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Announcing the Winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards!

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is pleased to announce the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards.

At this year’s gala on June 6, presented by CDS Global and hosted by humourist (and award-winner) Scott Feschuk, the NMAF presented Gold and Silver awards in 47 categories representing the best in Canadian magazines from the year 2013.

Complete list (PDF) of all winners
Full-text of all nominated and winning articles
Twitter highlights
La version française

SPECIAL AWARD WINNERS

Magazine of the Year
Sponsored by RBC Royal Bank
Cottage Life

Magazine Website of the Year
Macleans.ca
14720

Tablet Magazine of the Year
Sportsnet

Best New Magazine Writer
Sponsored by Reader’s Digest Foundation
Catherine McIntyre

Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
Kim Jernigan

Top Winning Magazines at the 37th National Magazine Awards:

Magazine Gold Silver HM
The Walrus 7 6 22
Maclean’s 4 1 13
Maisonneuve 4 1 9
L’actualité 3 2 18
Report on Business 3 2 16
Cottage Life 3 1 9
Eighteen Bridges 3 1 7
Legion Magazine 2 0 1
Western Living 1 3 4
Sportsnet 1 2 7
The Grid 1 1 12
Hazlitt 1 1 8
Flare 1 1 2
United Church Observer 1 1 2
enRoute 1 1 1
Malahat Review 1 1 1
Torontoist 1 1 1
Toronto Life 0 2 16
Jobboom 0 2 0

See the complete list of winners at magazine-awards.com.

INTEGRATED AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS  

Best Single Issue
Tenth Anniversary Issue
The Walrus


Magazine Covers
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Infographics
How Much Does a Street Cost?
The Grid

Editorial Package (Web)
Canada’s Best New Restaurants
enRoute
13628

Online Video
Boy Genius
Maclean’s

Single Service Article Package
Calendrier de l’avent
Ricardo

Words & Pictures
Sponsored by CDS Global
Water
The Walrus

WRITING AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Arts & Entertainment
Curtis Gillespie
Rebel Without Applause
Eighteen Bridges

Best Short Feature
Paul Wells
Boy Genius
Maclean’s 

Blogs
Jamie Bradburn, Kevin Plummer, David Wencer
Historicist
Torontoist

Business
Sponsored by Accenture
Charles Wilkins
This Little Piggy Went to Market…and the Farmer Lost Money
Report on Business

Columns
Sponsored by Impresa Communications Ltd.
Chantal Hébert
Politique
L’actualité

Editorial Package (Print)
Sponsored by Canadian Society of Magazine Editors
Marine Corniou, Dominique Forget, Joel Leblanc, Raymond Lemieux, Chantal Srivastava
Août 2013
Québec Science

Essays
Curtis Gillespie
In The Chair
Eighteen Bridges

Fiction
Jess Taylor
Paul
Little Brother Magazine

Health & Medicine
Ann Silversides
First Do No Harm
Maisonneuve

How-To
Jane Rodmell, David Zimmer
Best Flavour Ever
Cottage Life

Humour
Scott Feschuk
Assemble ingredients. Pause dramatically.
Maclean’s

Investigative Reporting
Adam Day
One Martyr Down
Legion Magazine

One of a Kind
Craig Davidson
The Marineland Dreamland
The Walrus

Personal Journalism
Liz Windhorst Harmer
Blip
Malahat Review

Poetry
Karen Solie
Conversion
Hazlitt

Politics & Public Interest
Lisa Fitterman
The Avenger
The Walrus

Profiles
Omar Mouallem
The Kingdom of Haymour
Eighteen Bridges

Science, Technology & Environment
Sponsored by GE Canada
Alanna Mitchell
Losing the Hooded Grebe
United Church Observer 

Service: Health & Family
Sharon Adams
Lest We Forget: The Shocking Crisis Facing Our Wounded Veterans
Legion Magazine

Service: Lifestyle
Valérie Borde
Vive le poisson éco!
L’actualité

Service: Personal Finance & Business
Sponsored by Manulife Financial
Denny Manchee
The Hand-Me-Down Blues
Cottage Life

Society
Dan Werb
The Fix
The Walrus

Sports & Recreation
Jonathan Trudel
La machine à broyer les rêves
L’actualité

Travel
Taras Grescoe
Big Mac
The Walrus

 

VISUAL AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Sponsored by The Lowe-Martin Group
Paul Sych
Issue 1
fshnunlimited (f.u.)

Art Direction of a Single Article
Underline Studio
Not in the Age of the Pharaohs
Prefix Photo

Beauty
John Van Der Schilden, Photographer
Brittany Eccles, Art Director
Juliana Schiavinatto, Stylist
Vanessa Craft, Beauty Director
Masterpiece Theatre
ELLE Canada

Creative Photography
Paul Weeks
Wall Candy
Azure

Fashion
Petra Collins, Photographer
Jed Tallo, Art Director
Corey Ng, Stylist
Pastels Take Shape
Flare

Homes & Gardens
Martin Tessler, Photographer
Paul Roelofs, Art Director
Nicole Sjöstedt, Stylist
Bright Idea
Western Living

Illustration
Selena Wong
Old Wounds
Maisonneuve

Magazine Website Design
TheWalrus.ca
The Walrus

Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Sponsored by CNW Group
Brett Gundlock
El Pueblo
Maisonneuve

Portrait Photography
Anya Chibis
Larry Fink
Report on Business

Spot Illustration
Gracia Lam
The Elite Yellow Peril
Maisonneuve

Still-Life Photography
Liam Mogan
Set Pieces
Sharp

ABOUT THE 37th ANNUAL NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS

More than 500 members of the Canadian magazine industry—publishers, editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, circulators and more—joined esteemed sponsors and other guests at the 37th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 6, 2014, at The Carlu in Toronto, presented by CDS Global.

This year, from nearly 2000 individual entries received nationwide, the NMAF’s 238 volunteer judges nominated a total of 376 submissions from 92 different Canadian magazines for awards in 47 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, as well as the Ontario Media Development Corporation.

The NMAF thanks its corporate sponsors Accenture, GE Canada, Manulife Financial, RBC Royal Bank, The Lowe-Martin Group, Canadian Society of Magazine Editors, Penguin Random House and Reader’s Digest Foundation for their generous financial support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its media partners Cottage Life Media, Impresa Communications Ltd., Masthead, Rogers Media, TC Media and Toronto Life for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF thanks its event partners CNW Group and Media Vantage, The CarluDaniel et Daniel, Relay Experience, KlixPix and Michèle Champagne for their generous support of the National Magazine Awards.

The NMAF gratefully acknowledges all its suppliers and its contributors who donated gifts in kind to support the awards program. We thank them for their generosity, interest and expertise. Thanks also to our hard-working event volunteers.

And thanks again to our wonderful Master of Ceremonies, Scott Feschuk.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS FOUNDATION

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print and digital publications through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts.

For more information, visit magazine-awards.com and follow us on Twitter (@MagAwards).

 

 

Top 10 Canadian Magazine Editorial Packages

Next Friday June 6 we’ll find out who will be the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards. [TICKETS]

The award for Editorial Package (Print) goes to the most successful packaging of related editorial content, and is sponsored by the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors. The jury has selected a shortlist of ten finalists for the Gold and Silver awards.

ELLE Canada

Ottawa Magazine

Québec Science

 

Report on Business

Ricardo

Spacing

Sportsnet

Toronto Life

United Church Observer

Vancouver Magazine

Which do you think is best? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14

See also:
Top 10 Business Articles in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Personal Finance Articles in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Columnists in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Science Stories in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Photojournalists in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Fashion Spreads in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Canadian Magazine Illustrations
Top 9 Infographics in Canadian Magazines
Top 6 Canadian Magazines for Art Direction
How Did They Create That Cover?

Top Magazine Videos in Canada

 

 

Top 10 Business Articles in Canadian Magazines

Next Friday June 6 we’ll find out who will be the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards. [TICKETS]

This year’s jury has selected 10 finalists for the award for Business magazine journalism, an award sponsored by Accenture. You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees here. Here’s a peek at this year’s nominees…

Joe Castaldo
Betting It All
Canadian Business

 

Theresa Tedesco
A CEO’s Crisis Lines
Financial Post Magazine

 

Nicolas Mesly
Les financiers passent à la ferme
L’actualité

 

Marc-André Sabourin
Les dragons de la techno
L’actualité

 

Bruce Livesey, Nicole Brewster-Mercury
It Just Got More Complicated
Report on Business

 

Trevor Cole
The Sweet Spot
Report on Business

 

Eric Reguly
The Smartest Guys on the Planet
Report on Business

 

Charles Wilkins
This Little Piggy Went to Market…and the Farmer Lost Money
Report on Business

 

John Lorinc
Pension Envy
The Walrus

 

Leah McLaren
Trumped
Toronto Life

 

Which do you think is best? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14

You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-awards.com.

See also:
Top 10 Personal Finance Articles in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Columnists in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Science Stories in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Photojournalists in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Fashion Spreads in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Canadian Magazine Illustrations
Top 9 Infographics in Canadian Magazines
Top 6 Canadian Magazines for Art Direction
How Did They Create That Cover?

Top Magazine Videos in Canada

Top 10 Personal Finance Articles in Canadian Magazines

In just over a week, on Friday June 6, we’ll find out who will be named the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards. [TICKETS]

The award for Service: Personal Finance & Business goes to the writer of best informational article covering personal finance, careers and business in a Canadian magazine. This award is sponsored by Manulife Financial. The jury has selected a shortlist of ten finalists for the Gold and Silver awards. You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees here. Have a look at the finalists…

Bryan Borzykowski
Boost Your RRSP in 2013
Canadian Business

Denny Manchee
The Hand-Me-Down Blues
Cottage Life

Susan Mohammad
The best defence
Listed

David Aston
What’s Your Magic Number?
MoneySense

Dan Bortolotti
ETF All-Stars
MoneySense

Julie Cazzin
The Great TFSA Race
MoneySense

Sarah Efron
Reality Check
MoneySense

David Hodges, Preet Banerjee
Flex Your…”Money Muscles”
MoneySense

Deborah Aarts, Igor Bonifacic, Anthony Davis, Melissa Edwards, Jim McElgunn, Joanna Pachner, David Pimentel, Ian Portsmouth, Mira Shenker
Opportunity Guide 2014
Profit

Dawn Calleja, Doug Steiner, Anna-Kaisa Walker, Dave Morris, Thomas Watson, David Berman, Sean Silcoff, Shirley Won, John Daly
Invest Like a Legend
Report on Business

 

Which do you think is best? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14

You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-awards.com.

