(St. John’s, NL – Feb 9, 2023) – In Fall 2022, WritersNL celebrated the Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award and named Charis Cotter’s The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story, published by Tundra Books, this year’s winner. We regret to announce that the award was given to the correct author but the wrong book.
The award jury had in fact selected Charis Cotter’s other shortlisted submission, Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale published by Running the Goat Books & Broadsides, as the winner. At this time, we would like to officially recognize Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale, illustrated by Jenny Dwyer as the winner of the 2022 Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award.
WritersNL has investigated how the error occurred. A staff member incorrectly copied the winner information provided by the jury into a document that was subsequently used to prepare the trophy and award ceremony speaking notes as well as emails and press releases concerning the award. Our organization has put new oversight processes in place so this type of human error cannot occur again. Jurors will now be required to sign a form outlining their list of selections, and this form will be reviewed by all members of WritersNL’s Literary Awards Committee, as well as by WritersNL staff, before any announcements on an award’s longlist, shortlist, or winners are made.
We deeply regret the mistake that was made during the administration of this award, and we sincerely apologize to the teams who created both Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale and The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story whose experiences were tarnished by this error.
The NL Book Awards draw attention to some of the finest literary works being produced by writers in our province. Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale, written for readers aged 9-12 years, is based on a story that Newfoundland storyteller Brian Walsh told Cotter about something that happened to his own mother in the 1920s. The book award jury described the book this way:
“An imaginative retelling of an old Newfoundland ghost story, Charis Cotter weaves the tale from a child’s point of view, as three children listen to grownups tell stories on a cold winter’s night. A true story, gently evoking the atmosphere of an outport Newfoundland kitchen a century ago. There’s a delightful lilt and wonderful pacing as events unfold. Beautiful spare writing. Authentic characters and pitch perfect dialogue. Spooky without being terrifying. An author’s note at the end explains where the story comes from, adding depth and interest, a bonus for adults and children wanting more. The book is beautifully designed with warm, realistic illustrations that give the look and feel of times past. A concise, well-rounded story written simply enough for children, yet eloquent and classic enough to appeal to adults. And in the end the question remains open – what really happened here? Truly mysterious.”
This error should also not take away from the excellence of the other two books shortlisted for the 2022 Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award, The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story by Charis Cotter and Once Upon an Iceberg: Errol’s Twillingate Adventure by Sheilah Lukins.
The Dollhouse: A Ghost Story, published by Tundra Books and written for readers aged 9-12 years, tells the story of Alice, a girl caught in the middle of her parents’ divorce who is forced to spend the summer at a sprawling, spooky home in the countryside. When she discovers a mysterious dollhouse in the attic, Alice has to uncover its connection to the strange dreams she’s been having.
Once Upon an Iceberg: Errol’s Twillingate Adventure, published by Breakwater Books and written for readers aged 7-9 years, follows fearless young mouse Errol as he travels to Twillingate in search of his canine friend Gus’ father. Along the way, he visits Twillingate landmarks like the Long Point Lighthouse, discovers treasure on the beach, and almost floats away with the icebergs.
Once again, WritersNL and its Literary Awards Committee wishes to sincerely apologize to Charis Cotter, Running the Goat Books & Broadsides, Tundra Books, the NL Book Award jurors, and to readers for our error in the announcement of the 2022 Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award. We appreciate the grace with which the authors, publishers, and jury handled this unfortunate situation.
The 2022 Bruneau Family Children’s/Young Adult Literature Award winner Footsteps in Bay de Verde: A Mysterious Tale, illustrated by Jenny Dwyer, is available at www.runningthegoat.com and booksellers across the country.
WritersNL Executive Director
Jen Winsor: email@example.com
The Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards are held annually by WritersNL to recognize excellence in writing by authors residing in Newfoundland and Labrador.