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Major poetry prize for Paul Zits

Alberta Literary Awards announced three weeks ago

By: Scott Hayes

  |  Posted: Saturday, Jul 05, 2014 06:00 am

AWARD WINNER – Author Paul Zits shows the book that recently earned him the prestigious Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry at the 2014 Alberta Literary Awards.
AWARD WINNER – Author Paul Zits shows the book that recently earned him the prestigious Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry at the 2014 Alberta Literary Awards.
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2014 Alberta Literary Awards
The other winners include:
R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature – Karen Bass for Graffiti Knight (Pajama Press)
Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction – Ali Bryan for Roost (Freehand Books)
Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Non-fiction – Tyler Trafford for Almost a Great Escape (Goose Lane Editions)
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama – Arun Lakra for Sequence (Playwrights Canada Press)
Amber Bowerman Memorial Travel Writing Award – Trina Moyles for “The Chicken Feather”
James H. Gray Award for Short Non-fiction – Curtis Gillespie for “In the Chair: Clippings From Around the World,” Eighteen Bridges
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story – Jasmina Odor for “His,” Eighteen Bridges
Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award – Kim McCullough for “Night/light”
WGA Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement – Alice Major
For more information, please contact the Writers’ Guild of Alberta at 780-422-8174 or visit

It’s been a winning month for St. Albert-raised author Paul Zits. He took home the prestigious Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry for Massacre Street, his 2013 book of experimental poetry. The award was part of the 2014 Alberta Literary Awards. The nomination didn’t seem to faze him.

“I didn’t think that much about it,” he admitted. “It never crossed my mind. I didn’t give much thought to awards. It was tough to really understand what it all meant. Even now I don’t really know what it means.”

That doesn’t mean that he wasn’t pleased to take home the prize because that is not the case at all. This marks his first writing award.

“It feels nice,” he said, downplaying the sentiment before letting his true emotion come through. “It feels wonderful. It’s pretty outstanding to know that this book now joins the list that includes work by Fred Wah and Kristjana Gunnars and Tim Bowling. It’s wonderful to have the book stand amongst those authors and those texts.”

For his win, he was given a special edition hardcover copy of his book and a cheque for $1,500.

He was also up for the Robert Kroetsch Poetry Book Award and Alan Brownoff was also nominated for a Book Publishing Association award for his book design of Massacre Street.

Locally raised author Astrid Blodgett was also shortlisted for the Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story. Morinville-raised Jessica Kluthe was also up for the Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Non-fiction. She published Rosina, The Midwife last year.

The winners were announced on Friday, June 6, at the Fairmont Palliser Hotel in Calgary at the annual Writers' Guild Award conference. The winners of the Alberta Book Publishing Awards and Edmonton Public Library's Alberta Readers' Choice Awards were announced at the event as well.

The guild

According to the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s website (at, the Alberta Literary Awards are designed to recognize excellence in writing by Alberta authors.

This year, there were 212 submissions covering literature in nine categories.

The website states that the guild is the “largest provincial writers’ organization in Canada” and was formed “to provide a meeting ground and collective voice for the writers of the province. Its mission is to inspire, connect, support, encourage and promote writers and writing, to safeguard the freedom to write and to read, and to advocate for the well-being of writers.”


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