See also:
Top 10 Columnists in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Science Stories in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Photojournalists in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Fashion Spreads in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Canadian Magazine Illustrations
Top 9 Infographics in Canadian Magazines
Top 6 Canadian Magazines for Art Direction
How Did They Create That Cover?

Top Magazine Videos in Canada

Top 10 Columnists in Canadian Magazines

On Friday June 6 we’ll find out who will be the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards. [TICKETS]

The award for Columns goes to the writer of best regularly featured column in a Canadian magazine, and is sponsored by Impresa Communications, Ltd. The jury has selected a shortlist of ten finalists for the Gold and Silver awards. You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees here. Have a look at the finalists…

Richard Warnica
The Culture
Canadian Business

Pierre Fortin
Économie
L’actualité

Chantal Hébert
Politique
L’actualité

Colby Cosh
Colby Cosh
Maclean’s

Linda Besner
Tangent
Hazlitt

Tom Jokinen
Lost Library
Hazlitt

Alexandra Molotkow
Minutiae
Hazlitt

Shaughnessy Bishop-Stall
Fatherhood
Sharp

Stephen Brunt
Last Word
Sportsnet

Ashleigh Gaul
Arctic Dispatches
Up Here

 

Which do you think is best? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14

You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-awards.com.

See also:
Top 10 Science Stories in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Photojournalists in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Fashion Spreads in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Canadian Magazine Illustrations
Top 9 Infographics in Canadian Magazines
Top 6 Canadian Magazines for Art Direction
How Did They Create That Cover?

Top Magazine Videos in Canada

Top 10 Science Stories in Canadian Magazines

Next Friday June 6 we’ll find out who will be the winners of the 37th annual National Magazine Awards. [TICKETS]

The award for Science, Technology & Environment goes to the writer of most successful story in these topical areas, and is sponsored by GE Canada. The jury has selected a shortlist of ten finalists for the Gold and Silver awards. You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees here. Have a look…

Kevin Van Tighem
Safeguarding the Source
AlbertaViews

 

Melissa Guillemette
Le chip labour
Jobboom

Kate Lunau
Planet hunting
Maclean’s

Binh An Vu Van
La Loi sur les espèces en péril
Quatre-Temps

Nicholas Hune-Brown
Pandamonium
Reader’s Digest

Arno Kopecky
The $273 Billion Question
Reader’s Digest

Eric Reguly
The Smartest Guys on the Planet
Report on Business

Alanna Mitchell
Losing the Hooded Grebe
United Church Observer

Jake MacDonald
A Town Besieged by Bears
Up Here

Sasha Chapman
Fight of the Bumblebee
The Walrus

Which do you think is best? Leave a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA14

You can read the full-text articles of all National Magazine Awards nominees at magazine-awards.com.

See also:
Top 7 Photojournalists in Canadian Magazines
Top 7 Fashion Spreads in Canadian Magazines
Top 10 Canadian Magazine Illustrations
Top 9 Infographics in Canadian Magazines
Top 6 Canadian Magazines for Art Direction
How Did They Create That Cover?

Top Magazine Videos in Canada

Announcing the Nominees for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is pleased to announce the nominees for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards.

Complete List of Nominees [PDF]*
Press Release: English | Français
Gala Info & Tickets
* Credit Changes due by May 7

Winners will be revealed at the annual National Magazine Awards gala on Friday, June 6, at The Carlu in Toronto.

For Magazine of the Year, the three finalists are:

From the best Canadian magazines across the country, this year’s jury selected 3 finalists for the prestigious award for Magazine of the Year: Azure, Cottage Life and Nouveau Projet.

For Magazine Website of the Year, the three finalists are:
Hazlitt, Maclean’s, Torontoist.

For Tablet Magazine of the Year, the three finalists are:
Canadian Business, Sportsnet, The Hockey News.

For Best New Magazine Writer, the three finalists are:
Suzannah Showler (Maisonneuve), Liz Windhorst Harmer (The New Quarterly), Catherine McIntyre (This Magazine).

For Best Magazine Cover, the ten finalists are:
BCBusiness, Chatelaine, Fashion Magazine, L’actualité, Maclean’s, Report on Business (2), Toronto Life, subTerrain, Western Living.

For Best Single Issue, the eight finalists are:
Azure, Cottage Life, depict Magazine, Rotman Management, Spacing, The Grid, Toronto Life, The Walrus.

For Art Direction of an Entire Issue, the six finalists are:
Canadian Business, Flare, fshnunlimited (f.u.), Nouveau Projet, Prefix Photo, The Walrus.

In a new category for Infographics, the nine finalists are:
Alberta Construction, Maclean’s, Sportsnet, The Grid (5), Toronto Life.

View all finalists | PDF

 

Top nominated magazines for the 37th National Magazine Awards:

Magazine Written Integrated Visual Special Total
The Walrus 24 3 8 0 35
L’actualité 20 2 1 0 23
Report on Business 10 4 7 0 21
Maclean’s 11 6 0 1 18
Toronto Life 9 6 3 0 18
Maisonneuve 8 0 5 1 14
The Grid 3 8 3 0 14
Cottage Life 7 2 3 1 13
Eighteen Bridges 11 0 0 0 11
Sportsnet 7 2 0 1 10
Hazlitt 8 1 0 1 10

Five magazines are nominated for National Magazine Award for the first time: Alberta Construction Magazine, depict Magazine, fshnunlimited (f.u.), Little Brother Magazine, and Quatre-Temps. 

 

WRITING AWARDS
There are 24 categories for magazine writing. Curtis Gillespie leads all individual finalists with five nominations in written categories for his work in Eighteen Bridges and Western Living. Nicholas Hune-Brown is nominated four times for written work in Toronto Life, Reader’s Digest and The Grid, followed by Jonathan Trudel, Catherine Dubé, Eric Reguly, Ray Ford and Charles Wilkins, who garnered three nominations each. View all finalists | PDF

VISUAL AWARDS
There are 12 categories for visual content (photograph, illustration, art direction, web design). The Grid’s art director, Vanessa Wyse, is nominated five times in the new Infographics category and three times for Best Art Direction of a Single Magazine Article. In addition, photographer Chris Nicholls is nominated five times for his work for FASHION Magazine and Dress to Kill, while art director Domenic Macri secured four nominations on behalf of Report of BusinessView all finalists | PDF

INTEGRATED AWARDS
There are 7 categories for integrated magazine content, including Words & Pictures, Single Service Article Package, Online Video, Editorial Package-Web, Infographics, Magazine Covers, and Best Single Issue. View all finalists | PDF

FOUNDATION AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
As announced on April 30, the winner of the 2014 NMAF Award for Outstanding Achievement is Kim Jernigan, longtime editor of The New Quarterly and veteran champion of literary magazines in Canada. Read more.

37th NMA GALA
nma2013-4
Gold and Silver awards will be handed down on June 6 in 24 written categories, 12 visual categories and 7 integrated categories. All other finalists will receive Honourable Mentions. Winners will also be celebrated in 5 special categories: Outstanding Achievement, Best New Magazine Writer, Magazine Website of the Year, Tablet Magazine of the Year, and Magazine of the Year.

Gold award winners in written, visual and integrated categories (except Best Single Issue) receive a cash prize of $1000; Silver winners $500. The winner of Best New Magazine Writer receives a cash prize of $500.

Tickets

CREDIT CHANGES
Email us at staff[at]magazine-awards.com to request any credit changes to your nomination. The deadline for credit changes is May 7.

THANK YOU!
A grand thank you to all of our judges who evaluated this year’s entries to the National Magazine Awards. From nearly 2000 individual entries nationwide, the NMAF’s 238 volunteer judges nominated a total of 376 submissions from 92 different Canadian magazines for awards in 48 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

FOLLOW THE NOMINEES
Subscribe to the Magazine Awards blog for frequent updates and profiles of nominees during the month leading up to the NMA gala on June 6. Follow us on Facebook (facebook.com/MagAwards) and Twitter (@MagAwards) for photos, news and more.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The National Magazine Awards Foundation gratefully acknowledges its suppliers and its contributors who donated gifts in kind to support the awards program. We thank them for their generosity, interest and expertise.The 37th annual National Magazine Awards gala is presented by CDS Global. The NMAF thanks its corporate sponsors Accenture, GE Canada, Manulife Financial and RBC for their generous financial support of the event.

Tickets are on sale now at magazine-awards.com.

Off the Page, with J.B. MacKinnon

Off the Page appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with writer J.B. MacKinnon, winner of 11 National Magazine Awards and author of The Once and Future World (Random House Canada).

NMAF: In an essay titled “A 10 Percent World” (The Walrus, September 2010), you argued that humanity’s vision of an idyllic past is myopic; that in seeking to temper the impact that we have on our environment, our purpose “is not to demand some return to a pre-human Eden, but rather to expand our options”; that “our sense of what is possible sets limits on our dreams.” What did you mean by expanding our options beyond the limits?

J.B. MacKinnon (photo by A. Smith)

J.B.: “A 10 Percent World” looks at the natural world of the historical past—a much richer and more abundant state of nature than we know today. We’ve largely forgotten this more plentiful world, and that limits our sense of the possible.

Yes, it’s depressing to find out that grizzly bears used to live on the Canadian Prairies and they don’t any more, or that Vancouver waters were home to a year-round population of humpback whales that were all slaughtered by 1908. But if we aren’t aware of these facts, then the absence of the bears and the whales seems normal. When we do become aware of them, we’re able to set a higher bar for our vision of what nature can be.

NMAF: That essay won a National Magazine Award in 2011. What impact did the magazine publication and the award have on your decision to pursue a book project, resulting in your recently published The Once and Future World

J.B.: In this case, a book idea became a magazine story. In 2011, I was already thinking about The Once and Future World, but I needed to explore whether it had the potential I thought it did.

