Gillmor grew up in Winnipeg, Manitoba, and graduated from the University of Calgary in 1977. He is a novelist, journalist, and children’s book author, and is the recipient of 11 National Magazine Awards medals and 41 National Magazine Awards honourable mentions.
His collection of NMAs began in 1991, when he won a silver medal for “Dangerous Liaisons,” published in Saturday Night. Most recently, in 2016, he received a silver medal for “A Poet Self-Destructs,” published in The Walrus. In the 25 years between, Gillmor has earned honourable mentions “in categories ranging from Essays to Profiles to Personal Journalism to Arts and Entertainment to Travel to Short Feature to Politics and Public Affairs to Editorial Package to Humour to Lifestyle to Business to One of a Kind to Sports and Recreation to Social Affairs to Investigative Reporting to Fiction to Environmental Journalism,” notes Dianna Symonds, freelancer editor, former managing editor of Maclean’s, and editor of Saturday Night. She goes on to ask, “Is there any category in which he hasn’t had a nomination? Perhaps Poetry.”
Aside from Gillmor’s remarkable NMA track record, Gillmor was involved with The Walrus as contributor and editor, and was a longtime contributing editor at Saturday Night—two of Canada’s most recognizable magazines. He has written “for Maclean’s, Legion magazine, Toronto Life, Report on Business, enRoute—and that’s leaving aside his stories for the Toronto Star and The Globe and Mail” says Symonds.
So, what is it about Gillmor’s writing and stories that resonate so widely? Perhaps it’s the “[c]alm and uncluttered prose. Sober-minded assessment of the facts without judgment. A bone-dry trace of humour. A skeptical but not cynical intelligence that generously presumes the same of the reader,” says Curtis Gillespie, author, journalist and board member of the National Media Awards Foundation. It could be “his empathy and understanding of even the reprehensible among us—his appreciation of human foibles and failings, ego and desire” says Anne Collins, Publisher at The Knopf Random Canada Publishing Group. Consider, too, “the deft storytelling, the sly sense of humour, and the occasional sentence that has the reader come to a full stop in order to absorb what’s on the page or screen” adds Symonds.
This masterful storytelling extends beyond the magazine world. Collins—impressed by Don’s “magic, on display for us in print and now online for more than 30 years”—continued to work with Gillmor after she left the field. She published two of his novels (Long Change in 2015 and Mount Pleasant in 2013) and two works of non-fiction. The most recent of which is To the River (2018); that book went on to win the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Award for non-fiction and was a CBC Best Book of 2019.
Gillmor has also mentored emerging writers at The Banff Centre’s Literary Journalism program, and currently teaches creative writing courses at the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Studies. He has consulted on methods of long-form journalism for Legion Magazine, and since 2017, “has been writing the magazine’s back-page column “O Canada” says Eric Harris, Editor of Legion Magazine.
In his letter of nomination, Gillespie posed a series of questions: “Who has mentored countless other writers? Who has been part of the founding and/or editorial team of nearly every major general interest magazine in Canada? Who never, ever mails it in? Who is the gold standard in Canada? Who deserves the Outstanding Achievement award for 2020? Answer: Don Gillmor.”
The National Media Awards Foundation concurs with that answer. For Gillmor’s incredible contributions to the Canadian magazine industry, we are proud to present him with this prestigious award. Congratulations, Don!
Though the 2020 Call for Entries has closed, we are still accepting submissions for the prestigious Outstanding Achievement Award. Since 1990, this award has recognized an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry.
The award is open to nearly everyone in the industry—circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, creators, designers, production managers. Please note that it cannot be given posthumously.
What do I need to enter?
A letter of nomination, including a brief bio of the nominee and a summary of their career achievements.
At least two (2) supporting letters from other individuals in the Canadian magazine industry or colleagues of the nominee.
Our team is proud to reveal the Canadian creators who won Gold and Silver medals at this year’s National Magazine Awards. The gala was held at the Arcadian Court in Toronto, and was hosted by NMA-winner Omar Mouallem.
Nouveau Projet took home the prestigious, 2019 Magazine Grand Prix award. A six-time consecutive finalist in this category, Nouveau Projet had also won this coveted title in 2014. The judges cited the magazine’s risk-taking spirit and impressive scope: “Consistently ambitious, Nouveau Projet brings a fresh look and stimulating content to its examination of francophone society. Their team has crafted a great system that allows for clarity and variety, and they masterfully orchestrate all the things that make magazines a pleasure to read.”
