Youth and inexperience won the day in the English-language categories of the 22nd annual Trillium Book Awards luncheon, which took place earlier this afternoon in Toronto. The $20,000 English Book Award went to The Withdrawal Method (House of Anansi Press), the debut short-story collection by 31-year-old Pasha Malla, while the $10,000 English Poetry Award went to Crabwise to the Hounds (Coach House Books), the debut of 33-year-old Jeramy Dodds. (The Trilliums honour works by Ontario authors.)
Dodds, who lost the recent Griffin Poetry Prize to veteran A.F. Moritz, accepted his award by saying that he wished he’d brought a crash helmet in case he fainted at the podium, and that maybe he would use his prize money to buy one afterward. Beyond that, he simply thanked the staff of Coach House and his editor there, fellow Trillium nominee Kevin Connolly (who was shortlisted for his poetry collection Revolver), for encouraging him to press on with the collection even when it consisted of barely more than two poems.
Pasha Malla, meanwhile, accepted his award with his father at his side, and rather than talk about himself, he mostly talked about the new Pixar movie Up and the lessons it contains for budding authors. After his speech, Malla told Q&Q Omni that he is currently at work on his first novel, People Park, which is due out from Anansi sometime in 2010. He’s already completed about 150 pages, and he hopes to finish the rest when he does a residency later this year at Berton House in Dawson City, Yukon.
Malla beat out several more high-profile authors “ Nino Ricci and Helen Humphreys “ as well as Ibi Kaslik and Charles Wilkins. The jurors for both English-language awards were Q&Q‘s own review editor Steven Beattie, publishing industry veteran Meg Taylor, and author Emily Schultz.
The French language awards, meanwhile, went to Marguerite Andersen for her novel Le figuier sur le toit (Ã‰ditions L’Interligne) and to Paul Prud’Homme for his children’s book Les Rebuts: Hockey 2 (Ã‰ditions du Vermillon).
English Book Award ($20,000):
Pasha Malla, The Withdrawal Method (House of Anansi Press)
English Poetry Award ($10,000):
Jeramy Dodds, Crabwise to the Hounds (Coach House Books)
French Book Award ($20,000):
Marguerite Andersen, Le figuier sur le toit (Ã‰ditions L’Interligne)
French Children’s Literature Award ($10,000):
Paul Prud’Homme, Les Rebuts: Hockey 2 (Ã‰ditions du Vermillon)