“A 10 Percent World” was that initial foray into the depths. The story had an impact on readers, and when it also won a magazine award I was able to move forward on the book with a lot more confidence.

NMAF: You’ve been a professional writer for more than a decade, with 11 National Magazine Awards (and 31 nominations). What role do Canadian magazines play in your career, and what significance do you put on winning awards?

J.B.: I became a writer during the largely overlooked great recession of the early 1990s, and the limited opportunities of that time made a deep impression on me. Fortunately, a few Canadian editors took a chance on my work, and I’ve been able to build from there. But I’m always trying to sharpen my teeth—to push toward deeper themes or better writing. It doesn’t always work, and I appreciate that Canadian magazines are still giving me chances. They don’t always expect me to show up with all my t’s crossed and i’s already dotted.

Awards are one way to measure whether or not what I’m doing on the page is working—the awards themselves matter less to me than the nominations. Consistent nominations tell me that I’m continuing to do work that is recognizably among the best in the country. Actually taking home a gold or silver is a much less predictable matter. Of course, when it happens, well… it never gets old, let’s say that.

Read "A 10 Percent World" (Gold, Essays, 2010)

Read “A 10 Percent World” (The Walrus, Gold, Essays, 2010)

Read "Becoming an Optimist" (Gold, Science, Technology & Environment, 2008)

Read “Becoming an Optimist” (Explore, Gold, Science, Technology & Environment, 2008)

J.B. MacKinnon is the award-winning author of The Once and Future World, The 100-Mile Diet and Dead Man in Paradise. His writing has appeared in great Canadian magazines including Explore, The Walrus, This Magazine and more. He was the writer for the documentary Bear 71, which explores the intersection of the wired and wild worlds through the true story of a mother grizzly bear. Discover more at jbmackinnon.com

More Off the Page
J.B. MacKinnon in the NMA Archive

Off the Page, with journalist and blogger Julia Belluz

Off the Page appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Julia Belluz, whose blog–Science-ish–published by Maclean’s, won gold in the inaugural National Magazine Award for Best Blog earlier this year.

NMAF: Tell us a bit about Science-ish, what you consider its publishing niche to be, and who your readers are.

Julia Belluz (Photo: Jessica Darmanin)

Julia: Coffee is good for your health! Coffee is bad for your health! Vitamin D will save your life! Vitamin D will kill you quicker! I created Science-ish in response to bewildering and contradictory claims like these that float around in the popular discourse.

This confusion doesn’t end with individual health choices. Politicians frequently make assertions about health that aren’t necessarily informed by evidence, as do journalists, celebrities, and anyone who thinks they can get away with it.

So the blog is a sane place where readers can learn about the actual science behind the headlines. My readers tend to be doctors, nurses, students, policy wonks, researchers, and anyone who is concerned about health and science.

NMAF: What makes an online media outlet such as Science-ish not only trustworthy but indispensable in a news world where there exists so much information and content?

Julia: As a health reporter, I see a great deal of pseudoscience-based journalism in my field, which does nothing to elevate the discourse about science and instead confounds people. To be sure, science is far from perfect. There are a lot of systemic problems with science—the limitations of peer review, the perverting influence of industry, etc.—but I think the act of going back to primary sources and scientific evidence and seeing if there’s something to glean is a worthwhile exercise.

I want to say that every blog entry is balanced, but I don’t think that’s a good word because I’m always taking a stand after reading and interviewing a lot and thinking about the arguments and counter-arguments that I have encountered. I hope that sets Science-ish apart and resonates with readers.

NMAF: What do you think is the significance of having Science-ish win a National Magazine Award, not only for you as a health and science journalist, but also for the medium of online magazine publishing?

Julia: It’s a great honour to be recognized by peers who work across subjects and venues in journalism. It seems to be increasingly true that readers can expect good writing and reporting in many places—blogs, web pages, etc.—and it’s wonderful that the NMA recognizes that with its new online awards categories.

NMAF: You’re currently a Knight Science Journalism Fellow at MIT. Can you tell us a bit about the program and what you’re working on there?

Julia: The fellowship was designed to be a cultural exchange where journalists could learn more about science, studying alongside future researchers and scientists at MIT, while scientists could learn from visiting journalists. Right now, I’m learning about how science is made, and how it’s applied (or not) in public policy and decision-making. I’m also looking at the forces that shape what science gets done (or not). I hope this will inform my understanding of the interplay between research, policy, and practice, which is very important at a time when we’ve never generated more research, yet in many cases, we’re failing to apply or capitalize on that knowledge.

Julia Belluz is a three-time National Magazine Award-winning journalist. Her profile of the writer Ian Brown, published in the Ryerson Review of Journalism, won her the NMA for Best Student Writer in 2007 and also won a Silver in the profiles category. Science-ish is a joint project of Maclean’s, the Medical Post and the McMaster Health Forum. Follow Julia on Twitter @juliaoftoronto.

Who will win Best Magazine Blog of 2013? Submissions open next week for the 37th annual National Magazine Awards. Deadline: January 15, 2014.

More:
Off the Page
National Magazine Awards archive
Read more about the NMA Blogs category

Off the Page, with Sierra Skye Gemma

Off the Page appears regularly on the Magazine Awards blog. Today we catch up with Sierra Skye Gemma, winner of the 2012 National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer.

[This post has been updated to include the new deadline for the Prism International Creative Non-fiction contest deadline: Dec 5.]

NMAF: Earlier this year you won the National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer for a story called “The Wrong Way” (The New Quarterly), a personal essay and critical meditation on the stages of grief. Tell us a bit about how you developed this story and why you decided to submit it in the annual non-fiction writing competition from TNQ?

Sierra Skye Gemma (Photo: Nadya Kwandibens)

Sierra Skye Gemma (Photo: Nadya Kwandibens)

Sierra: The Wrong Way came out of an assignment in a Creative Non-fiction course with Andreas Schroeder. I had never written a personal essay before and when I started I wasn’t even sure what I wanted to say. Not exactly, anyway. I looked up Kübler-Ross’s Five Stages of Grief because I thought it would explain my experiences. I thought I could structure my essay according to the stages, but I realized that Kübler-Ross’s theory didn’t apply to my life at all. My essay then developed as a sort of antagonistic call-and-response with conventional grief theories.

I sat and wrote it in two sittings, straight through from beginning to end. I didn’t move things around after that and I barely edited it. That said, I had bits and pieces of it already written. Little vignettes that I hadn’t known what to do with before, like the story of buying my son the fish and aquatic frog. I had also taken extensive notes when my sister died and I wrote down lots of dialogue. Maybe that sounds weird; maybe not, if you’re a writer. But what do you do with a short “scene” between siblings that, when read on its own, seems to make light of the death of another sibling? Well, I guess you build an elaborate home in which it can live. The Wrong Way was that home for many of my disjointed experiences with grief.

I submitted the essay to The New Quarterly’s Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest because Andreas Schroeder told me to submit it to a contest (and not through the slush pile of regular submissions); he thought the essay was good enough to win. The New Quarterly’s personal essay contest seemed like the obvious choice. The lesson here? Always listen to Andreas Schroeder.

Click to read "The Wrong Way" by Sierra Skye Gemma

Click to read “The Wrong Way” by Sierra Skye Gemma

NMAF: What was the significance for you as a young writer winning that contest and then the National Magazine Award?

Sierra: Winning both the contest and the NMA gave me confidence in my writing, which I never really had before. Winning the NMA also got my work noticed. After I won Best New Magazine Writer, the essay was selected to appear in the Best Canadian Essays 2013 anthology, alongside some very successful writers. It is an amazing honour that I feel would not have happened without the National Magazine Awards.

NMAF: As a writer and also an editor of PRISM International, a literary magazine published by the Creative Writing Program at UBC, you are in a good position to survey the landscape of Canadian literary arts. What are the challenges and rewards of devoting yourself to this industry?

Sierra: I think the greatest challenge to being an editor of a literary magazine (or a writer for that matter) is money. There is not a lot of money in literary magazines. Small lit mags live and die by the decisions of the Canada Council for the Arts and the various provincial Arts Councils. They live and die by the seemingly small financial decisions of their staff. They live and die by their contest entries and subscriptions and by the ebb and flow of their donations. Editing and managing a literary magazine is not a career for the lazy or the extravagant. It takes a lot of careful, cautious, and sometimes tedious work to keep a literary magazine alive.

That said, it is so emotionally rewarding.  I have been a reader for the past two Creative Non-fiction Contests at PRISM and I will be a reader again this year. The emotional rollercoaster that this work has taken me on is intense. You feel the author’s highs and lows. I’ve cried and I’ve laughed until I’ve been in tears.

Although I’ve also read for other contests and other magazines, it is PRISM’s Non-fiction Contest that really makes it worth it for me because the stories are real and they matter. They matter to the author, who is risking so much to share; to the readers with whom the stories will resonate; to the editors, who have the responsibility for creating the long list and the short list; and to the contest judge who has to make the toughest decisions.

Our Creative Non-fiction Contest deadline is coming up on November 28th [Update: December 5] and I can’t wait to start reading again!

NMAF: What are your immediate goals as a writer, and what are you working on these days?

Sierra: This summer I received a grant from the Social Science and Humanities Research Council of Canada to perform research for a novel set in 1950’s California. I spent three months in northern California—taking notes, visiting museums and farms, interviewing seniors and experts, and exploring the countryside—so my research is nearly completed.

I’ve been meaning to finish my outline and start writing, but I’ve been a little distracted by another project that I have been working on for over a year: a humorous and irreverent parenting book that I’m co-writing with blogger Emily Wight. We have completed our non-fiction book proposal and one sample chapter, but I’d like to get a few more chapters done before I launch into the novel.

Sierra Skye Gemma is an award-winning writer and journalist working towards an MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Aside from the National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer, this year Sierra was also honoured with the first-place award in creative non-fiction in Rhubarb’s Taboo Literary Contest, a long-list nod in House of Anansi’s Broken Social Scene Story Contest, and a BC Arts Council scholarship. She is an executive editor of PRISM international, western Canada’s oldest literary magazine. Her work has been published in The New Quarterly, The Vancouver Sun, Plenitude, and elsewhere. Follow her on Twitter @SierraGemma.