BEST MAGAZINE AWARDS
In each of the four Best Magazine Divisions, judges selected one gold winner from the three nominees. The gold winners are:
Best Magazine: News, Business, General Interest
GOLD: Nouveau Projet HONOURABLE MENTION: The Walrus, Toronto Life
Best Magazine: Special Interest
GOLD: Up Here Magazine HONOURABLE MENTION: Fete Chinoise, U of T Medicine
Best Magazine: Service & Lifestyle
GOLD: Cottage Life HONOURABLE MENTION: Elle Canada, FASHION Magazine
Best Magazine: Art, Literary, & Culture
GOLD: Esse arts + opinion HONOURABLE MENTION: Canadian Art, The Site Magazine
BEST NEW MAGAZINE WRITER
From four talented, promising nominees, Max Binks-Collier was awarded the Best New Magazine Writer title for “Distant Relatives,” published in Maisonneuve. The jury had this to say of Max’s work:
““Distant Relatives” is a suspenseful, in-depth exploration of medical malpractice and the institutional complicity that allowed it to happen. With his thoughtful interviews and extensive historical research, Binks-Collier pulls readers in and keeps them hooked all the way through.”
Honourable Mention went to Jennifer Thornhill Verma (Maisonneuve), Anais Granofsky (Toronto Life), and Mugoli Samba (The United Church Observer).
EDITOR GRAND PRIX
For the second year, the Foundation presented the Editor Grand Prix award to a senior-level editor who demonstrated a high degree of excellence, making an outstanding impact on their magazine. Alison Uncles of Maclean’s was the proud recipient of this year’s award.
PUBLISHER GRAND PRIX
The Publisher Grand Prix award recognizes a publisher whose brand best delivers on their editorial mandate through numerous platforms. From the three nominees—Canadian Geographic, Inuit Art Quarterly, and Toronto Life—Ken Hunt publisher of Toronto Life received gold. In their discussion, the jury put it thusly: if you live in Toronto, you know Toronto Life, and as Toronto is growing, Toronto Life is growing with it.
FOUNDATION AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
Linda Spalding—an acclaimed writer and a longtime editor of the literary journal Brick—was presented with the 2019 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. At the gala, she was introduced by Laurie D. Graham, who remarked that “Linda provides a model of how to do this publishing work with emotion as well as intellect. She sprouted in Brick the seriousness and irreverence that has come to be the magazine’s guiding ethos.”
Top-winning magazines include:
Magazines winning one Gold Medal include: Air Canada enRoute, BESIDE, esse arts + opinions, LSTW, Prairie Fire, Québec Science, Ryerson University Magazine, Sharp, Taddle Creek, Title Magazine, and Up Here Magazine.
Magazines winning one Silver Medal include: Geist, Report on Business Magazine, The Malahat Review, The Maritime Edit, The Site Magazine, Toronto Life Stylebook, and University of Toronto Magazine.
Highlights of the 42nd annual NMAs
Mathieu Lachapelle of Dînette Magazine captured three awards for his photography work, winning Silver for Portrait Photography and winning both Gold and Silver in Lifestyle Photography.
Anthony Oliveira is a 2019 two-time Gold winner in Long Form Feature Writing and Essay, for his piece “Death in the Village” published in Hazlitt.
The Walrus swept the Illustration (including spot and photo illustration) category: “The End of an Empire” by Sébastien Thibault won silver, while “Bad Code” by Cristian Fowlie took Gold.
