The Hamilton Literary Awards shortlist is out

Michelle Li
November 30, 2023
Est. Reading Time: 2 minutes

The shortlist for the thirtieth annual Hamilton Literary Awards was announced in November and contains celebrated local writers and their works

On Dec. 14, the Hamilton Arts Council will be holding their thirtieth annual Literary Awards. The shortlist has been announced, featuring 16 local authors and their works. The categories are fiction, non-fiction, poetry, children's books and the Kerry Schooley Book Award.

The HAC partners with the Hamilton Public Library to hold the event. The ceremony will feature live readings by shortlisted writers, along with the live announcement of the winner of each category.

Megan Divecha, the program and community engagement coordinator at HAC, explained a bit about the awards' history. The Literary Awards first began in 1993 and have since become an annual tradition that recognizes and celebrates local authors from the Hamilton community.

The Awards are meant to bring the city's growing literary community together and to expand the audiences of local literature. Divecha explained that the purpose of the awards is to help build audiences for local authors and to grow professional networks for authors and community members interested in literacy. The Awards offer opportunities for interacting with publishers, local booksellers and the authors themselves.

"If this audience member is new to the literary art scene in Hamilton, then I hope they walk away with an appreciation for how rich the literary art scene is in [the city]. And if they're already entrenched in that literary art scene, then I hope they make connections to grow their personal and professional networks," said Divecha.

"If this audience member is new to the literary art scene in Hamilton, then I hope they walk away with an appreciation for how rich the literary art scene is in [the city]. And if they're already entrenched in that literary art scene, then I hope they make connections to grow their personal and professional networks."

Megan Divecha, program and community engagement coordinator, Hamilton Arts Council

This year, the Literary Awards are being hosted by Anuja Varghese, winner of this year's Governor General's Literary Fiction Award.

The process for organizing the event begins in March, when applicants can submit their books for consideration. Once applicants are confirmed to be eligible, their applications are brought before an adjudication panel comprised of 15 Canadian literary arts professionals, three for each category. After each book is scored, the shortlist is announced and then planning for the ceremony begins.

Divecha herself recalled being inspired by the excerpts read by the authors when she was a student attending the Awards. Having been impacted by hearing live readings at past awards ceremonies, she hopes that other students can also feel inspired that way.

If students are interested in being more involved in the literary arts, the Awards are a great way to meet with people in the industry. At the same time, they are also a great way to see artistry and creativity make local history.

Tickets start at the accessible rate of $5, and there are a limited number available. They can be bought here. Divecha encourages students to get in contact with her if they would like more information about the event, the shortlisted authors or ticket prices.

Author

  • Michelle Li

    Michelle is in her fourth year of the Biomedical Discovery and Commercialization program. She aims to highlight the arts and culture side of the Hamilton and McMaster community. Outside of the Sil, you can find her testing new recipes, drinking tea or spending too much money on skincare.

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