Pottersfield Press returns its Creative Nonfiction Prize for a Fourth Year
One small Atlantic Canadian publisher has had a large impact on the East Coast’s literary scene.
Pottersfield Press—a publishing house based out of Lawrencetown, Nova Scotia—established the Pottersfield Prize for Creative Nonfiction in 2017, hoping to attract a variety of manuscripts from writers across the country.
“While our strength has always been as a regional publisher, we have worked hard to establish a national presence,” says Lesley Choyce, the publishing house’s founder.
The prize welcomes manuscripts from several genres, including history, memoir, autobiography, biography, literary journalism, political or social commentary and travel writing. It is also a perfect opportunity for first-time writers.
“The prize attracts many first-time authors and several of the winners have been just that,” Choyce says. “I think the beauty of the mantle ‘creative nonfiction’ is that we can draw on such a wide range of voices and subjects.
“We provide both a first and second prize, but we have also published books submitted that were not winners,” he continues. “For the authors who win, I believe this is a big step forward in their writing career.”
Past prize winners include Lesley Buxton for her powerful memoir One Strong Girl (2018)—winner of the first-place prize in the inaugural year—Suzanne Stewart for The Tide of Times: A Nova Scotia Book of Seasons (2018), Jennifer M Smith for Green Ghost, Blue Ocean: No Fixed Address (2019) and Odette Barr for Teaching at the Top of the World (2019), among others.
Choyce says the prize has steadily grown in popularity over the years.
“[We now have] the support of provincial writing associations across Canada as well as many grassroots local writing groups who have been some of our biggest supporters,” Choyce says. “We’ve improved our national profile as a publisher both for our winners but also for many of our regional writers.”
Winners of the fourth annual prize were announced last week. Jules Torti took the first place prize for her memoir Been There, Ate That: A Candy Coated Childhood and Beth Ann Knowles took second place for her memoir The Kimchi Experiment.
“Been There, Ate That: A Candy Coated Childhood by Jules Torti [is] a memoir about ‘edible memories that will transport readers back to a time and place that no longer exists but lingers dormant in our taste buds,’” says Choyce. “The Kimchi Experiment…is ‘a humorous and charming story of adventure of miscommunication, discovery, frustration and growth for two Canadian newlyweds as they spend a year teaching in rural South Korea.’
“Both books this year have unique stylistic voices as well as a strong and quintessentially Canadian sense of humour.”
All winners of the prize receive 10% royalty on the retail price of books sold, as well as an advance for both the winner ($1500) and the second-place prize ($1000). Choyce says Pottersfield Press is already preparing for the fifth annual prize, which is set to take place in the spring of 2022.