I had the good fortune of being a judge for the 2015 Saskatchewan Book Awards that were just handed out this past weekend. I was on the panel that decided the winner of the City of Saskatoon and Public Library of Saskatoon Book Award: Manny’s Memories by Ken and Angela Caron. It’s been awhile since I read the book (November-December ish), but of course I remember it well because it was so beautifully written and illustrated. I recommend picking it up-it includes a CD with the book as well that gives some nice context to the story, so it’s well worth the 15 bucks.
This category was particularly difficult to judge, because it encompassed all different genres of books: children’s books, cookbooks, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, you name it! From what I understood, the only criteria of the category was that the author had to be living in Saskatoon, so pretty broad. How do you compare a children’s book to a book of poetry? It’s challenging, let me tell you, but I believe the most deserving book won, and I stand behind our decision completely.
There were about 20 books in total that needed to be read, some very short, some very long. I even cooked a recipe out of the cookbook to help decide where I stood on it. So yes, it was a time-consuming process, but because I love reading, it was a really enjoyable task. I must say, this has also given me a new appreciation for the people who judge major literary prizes, because many of those high profile, international awards have 50-100 submissions. Even for die-hard book lovers like myself, reading one book every day or two can be tiresome, so luckily I’m starting slow with a regional award like this one. But I’m hoping I’ll get the chance to judge more book awards in the future (call me!).
The hardest part was keeping quiet about this newest adventure on my blog for this long, so the next few reviews that you will see on here are some of the books that I read as a judge for this category. I’ve always been a big fan of Alberta-grown lit, but I can now confidently say that Saskatchewan has some pretty good authors as well.