More:
The National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer
Meet the finalists for Best New Magazine Writer
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines
Your Guide to Fall 2013 Canadian Magazine Writing Contests
More Off the Page interviews

Going for Gold: How to win a National Magazine Award

At last June’s MagNet magazines conference in Toronto, a golden panel of industry experts gathered to present a session called “Going for Gold: How to Create Award-Winning Content,” moderated by Deborah Rosser, president of Rosser & Associates.

The panellists were:

  • Carole Beaulieu, publisher and editor-in-chief of L’actualité, winner of more than 50 National Magazine Awards since she became EIC in 1998;
  • Sarah Fulford, editor-in-chief of Toronto Life, the most-nominated magazine at last year’s NMAs and former winner of Magazine of the Year (2007);
  • David Hayes, freelance writer (nominated for 14 NMAs during his career, winning a gold and a silver award) and member of the board of directors of the National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF);
  • Domenic Macri, art director at Report on Business and winner of 6 NMAs for his design and creative direction;
  • Patrick Walsh, editor-in-chief and brand manager of Outdoor Canada, winner of 21 National Magazine Awards since 1987, and former president of the NMAF.

Risk and Reward: The moderator began by asking each of the panellists to present the story of a challenging piece that won a National Magazine Award, and what lessons they took from the experience.

2008_torontolife2Sarah Fulford spoke about how breaking the rules helped Toronto Life to a surprise NMA win for best magazine cover of 2008. Sarah said she and her then art director Jessica Rose, whom she hired with this specific challenge in mind, took big risks on a cover about gun violence in Toronto, as they bucked the conventions for cover design with small cover lines and other elements reflecting thinking outside the box. The issue sold well on the newsstand and also impressed the NMA judges that year, as they gave it a Gold.

Domenic Macri spoke in a similar vein about a magazine cover that won Gold the following year, 2009, at the NMAs. The Julie Dickson cover presented a challenge because the editors had agreed not to put her portrait on the magazine cover. Domenic showed the audience several of his drafts and mockups that he went through on his way to finally developing the final cover, saying that what he learned from the experience was although there are certain elements required of a good cover, “you don’t have to take the same approach all the time. I think we won the award because we came up with new directions, and because of the words.”

David Hayes mentioned an episode from 1990 when a feature story he’d written for Toronto Life wasn’t entered for an NMA that year, and after talking with his editor, who said he wasn’t able to enter the piece that year due to budget constraints, he learned that he could enter the NMAs himself. Several years later he took that experience to heart when he again discovered that an editor wouldn’t enter his story, so he entered it himself and it ended up winning Gold. “You never know what the jury will decide,” he reminded the audience, “so as a writer if you are proud of your work you should enter it.”

Patrick Walsh described the story of a controversial article he commissioned about the death of a hunter in Newfoundland, called “Another Fine Day Afield.” As an editor he felt that the story hadn’t been covered well in other media, and though it would be a legal, financial and editorial challenge to pursue the story for Outdoor Canada, he decided to take the risk. The risk paid off when the magazine story he published was picked up by CBC’s The Fifth Estate and NBC’s Inside Edition, and his writer Charles Wilkins won a Gold National Magazine Award in Sports & Recreation.

Carole Beaulieu also touted the benefits of taking risks and believing in the work you produce. She talked about a piece from last year she commissioned from a writer about Pauline Marois. Although Quebec news had been saturated with stories about the premier, Carole felt there was room for more if they could find the right angle and give it the right depth. She sent her writer to spend time with Mdm Marois at her hairdresser’s, achieving a kind of intimate portrait not yet seen, and L’actualité created a newsprint insert–what it is now calling a “mini-book” and making a semi-regular feature for the magazine–to accommodate the 16-page story. And at this year’s NMAs, “L’éttoffe d’un premier ministre,” by journalist Noémi Mercier, won Gold in Profiles.

Quote-Unquote: On the significance of winning a National Magazine Award and why we strive for award-winning content.

Sarah: “An award is useful for communicating to our stakeholders that we are successful. It adds momentum to what we do every day at the magazine… We create content to satisfy our readers, not to win awards. But it is our creators who get the awards and the cash prize, and for an editor, that’s an honour.”

David: “As writers, what we have is our reputation, and what we create should stand on its own. Awards are a feather in your cap, not the cap itself.”

Patrick: “We won because the story was beautifully written, because it was longform [5000 words]… We also took risks and winning the award was a measure of that.”

Carole: “I think we should always believe in what we do. Successful magazine stories have that ‘wow’ factor, and with everything we do we try to achieve that. You know that story matters, that content matters. If you believe you achieved success then you should enter, because then you’ll know if your peers [the jury] agree; that it made them say, ‘wow.’”

The Bottom Line: The moderator asked each panellist to distill one piece of advice for winning a National Magazine Award.

Domenic: Strive for strong collaboration between editorial and art in creating your content. Success is a product of a strong team.

Carole: Don’t take things too seriously. Trust your instincts and never give up on a great story.

Sarah: The most successful pieces are the ones where the creators were passionate and took risks.

Patrick: Be strategic, because the more you enter the more you are likely to win. If your aim is to win awards then enter as much as you can.

David: Advice to writers: write well. And advice to editors: hire writers who write well.

In Summary: Accept challenges, take risks, think differently, be passionate, find (or be) the best creator, work together, never give up on a good story, believe in your work and enter as much as you can. That, and always strive for the ‘wow’ factor! 

On behalf of the Canadian magazine industry, thank you to the panellists for sharing your wisdom.

Related posts:
Off the Page, with Patrick Walsh
National Magazine Award-winning Covers, 2007-2010
Winners of the 36th National Magazine Awards

More:
Award-winning work in the National Magazine Awards archive
National Magazine Awards digital Gold Book (free)

The 36th National Magazine Awards Gold Book

Make your summer reading the National Magazine Awards digital Gold Book. More than forty magazine stories and visual spreads representing the Gold winners from the 36th annual National Magazine Awards, available FREE for your computer or mobile device.

Including National Magazine Award-winning work by these Canadian literary and visual artists:

Caroline Adderson, Dave Cameron, Karen Connelly, Craig Davidson, Sierra Skye Gemma, Jessica Johnson, Tom Jokinen, Peter Ash Lee, Angus Rowe MacPherson, Greg McArthur, Leah McLaren, Conor Mihell, Jonathan Montpetit, Alison Motluk, Mark Peckmezian, Graeme Smith, Emma Teitel, Chris Turner, Jeff Warren, Sam Weber and more!

With stories from Canada’s best magazines, including Adbusters, Avenue, Azure, Canada’s History, Canadian Notes & Queries, Eighteen Bridges, Explore, Geist, Maclean’s, Maisonneuve, Reader’s Digest, Report on Business, Sportsnet, The Feathertale Review, The Grid, The New Quarterly, The Walrus, Toronto Life and more!

Congratulations to all of this year’s National Magazine Award winners, and happy summer reading to all!

Announcing the winners of the 36th National Magazine Awards!

Tonight the National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) presented the winners of the 36th annual National Magazine Awards at a gala this evening in Toronto at The Carlu, presented by CDS Global, and hosted by Canadian actor Zaib Shaikh. Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards were presented in 47 categories, after the NMAF’s 250 volunteer judges evaluated 2000 submissions from nearly 200 Canadian consumer magazines.

[Version française]
[Complete list of winners PDF]
[36th NMA Gold Book]

Magazine of the Year

The coveted award for Magazine of the Year went to Corporate Knights. Honourable Mention for Magazine of the Year was awarded to Cottage Life, UPPERCASE and Urbania.

The award for Tablet Magazine of the Year went to Canadian House & Home for their “Colour Issue” from March 2012.

The award for Magazine Website of the Year went to Hazlitt, the online literary magazine published by Random House Canada.

Renowned Canadian editor, teacher and mentor Stephen Trumper was presented with the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement.

The winner of the award for Best New Magazine Writer was Sierra Skye Gemma, for her story “The Wrong Way” published in The New Quarterly.

Top Winning Magazines at the 36th National Magazine Awards:

Magazine

Gold

Silver

HM

L’actualité

6

0

18

The Grid

5

2

15

The Walrus

4

2

17

Hazlitt

3

0

1

Report on Business

2

5

13

Maisonneuve

2

3

9

Maclean’s

2

2

16

Corduroy

2

0

0

Toronto Life

1

4

24

Sportsnet

1

2

7

Eighteen Bridges

1

1

8

Canadian House & Home

1

1

5

Explore

1

1

4

Reader’s Digest

1

1

2

The Feathertale Review

1

1

0

Québec Science

0

2

1

HIGHLIGHTS OF THE AWARDS
The article “Building with the Brigadier” (Report on Business) by Greg McArthur and Graeme Smith—about the SNC-Lavalin investment in Libya—was the most celebrated individual article of the 36th National Magazine Awards, winning two Gold Awards, in Business and in Investigative Reporting, as well as Silver in Politics & Public Interest.

The Gold award for Best Single Issue went to The Feathertale Review (“Issue 9”), the Toronto-based independent arts magazine. The Silver went to Toronto Life (“The Loneliest Man in Toronto”).

The Gold award for the best Magazine Cover of the year went to Adbusters for their fast food satire “Are We Happy Yet?” by Will Brown and Pedro Inoue. “Issue 45” of Maisonneuve by Anna Minzhulina took the Silver award.

The new online literary magazine Hazlitt, in addition to winning Magazine Website of the Year, also took the Gold awards for Magazine Website Design and for best Online Video, the latter for the first installment of their interview series “Pagelicker 01: Irvine Welsh.”

Journalist Catherine Dubé of L’actualité won her eighth National Magazine Award with a Gold in Service: Health & Family, for “Faut-il interdire le cellulaire à l’école?” – one of six Gold awards won by L’actualité, the most of any magazine.

