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Don McKay wins BMO Winterset Award

Last week, Don McKay’s The Shell of the Tortoise (Gaspereau Press) became the first ever essay collection to win the $10,000 BMO Winterset Award.

On March 22, the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council presented the prize to McKay, who was born in Owen Sound, Ontario, and now calls St. John’s home.

The jury — made up of Noreen Golfman, Kevin Major, and Lisa Moore — selected McKay’s collection because it “gets at something very fresh, very intelligent and very accessible,” Moore told The Telegram. “[H]e’s also really witty ” those essays keep you awake. … He’s got a kind of sensitivity to his reading audience about very difficult ideas. He’s talking about science, but bringing science into line with poetry, and none of us had ever read anything like that.”

Finalists Edward Riche, nominated for Easy to Like (House of Anansi Press), and Mark Callanan, nominated for Gift Horse (Signal Editions), both received $2,500.

The Winterset Award celebrates writing by authors from Newfoundland and Labrador. Journalist Richard Gwyn founded the prize in 2000 to commemorate his late wife, author Sandra Fraser Gwyn.