Novelist‚ playwright‚ and Ryerson University writing instructor Cordelia Strube’s novel On the Shores of Darkness‚ There is Light (ECW Press) has been named winner of this year’s Toronto Book Award‚ recognizing titles evocative of the city. Strube was presented with her $10,000 prize at a ceremony at the Toronto Reference Library on Oct. 11. Finalists Howard Akler; Ann Y.K. Choi; John Lorinc, Michael McClelland, Ellen Scheinberg‚ and Tatum Taylor; and Marnie Woodrow each received a $1,000 purse.
Strube’s novel follows Harriet‚ an 11-year-old Toronto girl who dreams of running away to Algonquin Park for the sake of her art – a series of mixed-media work that is incomprehensible to the ever-frustrating adults surrounding her – and her loving younger brother Irwin‚ who suffers from hydrocephalus.
“Congratulations to Cordelia Strube and her award-winning novel,” said city librarian Vickery Bowles in a press release. “The title, which comes from the Keats poem ‘Homer,’ shows us the vital role that books play in our lives today: by understanding Strube’s protagonist, Harriet, and her difficult circumstances, we all come to see that bit of light on the edge of a difficult shore. What a beautiful novel!”
The prize‚ now in its 42nd year‚ is administered annually by the City of Toronto and the Toronto Public Library. The 2016 judging committee was comprised of Irfan Ali, Ann Jansen, Kilby Smith-McGregor and Q&Q‘s Conan Tobias.