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Awards: Kinew, Kovalyova, White win Kobo Emerging Writer Prizes

Irina Kovalyova

Irina Kovalyova

Canadian-grown e-reading giant Rakuten Kobo honoured three new Canadian writers with its Emerging Writer Prize, presented in three categories, at a ceremony in Toronto on June 21. Each winner received a $10,000 purse along with support for book promotion, marketing, and communications.

Irina Kovalyova, Simon Fraser University molecular biology and biochemistry lecturer, won the literary fiction prize for Specimen (House of Anansi Press), her short-story collection investigating how science and physical reality intersect with emotionality and the human condition. Author Gail Anderson-Dargatz, who judged the category, said in a release she was “entranced” with Kobalyova’s magical prose.

Self-published Nova Scotia author Nicola R. White won in the romance category for Fury’s Kiss, which follows a woman who gets exactly what she wishes for – an escape from her mundane life in Cape Cod – when she discovers she has secret powers. Romance judge Lynsay Sands called White is “a natural storyteller,” commending the author’s writing style.

Was Kinew, the CBC broadcaster, musician, and Canada Reads host, and NDP spokesperson, received the non-fiction prize for The Reason You Walk (Penguin Canada), the story of a father and son’s struggle to repair their broken family in the wake of the residential schooling system and other atrocities faced by the aboriginal community. Author and judge Camilla Gibb called the book “a deeply moving memoir … a gift to this country.”