Journalists from L’actualité also won Gold in Politics & Public Interest (“Jason, le missionaire de Harper” by Alec Castonguay); in Service: Personal Finance & Business (“La guerre des retraites est commencée” by Annick Poitras); in Profiles (“L’étoffe d’un premier ministre?” by Noémi Mercier); in Photojournalism & Photo Essay (“Au coeur d’Attawapiskat” by Renaud Philippe); and in Spot Illustration (“Papa souffre, moi aussi” by Gérard Dubois).

The Grid led all publications with 7 total awards, including 5 Gold Awards: in Editorial Package: Web for their feature “Are You Going to Eat That?”; in Single Service Article Package for “The Grid Guide to Getting Hitched”; in How-To for “The Grid Guide to Buying a Condo”; in Creative Photography for “Truckin’ A!” by Angus Rowe MacPherson; and in Art Direction of a Single Magazine Article, for “Chef’s Guide to Toronto” by Vanessa Wyse.

Corduroy, an independent style and fashion magazine based in Toronto, won Gold for Art Direction of an Entire Issue (“Issue 10”) and in Fashion (“ten covers x ten models”), with art direction by Peter Ash Lee.

Writer Chris Turner led all individuals with four nominations and won Gold in Travel for “On Tipping in Cuba” in The Walrus. Mr. Turner has now won nine National Magazine Awards.

The Walrus won 6 total awards including 4 Gold: in addition to the Travel category, also winning Gold in Illustration (“Apocalypse Soon” by Sam Weber); in One-of-a-Kind (“What Would Tommy Douglas Think?” by Tom Jokinen); and in Society (“Fade to Light” by Dave Cameron).

In Words & Pictures the Gold award went to “On Thin Ice” in Canada’s History, by Terry Mosher (a.k.a. Aislin), Mark Reid and Michel Groleau.

Writer Alison Motluk won Gold in Health & Medicine for her story “Is Egg Donation Dangerous?” in Maisonneuve. For Ms. Motluk this is her third National Magazine Award. The Montreal quarterly’s other Gold award came in the category Best Short Feature, for “Notes from the End of the War” by Jonathan Montpetit.

In Fiction the Gold went to Alberta novelist Caroline Adderson for her short story “Ellen-Celine, Celine-Ellen” published in Canadian Notes & Queries. Former Governor General Literary Award winner Patrick deWitt won the Silver for “The Looking-Ahead Artist” in Brick.

In Poetry the Gold winner was former Governor General Literary Award winner Karen Connelly for her poem “The Speed of Rust, or, He Marries” in Geist. Sue Goyette won the Silver for her series of “Fashion” poems in Prairie Fire.

The story “Whale Rising” by Jeff Warren in Reader’s Digest was a double winner, taking Gold in Science, Technology & Environment and Silver in Essays.

Sportsnet took the Gold in Editorial Package: Print, for “Sports that can kill.” Québec Science won Silver for “50 défis pour 2050.”

Emma Teitel of Maclean’s won the Gold award in Columns. Ms. Teitel won Honourable Mention last year in the category Best New Magazine Writer.

Six of the ten finalists in the new category Blogs were from Maclean’s, with the blog “Science-ish” by Julia Belluz—a former winner of the National Magazine Award for Best Student Writer—winning Gold. Paul Wells won the Silver for “Inkless Wells.”

In Portrait Photography the Gold went to “Never Left Art School,” a series of portraits of artist Douglas Coupland by Mark Peckmezian for Montecristo.

The new French-language literary magazine Nouveau Projet won its first National Magazine Award for “Faux self mon amour” by Fanny Britt in the category Personal Journalism.

Eighteen Bridges gained ten nominations and won Gold in Humour for “The Hairs about our Secrets” by Jessica Johnson.

Toronto Life led all publications with 29 nominations, winning a Gold in Arts & Entertainment for “Something Borrowed” by Leah McLaren.

The new Globe & Mail magazine Globe Style Advisor won its first National Magazine Award, a Gold in the category Beauty for “Lady Obscura.”

Also winning Gold Awards:

Visit magazine-awards.com for the complete list of winners and to download the commemorative 36th National Magazine Awards Gold Book.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as financial support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The National Magazine Awards Foundation gratefully acknowledges its suppliers and its contributors who donated gifts in kind to support the awards program. We thank them for their generosity, interest and expertise.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS FOUNDATION
The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to recognize and promote excellence in the content and creation of Canadian print and digital publications through an annual program of awards and national publicity efforts. magazine-awards.com

Announcing the Nominees for the 36th National Magazine Awards!

Today the NMAF announces the nominees for the 36th annual National Magazine Awards!

[Version française]
[PDF Nominations List]
[Tickets]

In the category Magazine of the Year the jury has selected four finalists:

Corporate Knights
Cottage Life
Uppercase
Urbania

Nominated for Tablet Magazine of the Year are Canadian House & Home (“The Colour Issue”), Maclean’s (“Canada’s Best Restaurants”) and Chez Soi (“Noël 100% déco”).

And the nominees for Magazine Website of the Year are Hazlitt, Maclean’s and Toronto Life.

The winner of the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, announced on April 30, is Stephen Trumper.

Leading all magazines with 29 nominations for this year’s National Magazine Awards is Toronto Life, followed by L’actualité (24), The Walrus (23), The Grid (22), Maclean’s and Report on Business (20 each).

Top Nominated Magazines for the 36th National Magazine Awards:

Magazine

Written

Integrated

Visual

Special

Total

Toronto Life

19

4

4

2

29

L’actualité

20

0

4

0

24

The Walrus

15

3

5

0

23

The Grid

8

7

7

0

22

Maclean’s

17

1

0

2

20

Report on Business

13

3

4

0

20

Maisonneuve

10

2

1

1

14

Cottage Life

4

3

2

1

10

Eighteen Bridges

10

0

0

0

10

Sportsnet

9

0

1

0

10

enRoute

3

2

4

0

9

The New Quarterly

7

0

0

1

8

Magazine of the Year Finalist

Magazine of the Year Finalist

Nine magazines are nominated for National Magazine Awards for the first time:
Chez Soi
Globe Style Advisor
(3 nominations)
Hazlitt
(4 nominations)
Infopresse
Le Must
New Trail
Nouveau Projet
(2 nominations)
Ottawa Citizen Style

Write Magazine

Chris Turner leads all individual finalists with 4 nominations in written categories for his work in Canadian Geographic, Marketing and The Walrus. Garnering 3 individual nominations are Catherine Dubé (L’actualité), Dan Robson (Sportsnet), Iain Marlow (Report on Business) and Dominique Forget (ELLE Québec, Jobboom and L’actualité).

Magazine of the Year Finalist

Magazine of the Year Finalist

The article “Building with the Brigadier” (Report on Business) by Greg McArthur and Graeme Smith has the distinction of being nominated in 3 categories: Business, Investigative Reporting and Politics & Public Interest.

The 10 finalists for the best Canadian Magazine Cover of 2012 come from Adbusters, Azure, Canadian Business, Maclean’s, Maisonneuve, Report on Business, The Grid, The Walrus, Up Here and Vancouver.

There are 8 finalists for the award for Best Single Issue: Cottage Life (“June 2012”), enRoute (“The Food Issue”), LE Must (“Santé alimentaire”), Maisonneuve (“Tenth Anniversary Issue”), The Feathertale Review (“Issue 9”), The Grid (“May 10”), The Walrus (“November 2012”) and Toronto Life (“The Loneliest Man in Toronto”).

The 3 finalists for Best New Magazine Writer are Chris Hampton (for “The Place Where Art Sleeps”; Maisonneuve), Sierra Skye Gemma (for “The Wrong Way”; The New Quarterly), and May Jeong (“The Cult of Pastor Song”; Toronto Life).

Magazine of the Year Finalist

Magazine of the Year Finalist

In addition to the new category Tablet Magazine of the Year, for 2012 the NMAF created 2 other new categories for digital content. In the new integrated category Online Video, the 5 finalists are “Balcony Makeover” (Canadian House & Home), “Les coulisses du reportage mode Icône” (ELLE Québec), “Pagelicker 01: Irvine Welsh” (Hazlitt), “Reboot on Life” (Ottawa Citizen Style), and “Toronto’s National Anthem” (The Grid).

Of the 10 finalists in the new written category Blogs, 6 are from Maclean’s, 2 from Torontoist, and 1 each from L’actualité and Today’s Parent.

Congratulations to all the finalists!
[PDF Nominations List]

Magazine of the Year Finalist

Magazine of the Year Finalist

The 36th annual National Magazine Awards Gala
Join us for the 36th annual National Magazine Awards, Friday June 7 at the fabulous Carlu in Toronto. [Tickets]

Gold and Silver awards will be handed down on June 7 in 24 written categories, 12 visual categories and 6 integrated categories. All other finalists will receive Honourable Mention. Winners will also be celebrated in 5 special categories: Outstanding Achievement, Best New Magazine Writer, Magazine Website of the Year, Tablet Magazine of the Year, and Magazine of the Year.

Gold winners in written, visual and integrated categories (except Best Single Issue) receive a cash prize of $1000; Silver winners $500. The winner of Best New Magazine Writer receives a cash prize of $500.

Credit Changes
If you are a National Magazine Award nominee, please let us know of any credit changes to your nomination no later than Thursday May 9, 2013.

Thank you!
A grand thank you to all of our judges who evaluated this year’s entries to the National Magazine Awards. From nearly 2,000 individual entries nationwide, the NMAF’s 251 volunteer judges nominated a total of 365 submissions from 87 different Canadian magazines for awards in 47 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

Acknowledgements
The National Magazine Awards Foundation acknowledges the financial support of the Government of Canada through the Canada Periodical Fund of the Department of Canadian Heritage, as well as financial support from the Ontario Arts Council, an agency of the Government of Ontario, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The National Magazine Awards Foundation gratefully acknowledges its suppliers and its contributors who donated gifts in kind to support the awards program. We thank them for their generosity, interest and expertise.

NMA_SM_May1

A Brief Guide to entering Digital Content in the National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards are open to content from all Canadian consumer magazines, whether they are published in print, online or in a tablet edition.
[Version française ici]

Where previously we distinguished between Print and Digital Magazines, this year we are further clarifying the difference between three types of magazine publishing:

  • Print Magazine
  • Magazine Website (companion site or online-only magazine)
  • Tablet Magazine

Most categories are open to content from any of these types, though specific categories have certain restrictions. For all clarifications, see the list of categories and rules and eligibility.