Writing & Visual Awards
In the 17 creator-focused categories, Gold winners received a $1000 cash prize. The gold and silver medalists are:
Long-Form Feature Writing
GOLD: Anthony Oliveira, “Death in the Village,” Hazlitt GOLD: Brett Popplewell, “Final Edition,” The Walrus
GOLD: Omar Mouallem, “It’s the End of the World as We Know It,” Title Magazine SILVER: Emily Landau, “I, Tanya,” Toronto Life Stylebook
Short Feature Writing
GOLD: Christopher DiRaddo, “Austin or Bust,” Air Canada enRoute SILVER: Matt Williams, “Jeremy Dutcher’s Gift for His People,” The Maritime Edit
GOLD: Kamal Al-Solaylee, “Points of Departure,” Sharp SILVER: Lisa Bird-Wilson, “Clowns, Cakes, Canoes: This is Canada?” Geist
GOLD: Anthony Oliveira, “Death in the Village,” Hazlitt SILVER: Larissa Diakiw, “Secrets Are a Captive Country,” Hazlitt
GOLD: Alison Motluk, “Hallway Health Care,” Toronto Life SILVER: Martin Patriquin, “Warning Signs,” The Walrus
GOLD: RJ Edwards, “Loose Time,” Taddle Creek SILVER: Christine Higdon, “A Prayer for Ursula in Open D,” The Malahat Review
GOLD: Mathieu Lachapelle, “La brume de l’Oregon,” Dînette magazine SILVER: Mathieu Lachapelle, “Au cœur des nuages,” Dînette magazine
GOLD: Gwen Benaway, “A Body Like a Home,” Hazlitt SILVER: Meaghan Rondeau, “Half-Thing,” The New Quarterly
GOLD: Ben Ladouceur, “The Green Carnation,” Prairie Fire SILVER: Terence Young, “The Bear,” The New Quarterly
GOLD: Katrina Onstad, “Mr. Robot,” Toronto Life SILVER: Malcolm Johnston, “Born to Run,” Toronto Life
GOLD: Mélissa Guillemette, “Où vont les déchets électroniques ?,” Québec Science SILVER: Mark Pupo, “Where to Eat 2018,” Toronto Life
GOLD: Cristian Fowlie, “Bad Code,” The Walrus SILVER: Sébastien Thibault, “The End of an Empire,” The Walrus
GOLD: Grant Harder, “Tremors,” Maisonneuve SILVER: Mathieu Lachapelle, “Dompter le roc,” Dînette magazine
Photo Essay & Photojournalism
GOLD: Kamil Bialous, “That Which Does Not Burn,” Cottage Life SILVER: Stephen J. Thorne, “Citizens of War,” Legion Magazine
One of a Kind Storytelling
GOLD: Michael Friscolanti, Jason Markusoff, and Kyle Edwards, “ ‘It was the last time we saw him:’ An oral history of the Humboldt Broncos bus crash,” Maclean’s SILVER: Martin Patenaude-Monette (Martin PM), “Le bonheur en transition,” Nouveau Projet
Art Direction of a Single Article
GOLD: Studio Wyse, “Keeping Memories Alive,” Ryerson University Magazine SILVER: Carey van der Zalm,“Body, Space & Object,” The Site Magazine
Best Editorial Package
GOLD: “WWI Commemorative Issue,” Maclean’s SILVER: “Autumn 2018: The Cities We Need,” University of Toronto Magazine
Art Direction Grand Prix
GOLD: Eliane Cadieux, “Issue 05: What does our future with nature hold? | Numéro 05 : Quel avenir sommes-nous en train de bâtir ?” BESIDE SILVER: Jean-François Proulx,Balistique, “Nouveau Projet 13,” Nouveau Projet
Editor Grand Prix
GOLD: Alison Uncles, Maclean’s
Cover Grand Prix
GOLD: “Pay equity,” Maclean’s SILVER: “Blood in the Air,” Report on Business
Issue Grand Prix
GOLD: lstw issue #3, lstw SILVER: Nouveau Projet 14, Nouveau Projet
Originally from Topeka, Kansas, Linda moved to Toronto, Ontario (after stints in Hawaii and Mexico) in 1982. In 1985, the “story goes Linda took on the role of publisher of Brick on a dare,” says Laurie D. Graham, the current publisher of Brick. That dare lasted a remarkable 33 years, as Linda oversaw 75 issues of Brick. Linda was the “editor and sometimes publisher” says Kim Jernigan (Special Projects Editor, The New Quarterly), and now she “continues as the one of the magazine’s owners (a.k.a. Fairy-godparents).”
Throughout Linda’s 75 issue tenure at Brick, the magazine “underwent an unbelievable transformation… a complete editorial and design overhaul, really turning the magazine into something completely new—a transformation that would by any standards be thought of as a very risky undertaking, were it not so successful,” says Laurie.
