This year’s Libris Awards, run by the Canadian Booksellers Association, will be given out on Sunday evening, immediately following the closing of the BookExpo Canada trade show for the day. So herewith is the latest installment of a Q&Q tradition: our predictions for the Libris winners. Note that our past efforts have ranged in success from middling to abysmal; govern yourselves accordingly.
Fiction Book of the Year
Elizabeth Hay’s Late Nights on Air and Michael Ondaatje’s Divisadero (both McClelland & Stewart) battled it out for the Giller, and Hay won, joining Ondaatje in the ranks of Canada’s top-selling novelists. But it was Lawrence Hill’s The Book of Negroes (HarperCollins Canada) that seemed to have the slow-burning word-of-mouth, which should make it a sentimental favourite here.
Non-fiction Book of the Year
Most authors can only dream of having the kind of impact Naomi Klein enjoys. Her most recent book, The Shock Doctrine: The Rise of Disaster Capitalism (Knopf Canada) is no exception, and has a clear edge over Richard Gwyn’s John A: The Man Who Made Us (Random House Canada) and Ian McAllister’s The Last Wild Wolves: Ghosts of the Rain Forest (Douglas & McIntyre).
Author of the Year
A tight race, and we’ve already picked Lawrence Hill and Naomi Klein to be rewarded in the above categories. But most would agree that Elizabeth Hay‘s Scotiabank Giller win couldn’t happen to a nicer author, so we’re betting that voters will share the wealth.
Children’s Author of the Year and Children’s Illustrator of the Year
This has been Mélanie Watt‘s breakout year, making her a shoo-in for the illustrator prize (over Wallace Edwards and Jeremy Tankard). She’s also up for the author prize, but we have a feeling voters might go with a more text-heavy author there, and we’ll pick Deborah Ellis to squeak by over Martha Brooks.
Publisher of the Year
It’s a multinational-heavy slugfest, with HarperCollins Canada, McClelland & Stewart, Penguin Group Canada, and Random House of Canada all in the ring. We have a feeling that enough eyes are on Penguin to leave them the last one standing in this category.
Small Press Publisher of the Year
Arsenal Pulp Press han’t actually had a BookExpo Canada booth for a couple years, but they did have great success last fall with a first novel, David Chariandy’s Soucouyant, which should put them ahead of Cormorant Books and NeWest Press. (Though they promptly lost Chariandy to a larger house, McClelland & Stewart. So it goes.)
Editor of the Year
We’ll link this one to the Author of the Year prize and bet that HarperCollins Canada’s Iris Tupholme, Lawrence Hill’s editor, will take it, beating out Cormorant’s Marc CÃ´té and Random House Canada’s Anne Collins.
Book Design of the Year
To the extent that we feel confident in any of our predictions, we feel confident in this one: Kelly Hill‘s work on her boss CS Richardson’s novel The End of the Alphabet (Doubleday Canada) will result in her second design Libris in a row. (She won last year for The Birth House.) Also in the running are the aforementioned Richardson, for The Frozen Thames (McClelland & Stewart), and the team of Mary Opper, Paul Hodgson, and Christine Gambin, for At the Sharp End (Viking Canada).
Bookseller of the Year (presented in memory of Roy Britnell)
Expanding in the year of parity? That has to be bold enough to secure a win for the two-year-old Toronto mini-chain TYPE Books, over Audreys Books in Edmonton and Munro’s Books in Victoria.
Marketing Achievement of the Year
We’re guessing book-specific promotions have a bit of an edge in this category, so Raincoast’s Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows campaign might trump HarperCollins Canada’s HarperPerennial campaign and House of Anansi Press’s Want a Bag With That? anniversary promotion. And hey, Raincoast got through a Harry Potter pre-release without suing anyone, so that should count for something.
Nominees in the remaining four categories “ which we won’t even attempt guesses at “ are listed below. Predictions, corrections, heckling, etc., are welcome in the comments section.
Distributor of the Year
- North 49 Books
- Penguin Canada
- Raincoast Books/Book Express
Campus Bookseller of the Year
- The Bookstore at Western, London, Ontario
- University of Alberta Bookstore, Edmonton
- University of Toronto Bookstore
Specialty Bookseller of the Year
- Books for Business, Toronto
- Mabel’s Fables, Toronto
- Vancouver Kidsbooks
Sales Representative of the Year (B.C., presented in memory of Gordon S. Garner)
- Dot Middlemass, Kate Walker & Company
- Richard Nadeau, Douglas & McIntyre
- Kate Saunders, Simon & Schuster Canada