There is now a Special Award for each of these three types:

  • Magazine of the Year
  • Magazine Website of the Year
  • Tablet Magazine of the Year

A single publication may enter any and all of these 3 special categories if they meet the eligibility and category criteria.

CATEGORIES EXCLUSIVELY FOR DIGITAL CREATIONS
There are six categories open exclusively to content from either Magazine Websites or Tablet Magazines, or both:

Blogs: This written category is open to a regular series of original written content produced by a Magazine Website that has a recognizable unifying voice or theme. Entries may consist of up to ten (10) blog posts by one or more authors.

Online Video: This integrated category is open to a single video produced by a Magazine Website or Tablet Magazine.

Magazine Website Design (formerly Best Digital Design): This visual category will reward a Magazine Website with the most successful and original overall combination of visual and graphic design elements with functionality and user experience.

Editorial Package—Web (formerly Best Multimedia Feature): This integrated category is open to any original package of related or thematic editorial content produced by a Magazine Website that best serves its intended audience by maximizing the potential of web-based publishing, and that reflects collaboration by editors and content creators. Elements may include but are not limited to written content, blogs, video, photography, data visualization, illustration, social media and user-generated content.

Tablet Magazine of the Year: This special category is open to any single issue of a Tablet Magazine that successfully fulfills its editorial mission by representing the highest journalistic standards and effectively serving its intended audience by maximizing the possibilities afforded by the medium of tablet publishing.

Magazine Website of the Year: This special category is open to any Magazine Website that successfully fulfills its editorial mission by representing the highest journalistic standards and effectively serving its intended audience by maximizing the possibilities afforded by the medium of web-based publishing.

ENTERING DIGITAL CONTENT IN OTHER CATEGORIES
Except where noted in specific category restrictions, content from Magazine Websites and Tablet Magazines is eligible in all National Magazine Awards categories.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Check out our Digital FAQ for more information about how we define digital magazines, how to submit content from tablet editions, how the judging process works, and more.

ABOUT THE PROCESS
Each year the National Magazine Awards Foundation conducts surveys, solicits feedback and hosts round-table discussions with key stakeholders in order to ensure that our awards program is in tune with developments in the Canadian magazine industry.

Any changes that are made to the program reflect the consideration of numerous experts from relevant fields as well as the Judging Committee and Board of Directors of the NMAF.

The NMAF is grateful to those who volunteered their time to provide us with feedback and sit on our 2012 Digital Round Table and other committees.

With any additional questions please feel free to contact us.

Visit magazine-awards.com to submit. The deadline is January 16, 2013.

[Version française ici]

Off the Page, with Heather O’Neill

Off the Page is an exclusive series produced by the NMAF that reaches out to former National Magazine Award winners to find out what their awards have meant to them and what they’re up to now. Off the Page will appear each Thursday on the Magazine Awards blog during the fall of 2012. This week we catch up with National Magazine Award-winning writer Heather O’Neill.

NMAF: Two years running you’ve won the Gold National Magazine Award for Best Short Feature—“The First Time She Ran Away” (Elle Canada) and “When Your Mother is a Stranger” (Chatelaine)—both of which could be described as memoirs of adolescence. Indeed, one might reasonably infer from your body of work that you’re especially passionate about that stage of life. What do you find particularly special (or challenging) about connecting with your audience through the short, episodic memoir?

Heather O’Neill: The challenge of the short memoir is having such little space to tell a story in. You end up having to make every sentence contain a strong idea. There’s no room for any superfluous thoughts or tangents. It’s like the short program in figure skating championships. I do like the power of that form. I work in it a lot. There seems to be a lot of demand for it anyways in magazines and newspapers.

A short memoir piece is like a very powerful photograph: it’s a short snapshot from my life that is supposed to invoke an entire world.

NMAF: Your acclaimed debut novel Lullabies for Little Criminals began life as a short story in Toronto Life magazine in 2003, since which time you’ve been published frequently in many Canadian periodicals. What is the significance for you, as a young writer, of working in magazines and ultimately winning a National Magazine Award?

Heather O’Neill: I remember when the story was accepted in Toronto Life. I received a mass email from Anita Chong at McClelland and Stewart saying that Toronto Life magazine was looking for stories for its summer issue. I stuck mine in an envelope, wrote the address of the magazine on the front, kissed it and dropped it in the mailbox. It was such a big day for me when they accepted it!

I got a lot of great feedback and everyone at the magazine was effusive and full of praise. It was very validating and it really encouraged me to continue the novel. Or it certainly put a skip in my step as I was finishing the rest of it: knowing that people had taken a peek at it and had approved.  The editor, Sarah Fulford, gave me a lot of feedback and edits on how to make the story stronger, and I applied her ideas to the rest of the novel.

Publishing in Canadian magazines was absolutely indispensible to me. I had to work like a fiend to get in them. Their standards are high. It’s a way to polish your craft and see what is working in your writing and what isn’t. It’s also a way to get the attention of publishers and agents. I sent a copy of that magazine around to different agents. It was like dressing up my story in a tuxedo. It got the attention of an agent though.

I’ve since published frequently in Canadian periodicals. It’s helped me to create a unique voice and develop as a writer. It allows me to write in different forms. I love writing essays and magazines have been the primary home for them. And, depending on the magazine, it gives you new and varied sorts of audiences. It was fabulous fun winning the prize for short essay two years in a row!

NMAF: In addition to your novel and magazine work, you’re also a poet, playwright and radio journalist. What are you working on these days? 

Heather O’Neill: I’m just finishing up my new novel, called The Girl Who Was Saturday Night [forthcoming from FSG/HarperCollins]. I’ve also finished a collection of short stories that will be coming out shortly afterwards.

Heather O’Neill is a two-time National Magazine Award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Toronto Life, Chatelaine, Elle Canada and other magazines. Her award-winning debut novel Lullabies for Little Criminals (HarperCollins) was an international bestseller. She recently published And They Danced By the Light of the Moon, an ePub eBook from The Walrus and Coach House BooksOne of this blogger’s favourite pieces by Heather O’Neill is “How to Date a Writer” (from CBC Canada Writes).

Off the Page, with Outdoor Canada editor Patrick Walsh

Off the Page (back after a summer hiatus) is an exclusive series produced by the NMAF that reaches out to former National Magazine Award winners to find out what their awards have meant to them and what they’re up to now. Off the Page will appear each Thursday on the Magazine Awards blog during the fall of 2012. This week we catch up with National Magazine Award-winning editor Patrick Walsh of Outdoor Canada magazine.

NMAF: In the last 10 years, Outdoor Canada has been nominated for 52 National Magazine Awards—and won 11—with particular success in the categories that reward the packaging of collaborative editorial content to instruct, inform and stimulate your readers. Okay, so what’s the secret to a successful editorial package?

Patrick Walsh:  Pacing. We strive to create an editorial package that contains an even, thematically linked mix of quick, snappy items, short articles and longer features. And within that mix, we’ll include info-packed service and how-to pieces, as well as engaging narratives.

You don’t want the package to be too weighed down with just one element. The same applies to the visuals—we want a good mix of graphics, illustrations and photography.

The key is to evenly distribute all these disparate elements throughout the package, such that the reader enjoys a seamless, entertaining reading experience. It’s like designing and assembling a puzzle—it will all fall together properly if you’ve planned ahead, visualized the end product, and created all the right pieces.

NMAF: What is the significance for you, as an editor, to win a National Magazine Award and see your staff, freelance writers and photographers recognized for their work? And what does this success convey to your readers?

Patrick Walsh: I don’t want to overstate the significance of such recognition, as some might argue that true success should be gauged by the likes of subscription renewals, newsstand sales and advertisement insertion orders.

However, it is immensely gratifying, on a professional level, when our team and contributors earn a National Magazine Award, or simply garner a nomination for that matter. It’s yet another measurement of how well we are serving our audience, based on the criteria for magazine excellence as determined by our industry peers.

We are not creating the best content possible to win awards, mind you—we’re doing it for our readers, and I like to think they appreciate that.

NMAF: Which is more challenging: Editing a successful hunting and fishing magazine, or reeling in a seven-foot, seven-inch sturgeon in the Fraser River? And what does one teach you about the other?

Patrick Walsh: After I beached that 250-pound sturgeon, I thought, Well, I’ll never do that again. I have a bad back, you see, and by the time the 26-minute fight was over, my lower back was on fire. But actually catching it wasn’t a huge challenge.

It’s a crapshoot, really. My fishing buddy and I simply took turns grabbing the first rod that got a hit, and with this particular fish, it just happened to be my turn to set the hook. Then all you have to do is keep tension on the barbless hook and hang on, reeling in line when you get the chance. The credit really goes to our guide, who put us on the fish in the first place.

But when it comes to editing a magazine, it’s all up to you, and your team, to get the job done—from start to finish. That’s decidedly far more challenging. If there’s a shared lesson to be learned from either pursuit, it’s to be persistent and do your best. Then, success will eventually come your way.

NMAF: Thanks Patrick! Keep up the good work.

Check out some samples of Outdoor Canada‘s National Magazine Award-winning work:
75 Whitetail Essentials” (Silver, How-To, 2011)
The Ultimate Danger Guide” (HM, Editorial Package, 2010)
Visit. Hunt. Stay.” (HM, Single Service Article Package, 2010)
Ultimate Skills Guide” (Gold, How-To, 2009)
The Best of Living off the Land” (Gold, Service: Lifestyle, 2008)

Summer Reading Series 7: Best Magazine Short Features

The Short Feature is the catchy folk song of the magazine world–three chords, succinct enlightenment, and a tune you’re glad to have stuck in your head.

Sure, a lot of what makes magazines great is the freedom they give writers to compose elaborate, multi-faceted rock operas of meaningful prose. (To wit: David Remnick’s twelve-million-word profile of Bruce Springsteen in a recent New Yorker.)

But the short feature starts and finishes the story without leaving you feeling like you just stayed up all night listening to Darkness on the Edge of Town.