With Linda at the helm, “Brick dared to be international,” Kim reminds us, despite existing in a time of literary nationalism, with funding dependent on publishing Canadian content. Pushing at the boundaries of Brick allowed the magazine to flourish within Canada and gain recognition globally. Linda’s transformation of Brick included publishing a multiplicity of content (photographs, drawings, handwritten letters, manuscript pages, meditations, field reports, essay length reviews, memoirs, and more) and voices.
Canadian novelist Michael Helm writes that, “until I found Brick, as a writer I’d been low on hope, and as a reader, starved for local amazements.” Kim echoes this sentiment, in that “it was Brick that allowed [her] to imagine there might be a place for a new writer.”
growing Brick, Linda published an
astonishing seven books, her novel “The Purchase” winning the 2012 Governor
general’s Literary Award. Earlier, in 2003, Linda received the Harbourfront
Festival Prize recognizing her contributions to the Canadian literary
Kim is careful to point out that Linda “paid attention to the bottom line, working to keep Brick solvent but not at the expense of its contributors.” Michael gives us a glimpse into Brick’s editorial meetings, in which Linda “was forever trying to find ways to give contributors more of the magazine’s meager funds.” It seems that throughout Brick’s transformation, Linda’s dedication to both established and emerging voices remained constant.
Constant, too, are the words by which Linda’s colleagues describe her: Kim speaks of her “editorial acumen and fierce determination,” reading submissions with “clarity, tact, and trenchancy.” Michael Redhill—in a letter to Linda, published in Brick—writes that he has been “lucky to encounter such ferocity, which is a sign of authenticity, because behind it is a person whose love can never be doubted and whose passion is so deep it’s a style.” This fierce love for Brick and its surrounding community makes the fairy godparent comparison all the more true. Linda Spalding spent 33 years working magic, turning the magazine into “more than the sum of its parts,” says Kim.
“To be part of Brick is to know that Linda is now in your corner, and that’s perhaps the most important thing I’ve learned from her: that you can show care for the people who are making this magazine with you, that it is required of you to show care,” says Laurie.
the transformative role Linda has played in the Canadian magazine publishing field
and in the lives of Canada’s creators, the NMAF is incredibly proud to present
Linda with this year’s Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.
NOMINEES – 2019 NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS Finalists for the 42nd National Magazine Awards will be announced tomorrow, May 1, 2019 at 10am ET on www.magazine-awards.com,on Facebook and Twitter at @MagAwards. The 42nd National Magazine Awards gala is set for May 31, 2019 at the Arcadian Court. Join us to Celebrate Canadian Creators. Tickets will be on sale on Wednesday, May 1.
ABOUT THE OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT AWARD The NMAF’s most prestigious individual prize is the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, an award that recognizes an individual’s innovation and creativity through contributions to the magazine industry. The award is open to circulation experts, editors, marketing, sales and promotion professionals, publishers, creators, designers, production managers – in short, to everyone in the industry. It cannot be given posthumously. For more information and previous winners, visit magazine-awards.com/oa.
With excitement and anticipation, the NMAF is calling for nominations for the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement. This is our most prestigious award, presented annually to an individual whose work in, and contributions to, the Canadian magazine industry exemplify innovation and creativity. Creators, editors, publishers, art directors, circulation experts, and others are eligible, and previous winners have included Joyce Byrne, Penny Caldwell, Kim Pittaway, Kim Jernigan, Michael Fox, Stephen Trumper, Heather Robertson, Stephen Osborne, Jean Paré, and Sally Armstrong.
Anyone working in Canadian magazine may submit a nomination, which should include:
A letter of nomination, including a brief bio of the nominee and a summary of their career achievements;
At least two (2) supporting letters from other individuals in the Canadian magazine industry or colleagues of the nominee.
Materials can be emailed to email@example.com. Note that March 1, 2019 is the nomination deadline, and that there is no cost to submit a nomination.
At the 42nd annual National Magazine Awards gala, we will proudly present the OA winner with their award. More information can be found at magazine-awards.com/oa.
Publisher Grand Prix
With this award, the NMAF strives to recognize the publisher whose brand best delivers on their editorial mandate through numerous platforms. Eligible platforms are various, and may include websites, special issues or other publications, mobile apps, social media platforms, television shows, podcasts, events, merchandising, or any other initiatives or forms of audience engagement. Entries are due by March 1, 2019. The inaugural recipient of this special award will also be announced at the spring gala. Click here for further details.