Paul Webster wins Dave Greber Freelance Award

This past weekend at Edmonton’s LitFest, the winners of the 2013 Dave Greber Freelance Writers Awards were announced.

In the magazine category, the prize went to four-time National Magazine Award winner Paul Webster, for his article “Adverse Reactions,” about the controversial dismissal by the government of British Columbia of several scientists studying the province’s prescription-drug policies, published in the April 2013 issue of Vancouver Magazine.

Mr. Webster has won National Magazine Awards writing for Report on Business, Canadian Geographic and The Walrus. Earlier this year he won the Canadian Bar Association award for excellence in journalism, and has been a freelance writer and filmmaker for more than twenty years.

In the book category, the award went to freelancer Chris Benjamin of Halifax for his forthcoming book The Shubenacadie Indian Residential School, an investigative history of Atlantic Canada’s only residential school for First Nations children.

The Dave Greber Freelance Writers Awards were established to honour Dave Greber of Calgary, a long-time freelance writer, and they are unique in two ways: they provide support to working Canadian freelance writers
when they most need it in their work cycle; and they give special regard to those working in the area of social justice. Excellence of writing, research and storytelling are a benchmark of the awards.

On balancing freelance writing and the “labour of love”

Helping my students with this e-zine that they do, I find we’re talking about social media and driving traffic and all of that and I try to say, okay that’s great but we really want the content to be what makes people want to come and read and stay. So that, I hope, does not change. And I think there is still a hardcore group of readers who still appreciate the old style longform article. I have the Longform app on my iPad and encourage my students to subscribe to that. But I also tell them that to do that sort of writing… I figure if I can do one of those a year, a labour of love, and it gets published somewhere, then that’s okay. Because they take so much work and thought and effort and time. And they are worth it, but there’s no way you could sustain yourself by writing those.

img_0064Moira Farr, in an interview posted on Story Board’s series “The 5-Minute Freelancer Q&A.” Ms. Farr is a seven-time National Magazine Awards finalist, winning Honourable Mention this past year for “Confronting Asperger’s in the Classroom” (University Affairs).