2020 Fred Kerner Book Award Winner Announced!

The winner of the 2020 Canadian Authors Association Fred Kerner Book Award is Adrienne Drobnies for Salt and Ashes (Signature Editions)

Judges’ Comments:
“A scientist mourning her husband in poetry is the heart of this extraordinary collection. Here is loss, lament, longing in elegiac measure. Deeply moving in the way that only very truthful poetry moves, Drobnies makes us walk with her, move with her,  and share her sorrows and still fresh joys, as she trains our eyes on what we might never otherwise see but for her gift. In accompanying her, we receive a finer understanding of intimacy, grief, wisdom, freedom. A book-length haiku. Fearless, revelatory, packed full with love.”
“Salt and Ashes is a fearless, intimate, deeply affecting indelible debut collection of love, loss, longing and healing that unsettles, untangles, astounds and enlightens, lingering in the mind and soul long after Drobnies’ final poignant words are read.”
Congratulations as well to the other finalists of the 2020 Fred Kerner Book Award – all great examples of Canada’s outstanding authors:

Jennifer Wynne Webber for With Glowing Hearts
(Scirocco Drama; imprint of J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing)Judges’ Comments:
“Webber’s play reminds us that everywhere there are stories waiting to be told, in which women shaped and saved communities. Here she gives new life to the compassionate, scrappy band of Kirkland Lake characters who faced down Big Mining and won. Developed with an unerring ear for place and time, Webber’s With Glowing Hearts, and the women in it, deserve to shine on the Canadian stage, again and again.”
“An enthralling, inspirational underdog story, With Glowing Hearts is a passionate historical tribute that will lift your spirits and open your mind to the sheer power of determined ordinary women rallying together in extraordinary times to change the world.”

Pamela Porter  for Likely Stories

(Ronsdale Press)

Judges’ Comments:

“This cadenced, steady collection feels like prayed observance. Porter’s poetry reflects on art, history, love and nature in much the same way a Jesuit might embark on spiritual exercises, to examine conscience and consciousness in full. Sage and lyrical in its range, this is a volume of poetry given breath by a sensitive intelligence.”

“Likely Stories is a stirring, eloquent and persuasively imaginative glimpse into that which we call life on this watery planet, with all of its fantasies, foibles, joy and pain, laid bare in a lyrical, thoughtfully measured voice.”

Bob Joseph with Cynthia F. Joseph for Indigenous Relations

(Indigenous Relations Press)

Judges’ Comments:

“This book will be vitally useful to those seeking to partner with Indigenous Peoples and for allies joining the battle for Indigenous rights or indeed, anyone from outside Indigenous cultures and communities who wishes to be better informed about Indigenous relations. The Josephs’ steady supply of practical examples illustrate with humour and patience the most common pitfalls non-Indigenous people are guilty of, and steer us towards reconciliation, respect and understanding in extremely practical, constructive ways.”
“An absolute must-read, Indigenous Relations is a timely trailblazer, an insightful and invaluable guidebook-the quintessential road map-for anyone and everyone interested in crushing barriers and conducting respectful business and personal relationships with Indigenous Peoples, finally making reconciliation a reality.”

Nancy Jo Cullen for The Western Alienation Merit Badge

(Wolsak and Wynn Publishers)

Judges’ Comments:

“In taut chapters, Cullen’s book captures the weight of grief, poverty, the staggering complexity of the ties that bind and break siblings as children and adults, and the beauty of love found and then miraculously found again, while simultaneously telling us the tale of how the west was (and is) lost. Sweet, dark, raw, true.”
“Through four decades of complex, strained family dynamics, Cullen has crafted an achingly real, multi-layered, memorable coming-of-age tale of heartbreak, queerness, estrangement, love, regret and yearning, all set in Calgary during Canada’s ill-fated National Energy Program-not to be missed.”

About the Award


The Fred Kerner Book Award is awarded annually to a Canadian Authors  member who has the best overall book published in the previous calendar  year.

Fred Kerner was a devoted and long-time CAA member. An Honourary  President of the association until his passing in 2011 at 90, Fred was  an author, journalist, editor, teacher, and mentor. He wrote more than  twelve books and also wrote for magazines, radio and TV, and he gave  unstintingly of his time to assist emerging writers.

The  winner of the award was announced by Diane Kerner, daughter of the late Fred Kerner, during the 2020 Fred Kerner Book Awards event on November 28, 2020.

Find out more about the above others and the awards at https://canadianauthors.org/national/2020-fred-kerner-book-award-shortlist/