This year we had a tie for the Gold in BSF–a dead-even top score after six independent judges evaluated the submissions–so we’re glad to feature them both in our Summer Reading Series, along with the first-ever winner in this category.

As always, these complete articles and those of all finalists and winners from recent years can be found in the National Magazine Awards archive (magazine-awards.com/archive).

1.JJ Lee on the first time he told a girl she was beautiful,” ELLE Canada (2011 Gold winner, tie, in Best Short Feature)
It’s an episode we can all relate to: first love. For memoirist JJ Lee–writing in ELLE‘s popular “First” series–it was the very moment that the comic-book femininity he’d come to know in early adolescence faded into the blinding eclipse of a real-life muse. And in that universally awkward moment of expression, he felt himself becoming an artist.

“The words had struck her. She would never look at herself in a mirror the same way again. They had struck me too. And I felt doomed because I knew we had our whole future to separate us from the simple closeness of the moment. That was the day I began a lifelong career as a maudlin nostalgic.” [Read more]

2.When Your Mother is a Strangerby Heather O’Neill, Chatelaine (2011 Gold winner, tie, in Best Short Feature)
In this vivid reconstruction of a singularly tender moment–meeting her mother after an absence of ten years–two-time National Magazine Award winner Heather O’Neill (she also won Gold in this same category in 2010) rewinds her childhood to each of the most potent memories that can help her re-imagine this stranger as her mother, a person of ancient familiarity in a suddenly foreign context.

“I went to the address she gave me. She was living in a building known as the Crazy People Building. It has the cheapest rent in the neighbourhood and is filled with people who can never quite pull it together. Bare-chested men hang out of the windows in the summer. A man who lives there carries around a white kitten that wears a tie and is introduced as Mr. Timothy. There is an old man who dances on his toes as he walks, blowing kisses at anyone he makes eye contact with.” [Read more]

3.The Alchemy of Pork Fatby Gerald Hannon, Toronto Life (2007 Gold winner in Best Short Feature)
When the NMAF launched the Best Short Feature category in 2007, Toronto Life‘s foodie memoirs turned out to be an ideal fit (the judges that year awarded four of the ten finalists’ spots to these tasty TL shorts, each consisting of a personal essay and a recipe), and none better than the Gold-winning piece by 13-time National Magazine Award winner Gerald Hannon.

Hannon–warts and all–reminisces on the great motherly myths of food, especially those involving lard, and wonders how he could have evolved such a passion for gastronomy without them.

“Food, perhaps because it was scarce and unvarying, always seemed to tremble with the potential for good or ill. Even in her old age, [my mother] could not add cucumber to a salad without first neutralizing its ‘poison’ in a way she had learned from her mother: you cut about an inch off the end, rubbed that piece vigorously against the other cut edge until a milky liquid—the poison—appeared, then you threw out the small, now noxious piece to render the rest of the cucumber safe to eat.” [Read more]

Read these stories and more at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive.

Previous editions of our Summer Reading Series: Travel | Essays | Sports & Rec | Fiction | Personal Journalism | Poetry

Springsteen photo credit: Dave Cooper / Toronto Star

Summer Reading Series 5: Award-Winning Personal Journalism

The fifth installment of the National Magazine Awards’ summer reading series turns your attention to Personal Journalism. For anyone unfamiliar with this type of magazine writing, let’s borrow a line from the Creative Nonfiction Mandate of The Malahat Review–the literary journal of the University of Victoria and a winner of 26 National Magazine Awards for fiction, poetry and personal journalism. What we find in this genre of writing are stories:

“… strongly based in reality that enlighten or educate the reader via fresh insights, powerful use of language, and compelling storytelling. It is not always enough that the stories have a personal basis–they must move the reader into an apprehension of wider human situations or issues.”

Well put. These NMA-winning personal essays certainly fit that bill. As always, these and other award-winning magazine articles may be mined at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive.

1. Parti sans bruit(“He Left Quietly”) by Anne Marie Lecomte, Châtelaine (2011 Gold winner in Personal Journalism)
A woman desperately in mourning retraces the path of her motherhood after the shocking suicide of her son, probing for a psychology that will repair the catastrophic disorder of grief. Ms. Lecomte’s soulful firsthand account of enduring and transmuting the ultimate family crisis, converting it into wisdom and stark advice for all parents, won a Quebec Magazine Award as well as a National Magazine Award this past spring.

“Ce n’est que maintenant que je vois la cruelle parenté des structures que j’avais tenté d’ériger autour de lui. L’OPP pour lui faire aimer l’école, le PPO pour le mettre à l’abri des pires dérives. Mais, qu’importe nos efforts inouïs, nos enfants ne sont jamais à l’abri. J’invente maintenant un acronyme: POP, pour parents orphelins perpétuellement.” [Lire la suite]

2.Tourists of Consciousnessby Jeff Warren, Maisonneuve (2010 Gold winner in Personal Journalism)
A superdrug for the overworked psyche may have been found in the form of an elixir distilled from a tropical plant long known locally for its psychedelic properties, and the curious Jeff Warren heads down to investigate in this article that just about puts the mercy in immersive journalism.

Of course, he’s not the first outsider to try this super secret sacrament (he can’t even tell us in which Latin American country he imbibed this magical ayahuasca), and not the first Canadian magazine writer to experiment on himself for the benefit of us readers (read Michael Posner’s 2006 Walrus piece “Plants with Soul” for a nice complement to the story of the drug).

But Warren meditates on how the drug can answer the call of the spiritually needy who may still endure blueness despite a century of psycho-analytic attention from Western science.

“I was even more skeptical about the metaphysical assertions. We don’t believe dreams are “real”—why should an ayahuasca vision be any different? Nevertheless, the rich history of ayahuasca usage has undeniable authority; in the end, the only way to really answer these questions was to launch into the psychedelic troposphere and find out for myself.” [Read more]

3. Cause and Effectby Lynn Cunningham, The Walrus (2009 Gold winner in Personal Journalism)
A stirring, eighteen-year portrait of a woman’s unexpected encounter with fetal alcohol syndrome–which affects her step-grandson–and the battles she fought in both his life and her own, this memoir by former NMAF Outstanding Achievement Award winner Lynn Cunningham is the essence of the genre: splendid research and fact-finding couched in dramatic, introspective and exquisitely written personal experience.

“[S]obriety finally made it to the top of the list, along with completing the last two courses of my Ph.D. I figured quitting drinking would at least free up some dough to pay down my debt and help with the many hundreds of dollars’ worth of required reading. Besides, Andrew was already smoking dope; booze—about as healthy as heroin for FAS kids—would doubtless follow, but it’s hard to lecture about why drinking is dangerous with a third glass of wine in your hand.” [Read more]

Read these stories and more at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive.

Previous editions of our Summer Reading Series: Travel | Essays | Sports & Rec | Fiction

Summer Reading Series 4: Fantastic Fiction

“Fiction has been maligned for centuries as being ‘false,’ ‘untrue,’ yet good fiction provides more truth about the world, about life, and even about the reader, than can be found in non-fiction.”
– Clark Zlotchew

We read essays to learn, to taste slices of history, to keep up on current events.  Not so with fiction.  We begin reading every story without any idea of what awaits us.  Reading fiction is an act of discovery, a small journey that is never the same twice, and all that we can hope to discover along the way is something of ourselves.

Our Summer Reading Series continues this week with a selection of award-winning fiction, all (and more) available at the National Magazine Awards archive (magazine-awards.com/archive).

1.Four Cornersby Bill Gaston, Event (2011 Gold winner in Fiction)
“I want, I don’t want.
How can one live with such a heart?”
– Margaret Atwood

The intricacies of a relationship and the confusions of love will never cease to be fodder for the writer of fiction. In this poignant tale of a breakup gone askew, Bill Gaston probes the mysteries of discovering ourselves in others and why we often only want what we can’t have.

“He should have asked her more questions about herself, not let her get away with being so private. And he should have told her more about himself. And about Shannon, about how another new layer of skin grows to protect from each mean flick of the tongue. About how never really listening to Cheryl is part of that thickened skin of his. He really needs most of all to tell her that his ears, and his heart, are full of skin.” [Read more]

2.Shared Room on Unionby Steven Heighton, The Fiddlehead (2009 Gold winner in Fiction)
“No one remains quite what he was when he recognizes himself.”
– Thomas Mann

A young couple. A carjacker who doesn’t drive. A broke, and broken, passer-by. What happens when a chance encounter forces us to confront the things we want above all else to hide about ourselves? Or wish above all else to keep hidden in others? Does the propensity of the human heart toward self-delusion outweigh the achingly desperate need for some semblance of intimacy? Exhausting every nuance of what it means to know, Steven Heighton writes with subtle prose and an exquisite sense of irony in this critically acclaimed short story.

“Though their bodies were jammed together at many points, in this extremity he was fully alone. She must feel the same. He guessed she must feel the same… Surely, whatever happened, they would live differently now.” [Read more]

3.Dead Man’s Weddingby Andrew Tibbetts, The Malahat Review (2008 Gold winner in Fiction)
In this unique and touching coming-of-age story, Andrew Tibbetts chronicles the interactions of two families, one Canadian and one American, celebrating Mother’s Day at their neighbouring cottages. With sharp humour and a keen sense of the profundity of the mundane, Tibbetts explores the clash of cultures, a mother’s desperate love, and the heartbreakingly earnest desire of a young boy to find his place in the world.

“We play nonchalantly. We look casual. Content. Only Sassafras is close enough to see that our calm is pretend, to see how bored we are with Crazy Eights and Old Maid and Go Fish. Only Sassafras sees how full we are of longing for something mysterious and wild, something that has nothing to do with us, but could swerve into our world to make all the known things new and dangerous. Shine your beam of light, Sassafras, to draw them here; come, tacky Yankees, come to spoil the peace and quiet.” [Read more]

Read these articles and more at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive

Previous editions of our Summer Reading Series: Travel | Essays | Sports & Recreation

Image of Clark Zlotchew courtesy www.clarkzlotchew.com

Summer Reading Series 3: (Olympic) Sports & Recreation

Like hundreds of millions around the world, we watched the opening ceremonies of the London Olympic Games not only to see what Danny Boyle could do with $43-million and a top-hatted Kenneth Branagh, but also because the grand procession of athletes is the final hurdle in our quadrennial wait between each staging of the greatest spectacle of sport on Earth. Now, at last, the games can begin again.

