This year’s Libris Awards will be presented on the trade show floor on Sunday, and we at Q&Q couldn’t pass up another chance to try out our prognostication skills. We’re well aware, though, that our annual predictions are a source of much merriment. Let’s just say that if picking Libris winners was a driving test, we’d be real good hitchhikers. Nevertheless, onward.
Fiction Book of the Year
Peter Behrens won the GG for The Law of Dreams, but the real contest in this category is between Vincent Lam and Ami McKay – and it’s a tough one to call. Still, the powerhouse sales for Lam’s Bloodletting & Miraculous Cures should give it a slight edge over McKay’s The Birth House. (And Stephen Henighan, if you’re reading this – Margaret Atwood had nothing to do with this prediction.)
Non-Fiction Book of the Year
Strong sellers and popular authors all in this category – but Adrienne Clarkson’s political star power might put her memoir Heart Matters ahead by a nose over Margaret MacMillan’s Nixon in China and David Suzuki: The Autobiography.
Author of the Year
Everybody loves Alice Munro, but as with Fiction Book of the Year, this one’s between Lam and McKay. We’re guessing that voters will choose to split the wealth, and well, since we’ve already chosen Bloodletting up top…. Also, with her interactive website and her warm persona, Ami McKay is a bookseller and reader favourite.
Children’s Author of the Year
Fox Walked Alone creator Barbara Reid is nominated in both the author and illustrator categories this year, which may have the unlucky effect of splitting her votes. Booksellers might incline toward rewarding a text-only author such as Arthur Slade, but author-illustrator Mélanie Watt has scared up big sales for Scaredy Squirrel, and unlike Reid, Watt only has the one chance to draw votes.
Children’s Illustrator of the Year
The busy and versatile Bill Slavin for this one, over the aforementioned Barbara Reid and the less prolific Leo Yerxa.
Publisher of the Year
Penguin Canada enjoyed a high profile last year, with media-friendly events and big-name authors, and we suppose we should also never rule out that scrappy underdog Random House of Canada. But House of Anansi Press gets the edge, given that it’s had books on just about every major award shortlist lately. Anansi may also be a sentimental favourite, since it’s celebrating its 40th anniversary this year.
Small Publisher of the Year
Both Coach House Books and Gaspereau Press have well-deserved reputations for producing beautifully designed, defiantly literary books. But it would be hard to deny Cormorant Books this year, with the house punching so far above its weight in terms of visibility and award nominations.
Specialty Bookseller of the Year
There’s no publishing category out there that has a greater connection with fans than science fiction, and Toronto’s BakkaPhoenix Books has always inspired particular loyalty. That should push it past Calgary’s Self Connection Books and Dartmouth, Nova Scotia’s Tattletales Books.
Bookseller of the Year (presented in memory of Roy Britnell)
We’ve picked Victoria stalwart Bolen Books to win before – incorrectly. “We never win,” a Bolen staffer said that year (philosophically, not bitterly). But we figure they’ve got to take the prize sometime, and this could be their year. Also in the running are two Toronto veterans, Book City and Pages Books and Magazines.
Editor of the Year
All that aforementioned award success for Anansi reflects well on Lynn Henry, and should make her a first-time winner this year, beating out Anne Collins of Random House Canada and Lynne Missen of HarperCollins Canada.
Book Design of the Year
Outstanding design work is crucial to Kids Can Press’s The Extinct Files, designed by Karen Powers, and Dundurn Press’s Invaders from the North, designed by Alison Carr. A novel would seem to be less reliant on bringing the pretty, but we’re guessing Kelly Hill‘s elegant design for The Birth House will combine with the book’s huge impact over the past year-plus to carry the day.
Distributor of the Year
The always reliable Raincoast Books has won for the past three years – why would voters stop loving them now? Also in the running are HarperCollins Canada and North 49 Books.
Marketing Achievement of the Year
Penguin’s promotion for The Fighter was unquestionably attention-getting, but actual sales should count for something. On the other hand, Nimbus Publishing’s Steam Lion display contest was innovative and popular, so booksellers may choose to reward the small Halifax press rather than Douglas & McIntyre’s David Suzuki campaign.
Also being presented Sunday are Sales Representative of the Year (Atlantic Region), to either Genevieve Loughlin of Hornblower Books, Lynne Reeder of Random House of Canada, or Don Skinner of HarperCollins Canada; and Campus Bookseller of the Year, to UBC Bookstore in Vancouver, The Bookstore at Western in London, Ontario, or University of New Brunswick Bookstore in Saint John.