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Joan Thomas takes Amazon first novel award

The winner of this year’s Amazon First Novel Award is Winnipeg author Joan Thomas, who won for Reading by Lightning (Goose Lane Editions). A coming-of-age tale set in rural Manitoba around the time of the Second World War, the novel previously won the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize for best first book in the Canadian and Caribbean category.

Read Q&Q‘s review of Reading by Lightning (in which reviewer Maureen Garvie writes, “Most first-time novelists strain for the gold ring; Joan Thomas grabs it effortlessly in this wonderful book”).

Thomas won the $7,500 prize at an awards gala in Toronto on Wednesday night. She was up against Michael Blouin’s Chase & Haven (Coach House Books), Claudia Dey’s Stunt (Coach House), Patrick Lane’s Red Dog, Red Dog, Mary Swan‘s The Boys in the Trees (Henry Holt), and Padma Viswanathan’s The Toss of a Lemon (Random House Canada).