection of over 30 National Magazine Award-winning stories, photo essays, illustrations and covers from the past 5 years, our new eBook is available absolutely FREE for your iPad and features the best in magazine journalism from The Walrus, Maisonneuve, Explore, Eighteen Bridges, AlbertaViews, Swerve, Report on Business, The New Quarterly, Toronto Life, Ryerson Review of Journalism & many others.
[Read more]
[Download the Free App]

Internships at the NMAF
We are offering 2 paid Administrative Internship positions for students interested in pursuing a career in the Canadian magazine industry. Internships are part-time and run from December through June. The deadline for applications to this year’s internship program is November 7.  [Read more]

NMA Online Archives
This summer we hosted a Reading Series featuring award-winning articles from our online archive of previous National Magazine Award winners. The reading series & archive are great opportunities to catch up on the best of the best in Canadian magazine journalism–we have full-text PDF versions of all finalists and winners from recent years–and find inspiration for your future work.
[Dive into the NMA Archive]
[Cozy up with our Summer Reading Series]

Resources & Other Awards
On our website we maintain an exhaustive list of magazine and journalism awards across Canada, and periodically on our blog we feature in depth information about these awards and contests.
[Follow the Magazine Awards blog]
[See which Magazine Writing Contests are going on now]

Follow us on Twitter and Facebook for frequent updates, news and opportunities from the NMAF. If you have any questions about the National Magazine Awards, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Best regards for a successful year!

Alberta Literary Awards accepting submissions

The Writers Guild of Alberta is accepting submissions for 2013 Alberta Literary Awards, which celebrate and promote literary achievements by Alberta writers.

Opportunities for magazine writers include the James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction and the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story writing, each of which accepts submissions of work published in any print or electronic magazine, anthology or literary journal.

Two other categories accept unpublished manuscripts for judging: the Amber Bowerman Memorial Travel Writing Award; and the Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize.

Each of the above 4 awards includes a cash prize of $700.

The Alberta Literary Awards program also includes 5 categories for book publishing, each of which carries a cash prize of $1500:

  • R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (picture books)
  • Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
  • Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction
  • Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama (plays published or produced)
  • Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry

The WGA is also administering the following awards for 2013:

  • The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize ($5000 prize)
  • The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize ($10,000 prize)

Read up on the submissions guidelines. The deadline for applications is December 31, 2012.

(Hat tip: Alberta Magazine Publishers Association)

Off the Page, with Selena Wong

Off the Page is an exclusive series produced by the NMAF that reaches out to former National Magazine Award winners to find out what their awards have meant to them and what they’re up to now. Off the Page will appear each Thursday on the Magazine Awards blog during the fall of 2012. This week we catch up with National Magazine Award-winning illustrator Selena Wong.

NMAFBack in 2009 you graduated from the Ontario College of Art & Design and your work appeared in, among other places, The Walrus and was later nominated for a National Magazine Award. How did you get started illustrating for magazines, and how did your work grab the attention of The Walrus?

Selena Wong. (Photo by Eugenia Wong.)

Selena Wong: The first illustration that started it all was a piece done for PlanSponsor magazine with Art Director SooJin Buzelli. I had a chance to meet SooJin during a semester of study at the Rhode Island School of Design through OCAD’s mobility/exchange program.

As for The Walrus, I applied for an art internship with the magazine in 2009, and through the interview process I met the art director Brian Morgan and the senior designer Paul Kim. Since I majored in illustration at the Ontario Collage of Art & Design, the portfolio I brought with me was full of illustrations from my fourth-year thesis.

I had no samples of any graphic design/layout work so I wasn’t an ideal candidate at the time, but was later so fortunately offered to do an editorial illustration for the magazine.

“The True Sorrows of Calamity Jane” (The Walrus; July/August 2009); Illustration by Selena Wong

NMAFAt this year’s National Magazine Awards gala you won the Gold award for illustration (“Meet You at the Door”). This piece seems exemplary of much of your body of work: fantastical, dream-like, full of wonder.  In composing a piece like this, to what extent does the text or the author or the art director guide you, and to what extent are you guided by your own style and instinct?

Selena Wong: I really enjoyed illustrating Lawrence Hill’s story and not to mention had a blast at the NMA gala. For this particular project, I worked with Paul Kim, the senior designer at The Walrus, who introduced Hill’s story accompanied by a few proposed key imageries.

With Paul’s suggestions in mind, I highlighted words and phrases that I thought represented the climax of the story after reading it through several times. From that point on, I created two or three sketches based on those highlighted moments I had set aside.  I then sent the sketches to Paul while secretly hoping that he would pick the sketch I yearned most to develop.

Luckily, what Paul thought worked best for the story and the audience of The Walrus was a piece that was meant to capture the most dreamy atmosphere of one specific setting. It was a description of the beautiful starry sky that tried to divert the gaze from the most important job in life in the vast Canadian Prairies.

The approach I used for this illustration is one that I learned and exercised throughout my training in illustration at OCAD. I appropriate the same practice to all of my work. Through illustrating, I aim to determine the part in a piece of writing where the author opens up to the reader. Sometimes this moment is not the most meaningful and significant one, yet it captures the essence of the story. I believe that it enables me to involve and evoke the deeper emotions in the audience.

“Meet You at the Door” (The Walrus; Jan/Feb 2011); Illustration by Selena Wong

NMAFWhat impact does winning a National Magazine Award have on a young artist, professionally or personally?

Selena Wong: As a young artist, it is a great honour to be recognized nationally, which in turn provides many assurances of support for my career. I was thrilled to be nominated for a National Magazine Award in 2009 even though I only received a honourable mention. That is why I was very surprised to learn that I was given a rare second chance and nominated for a NMA a second time with The Walrus!

Even with greater astonishment, this time I was called up on stage to receive the Gold award. An award not only provides charming publicity but it raises the standards in my work and, therefore, produces a wonderful opportunity to surpass my previous accomplishments.

Selena Wong is a National Magazine Award-winning illustrator and graduate of the Ontario College of Art & Design. Her exhibit “Black Math” is on at the Steam Whistle Brewery in Toronto until the end of October. You can view her work at selenawong.com and selenawong.blogspot.ca.

NMA winner Geoff Powter to be honoured at Banff Festival

Geoff Powter

This Saturday the 37th annual Banff Mountain Film and Book Festival will open in the heart of Canada’s Rocky Mountain country for nine days of events featuring authors, filmmakers and speakers from around the world.

National Magazine Award-winning writer Geoff Powter–a psychologist and alpinist from Canmore, Alberta–will be formally honoured by the Banff Centre for his long career of mountaineering expeditions, literary achievements and fostering community awareness of environmental issues.

The former longtime editor of the Canadian Alpine Journal and frequent contributor to Explore magazine (where he has won 7 National Magazine Awards) is the author of the 2006 bestseller Strange and Dangerous Dreams: The Fine Line Between Adventure and Madness, a former Banff festival winner.

Read some of Geoff Powter’s National Magazine Award-winning work at the NMA archives (magazine-awards.com/archive).