The Writers’ Trust of Canada has announced that this year’s recipient of the Matt Cohen Award is Paul Quarrington. The $20,000 award is given to a writer who has amassed a distinguished body of work. Quarrington will be presented with the award at a celebration called “Paul Quarrington: A Life in Music, Words, and on Screen,” part of Harbourfront’s International Festival of Authors. The tribute, which is to be held on Oct. 24, includes speakers such as Margaret Atwood, Roddy Doyle, Alistair MacLeod, and Paul Gross, as well as a performance by the Rheostatics (who will reunite for the event) and Quarrington’s own band, Porkbelly Futures.
Quarrington, who was diagnosed with stage four lung cancer last May, wrote candidly about his health and his reaction to the diagnosis in this weekend’s National Post:
Entering the doctor’s office in early May, I was prepared for pretty dire news. After all, a week earlier they had drained seven litres of fluid from around my lungs. In the intervening days, I’d been doing some bartering with the Almighty (“I’ll take throat cancer for ten!”) but it availed me not, the diagnosis was as dire as they come: lung cancer, stage four. There is no stage five, at least not in cancer-speak, although I guess stage five is really the launching into the great unknown.