Fitting with the theme of day, for the third installment of our Summer Reading Series we present winners from the category Sports & Recreation, which are available at the National Magazine Awards archive (magazine-awards.com/archive).

1. “The Team that Disappearedby Brett Popplewell, Sportsnet (2011 Gold winner in Sports & Recreation)
In this terrific investigative article that solidified the long-form chops of the new Sportsnet magazine, Brett Popplewell tells the true story of the greatest tragedy in the history of the sport of hockey–the crash of flight RA-42434 in northern Russia, which wiped out nearly the entire squad of Lokomotiv Yaroslavl, one of the country’s premier professional clubs.

The pain of the loved ones left to grieve–including the family of the team’s Canadian coach–as well as the terror of the survivors, the chaos of the scene, the circus of the investigation, and the confusion of the one man who decided not to board the flight that day–all are recounted honestly in Popplewell’s masterful reconstruction of an event that affected countless lives all over the world.

“While the bells rang out above the dead, the phones began to ring. It was morning in North America. Late afternoon in Russia, Slovakia, Sweden, Germany, Latvia, Ukraine, Belarus and the Czech Republic, as news of the crash reached the families and friends of the men being pulled from the wreckage.” [Read more]

2. “Cycle of Lifeby Rich Poplak, explore (2009 Gold Winner in Sports & Recreation)
An ode to a father’s enduring inspiration, Rich Poplak tells the story of how his dad’s passion for the pedal became his own, and how the pain of pushing his body to new frontiers of athleticism ultimately became instructive of the bonds between father and son.

“I once believed that the time I spent in the saddle amounted to nothing more than wasted hours acquiescing to a foolish obsession. This I no longer believe. As I matured as a rider—as piss and vinegar dried up, giving way to the canny wisdom of a veteran—I came to understand cycling as a means of managing will. The paradox of endurance sport is that it becomes about everything besides the body.” [Read more]

3. “High Standardsby Alex Hutchison, Canadian Running (2008 Silver Winner in Sports & Recreation)
Four years ago, just before the start of the Beijing Olympic Games, 7-time NMA nominee Alex Hutchison set out to investigate why the Canadian Olympic Committee had imposed extraordinarily tough qualification standards for the marathon–alone among all athletic events–that resulted in fewer Canadian runners winning the right to compete for their country.

As the Olympics come around again this piece is especially worth revisiting, not in the least because this year, again, no Canadian women qualified for the London Games’ marathon (3 men qualified, marking the first time Canada has had Olympic marathon competitors since 2000; the men’s marathon is August 12).

“Setting appropriate Olympic standards demands that we think carefully about the role of amateur sport in society. Do we want role models, or just medals? Ultimately, it’s a clash between two visions of what the Olympics represent.” [Read more]

Read these articles and more at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive

Previous editions of our Summer Reading Series: Travel | Essays

Kenneth Branagh photo credit: Phil Noble/Reuters; courtesy The Guardian.

Summer Reading Series 2: Great Essays from the NMA Archives

“What do I know?” asked Lewis Lapham.

“The question distinguishes the essay from the less adventurous forms of expository prose—the dissertation, the polemic, the article, the campaign speech, the tract, the op-ed, the arrest warrant, the hotel bill. Writers… begin the first paragraph knowing how, when, where, and why they intend to claim the privilege of the last word. Not so the essayist, even if what he or she is writing purports to be a history or a field report. Like Twain’s Huckleberry Finn, the essayist lights out for the territories, never sure of the next sentence until the words show up on the page.”*

Our summer reading series continues this week with a selection of award-winning essays, all (and more) available at the National Magazine Awards archive (magazine-awards.com/archive).

1.The Ultraviolet Catastropheby Alice Major, The New Quarterly (2011 Gold winner in Essays)
Are the limits of our world finite, or can there be something beyond its edges? Is death a tragedy, or is it merely catastrophic, like the draining of waves of light into a black hole. Alice Major explores what the science of quantum physics can teach her about catharsis following the death of her father, in this essay that preceded her recent book, Intersecting Sets: A Poet Looks at Science (University of Alberta Press).

“How can a body be capable of so little and yet a mind be capable of so much? Humans are fascinated by such extremes. This is the material for our stories, the stuff of our legends. We don’t really find the ordinary terribly exciting. We seem to find that such singularities illuminate the human condition.” [Read more]

2.A 10 Percent Worldby J.B. MacKinnon, The Walrus (2010 Gold winner in Essays)
“I speculated in passing that, when seen through the lens of deep time, ours is a 10 Percent World–a blue-green globe that reflects just one-tenth the natural variety and abundance it once did.”

11-time National Magazine Award winner J.B. MacKinnon attempts to untangle prevailing notions of normality in humankind’s understanding of its own impact on the Earth. We tend to err not in our assumption that, previous to the age in which we live, the natural world was comparatively more vibrant and less degraded (though that is not uncommonly a disputed premise); rather, it is the scope of our vision of the past that is limited, perhaps so severely that it begs a completely new set of eyes. 

“The purpose of all of this,” writes MacKinnon, “… is not to demand some romantic return to a pre-human Eden, but rather to expand our options. Our sense of what is possible sets limits on our dreams.” [Read more]

3.The Big Decisionby Chris Turner, AlbertaViews (2008 Gold winner in Essays)
One of Canada’s foremost science journalists, Chris Turner lays bare the case for nuclear power in Alberta–yes, home of the oilsands–severing myth from fact while ruminating on both. Perhaps at its heart, it’s an argument for a badly needed argument, yet without vacillation:

“The most egregious myth, however–the one that could damn Alberta to a nuclear future as the 21st-century economy races greenly past–is the one that says it’s our only choice. Allow me to be exceedingly blunt: that’s just bullshit.” [Read more]

Read these essays and more at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive

Previous editions of our Summer Reading Series: Travel

* From Lewis Lapham, “Figures of Speech” (Harper’s, November 2010, p.7)
Huckleberry Finn illustration from the wonderful 1885 edition of the novel, published by Charles L. Webster & Co, whose illustrations were commissioned of New York artist Edward W. Kemple. 

Summer Travel Reading, from the NMA Archives

A friend dropped us a note recently from his travels in Austria: “I never imagined this place would be so stimulating: the mountains, the gardens, the café life; even the stodgy old Habsburg homes have some life to them.”

It’s summer, deep summer, which means most of us are either travelling or dreaming of travelling. We of the latter shade perhaps are undertaking dozens of vicarious journeys on Facebook and Pinterest. And whether we’re actually on the road or just imaginarily so, we like our travel reading: none better than the collection of award-winning travel stories at the NMA Awards Archive.

A few suggestions for your summer pleasures and days:

The Big Blueby Charles Wilkins, explore (2011 Gold winner in Travel)
Sixteen brave souls, one uniquely engineered rowboat, 5000 kilometres of open ocean. The author–the unsinkable Charles Wilkins, admittedly not the youngest or fittest of oarsmen–spent 18 months training for this record-breaking attempt to cross the Atlantic from Morocco to Barbados without the aid of sail or motor. This blogger felt almost guilty reading of this adventure from the comfort of a Toronto patio, as Wilkins dispatched:

“I was cold, I was exhausted, I was starved… What’s more, I had been beaten up–slapped around by waves that sometime before midnight had started coming hard out of the east onto our port flank… At one point, when for the briefest of moments my focus had lapsed (my brain having detoured into fantasies of my former life as a human being), an uncooperative wave had snatched my oar, driving the handle into my chest, pinning me with savage efficiency against the bulkhead that defined the prow end of the rowing trench.” [Read more]

Walking the Wayby Timothy Taylor, The Walrus (2009 Gold winner in Travel)
A fixture of bucket lists for centuries, Spain’s Santiago de Compostela pilgrimage trail seems, by the grace of those who walk it, an uneven plane of surrealism, uniting disparate senses of faith and devotion on a single, very literal path. And few writers put pen to trail as evocatively as Timothy Taylor:

“Nobody talks about religion, faith, metaphysics… Nobody says, because not long ago at a party I got into a drunken argument about philosophical materialism–the belief that the only thing that exists is physical matter–and found myself yelling at a woman, ‘Then why are we here? Why are you here?’ Nobody would admit to that. To losing it. To getting belligerent over the possibility of transcendence. Nobody would admit that, because it would indicate that you somehow needed to walk 800 kilometres across Spain.” [Read more]

St. Petersburg the Greatby Noah Richler, enRoute (2008 Gold winner in Travel)
A mindful travelogue in the modern mold–a studious writer eager to discover what lies beneath; a photographer (Robert Lemermeyer) with a keen sense of place–it satisfies both the memories of those who’ve already been there and the desires of we who long to go. Not just restaurants–ingredients. Not just vodka–conversation. (Not just English–bilingual; it’s enRoute after all.) Richler keeps the reader at his elbow:

“In St. Petersburg, the noteworthy is either tawdry or a few steps underground or magnificent and palatial beyond imagining. It is as if Peter’s lofty dream and the lowly serfdom that made it possible persist in the soul of the city because neither ever existed without the other.” [Read more]

Read these travel stories and more at the National Magazine Awards archive: magazine-awards.com/archive

National Magazine Award-winning Science, Technology & the Environment, 2007-2010

As we count down to the announcement – May 1 – of the nominees for the 35th anniversary National Magazine Awards, we’re taking a look back at some of the award-winning creative from the past four years. Today, in honour of Earth Day Canada this weekend: Gold award winners in the category Science, Technology & the Environment.

2007

"Inde, poubelle de la planète techno" by Noémi Mercier, Québec science

2008

"Becoming an Optimist" by J.B. MacKinnon, explore

2009

"Sh*t Happens But You Move On" by Matthew McClearn, Canadian Business

2010

"Cellules souches: Le mirage chinois" by Noémi Mercier, Québec science

The 35th anniversary National Magazine Awards will be held on June 7. Nominations and ticket information coming May 1 at www.magazine-awards.com.

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