The jury notes are in for the three finalists for the Atlantic Publishers Marketing Association’s Best Atlantic-Published Book Award
The three contenders are:
Wabanaki Modern by Emma Hassencahl-Perley and John Leroux (Goose Lane Editions)
Food, Culture, Place by Lori McCarthy and Marsha Tulk (Boulder Books)
Operation Masonic by Helen C. Escott (Flanker Press)
The prize will go to the publisher whose book “best exemplifies excellence and achievement in all aspects and phases of the publishing process.”
The APMA (which publishes ABT) shared the jury notes on what drew the judges to the finalists.
“The story of how the artists came together at a critical time in Wabanaki art history is accompanied by flowing, descriptive text in English, French and Mi’kmaw, offering stunning visuals and detailed analysis of the scope, courage, tenacity and creative genius of Atlantic Canada’s Indigenous artists, laying the groundwork for the vibrant Wabanaki artists who continue to flourish today.
“This gorgeous book accompanies a major exhibition and documentary film of the same name, showcasing the eclectic range of modern Wabanaki art design, featured on silkscreened notecards, jewelry, tapestries, beautiful prints and English porcelain while weaving together the stories of the artists who were instrumental in establishing the modern Indigenous art movement. The production values of this timely retrospective truly impressed the jury, who all agreed it was beautiful, of historic and cultural significance and a crucial contribution to the Canadian identity.”
Food, Culture, Place: Stories, Traditions, and Recipes of Newfoundland
“Food, Culture, Place is that most elusive of projects: a coffee-table book you could use in your kitchen. The jury found this book a winner on every account: stunning photography, culturally valuable stories and recipes, some grand promotional opportunities, and a smart publishing strategy. The book delivers exactly what the title promises, and it’s a joy to behold. Even if you don’t cook, this book is a treasure for its language and storytelling — the mingling of cultures through history and their common connection in food.”
Operation Masonic is the only novel on the list, and Jerry Cranford, publisher at Flanker Press, said author Helen C. Escott earned her place with hard work. Escott went to 50 book signings to promote the book, equal to nearly one a week for an entire year.
“The cover image came about when I discussed the Freemason angle with our graphic designer,” Cranford told ABT. “The first thing that comes to mind for many when they think of the Masons is secrecy: hidden codes, symbols, covert societies. As a result, the All-Seeing Eye, a well-known symbol depicting the Masons’ omnipotence and supposed far-reaching power, became central to the visual representation of the book. Indeed, the book is steeped in mystery, not only of the whodunit murder variety.”
The jury agreed. They wrote:
“Get ready to be entertained, terrified and amused. Once you open this book, you’ll be transported to a world of ancient secrets, scandals and murders through the nib of Helen C. Escott’s adventurous pen, who will take you on a hunt for the killer. Operation Masonic is an intriguing, fast-paced and full of action crime thriller with a complex story plot surrounded by centuries of secrets and unexpected twists.
“Keeping with traditions of great mystery novels that combine ancient history, secret societies and hidden symbols, this engaging and well-written page turner will appeal to any book reader who appreciates a good crime thriller. With smart, author-led marketing that showcased the book across Canada, a great cover and production value, this is a book that truly celebrates the business of publishing.”
The award will be given out at the Atlantic Book Awards on Wednesday, June 9, at the Halifax Central Library at 7 p.m. and will be hosted by journalist, author, and editor Lindsay Ruck.
Tickets ($20) are available online now.
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