Off the Page, with Hudson Christie

Off the Page is back! Our interview series with National Magazine Award winners returns this week with Hudson Christie, winner of the 2015 award for Best New Magazine Illustrator, sponsored by Red Point Media. Hudson generously gave us some of his time recently to talk about his winning work, the significance of his award and building a career as a magazine illustrator.

NMAF: Congratulations on the award for Best New Magazine Illustrator. Your winning piece accompanied a story in Maisonneuve called “A Portrait of the Artist with Testicles in Hand,” (itself a National Magazine Award finalist in the humour category; a personal essay about an angst-ridden young man having a scrotal examination). Can you talk a bit about the process of creating that illustration—from your design brief with Maisy art director Anna Minzhulina, your reading of the text, and the actual construction of the sculptures?

Hudson Christie (portrait by the illustrator)
Hudson Christie (portrait by the illustrator)

Hudson Christie: This was my first commission from Maisonneuve, and Anna smartly matched me with a simultaneously silly and dark article. I’m happiest when I get to work with unhappy themes! Illustrating a testicular cancer scare demanded both a degree of sensitivity for the reality of cancer while leaving room for the nervous laughter that accompanies the dodging of a bullet.

For the picture, I wanted to express the way that this event interrupted the author’s everyday life. We went through a variety of sketches until landing on the classic thinker pose, contrasting the humor inherent to banal, contemporary life (in the form of frozen food) with the (conveniently phallic) home decor.

NMAF: Your style of illustration—clay sculptures, painted and photographed, and sometimes animated—is striking and unique. (The NMA jury called it a “fresh approach to traditional illustration” that proves you are “unafraid to push boundaries and take risks.”) When did you start developing this style as an editorial art form; was it while you were studying at OCAD, or even earlier?

Hudson Christie: I started working on this approach during my 3rd year at OCAD. I was really charmed by figurative folk sculpture at the time and was trying to come up with a way to integrate its uncanny geometric features and deliberate colour palettes into my work.

I had some mental hurdles to clear in order to figure out a way of making this inherently three-dimensional medium conform to the framed two-dimensionality of editorial illustration.

A huge personal breakthrough was learning how to use the computer to plot measurements of my dioramas, giving me final pictures which are 90% true to the original sketch.

NMAF: One of my favourite recent pieces of yours was your work for Alberta Venture magazine’s “Best Workplaces” issue (June 2015). Every element seems precise and yet whimsical—the oversized water cooler, the dog dish, the first aid kit, etc—conveying a sense of a scene that is both exemplary and fun. What’s the biggest challenge in working with clay to create an illustration like this?

Hudson Christie: There’s always a bit of randomness that takes control between the sketch and the final props I build. For the Alberta Venture cover, I had to employ a bit of trial and error, changing the angle and position of the figures in order to remove confusing contours.

Lighting is another aspect that’s hard to predict during the sketch phase. In this case, lighting the crowd of co-workers while maintaining a sense of depth where they overlapped took plenty of fiddling.


NMAF: Can you describe your studio and workspace? I imagine a large table littered with discarded clay limbs and eyeballs, dog tails and unicorn horns. And of course a large oven emitting the earthy aroma of baked clay. Is that close to the mark?

Hudson Christie: You’re pretty close! I work out of a bachelor apartment in Parkdale, so it’s instead a fairly small desk that’s covered in tiny clay body parts. I also have a separate table (read: piece of plywood with detatchable Ikea legs) where I set up my dioramas. I use two halogen photo lamps and a DSLR camera.

Replace “large oven” with “toaster oven” and “earthy aroma of baked clay” with “vaguely burnt odor of Super Sculpey” and you get the idea. I use polymer clay for the speed and versatility, even though it’s a lot less romantic than the real thing.

Hudson Christie has a distinctive and clear voice that will attract notice from audiences and designers. He uses wit and humour to address a provocative subject and his technique is a fresh and a unique approach to form.
— National Magazine Awards jury

NMAF: What is the significance to you as a young illustrator to win the National Magazine Award? Has it helped create other opportunities to publish your work, or amplify your work to art directors and agencies? And is there anything new you’re working on at the moment that you can tell us about?

Hudson Christie: Winning a National Magazine Award in my first year out of OCAD was a really huge honour. Being named in the same breath as other renowned members of the Canadian magazine community made me feel like a real contributor to a larger creative goal.

Since my win, I’ve been featured in The Walrus, another Canadian magazine that I’ve been itching to contribute to since I started freelancing.

NMAF: Do you have any words of wisdom for young and student artists and illustrators about making an impact in the world of magazines and publishing?

Hudson Christie: My first real portfolio of ten illustrations was just my senior year-long project, called “Work Life Balance,” at OCAD, which was based around a self-initiated concept that I was really passionate about.

If you aren’t enrolled in any illustration program, I recommend initiating your own series from scratch anyway. A focused series of pictures is one of the best arguments for your intellectual and artistic ability.

Hudson Christie is a National Magazine Award winning illustrator, a 2014 Medallist in Illustration at OCAD, and the recipient of the 2015 NMA prize for Best New Magazine Illustrator. His work has appeared in Maisonneuve, The Walrus, Alberta Venture, The New York Times, Mother Jones and other publications. Check out his creative portfolio at and find him on Twitter @Hudsons_House.

The 2016 National Magazine Awards will open for submissions in December. 

Related “Off the Page” interviews
Roxanna Bikadoroff
, 4-time NMA-winning illustrator
Byron Eggenscwhiler, 6-time NMA-winner and winner of the 2009 award for Best New Magazine Illustrator
Gracia Lam, 2-time NMA winner for Spot Illustration
Jillian Tamaki, 4-time NMA-winning illustrator
Selena Wong, 2-time NMA-winning illustrator

Winners’ Circle to feature panel presentation by leading Canadian magazine professionals

On Wednesday, November 25, the NMAF will present Winners’ Circle, an exclusive learning and networking event. All National Magazine Awards finalists and winners are invited to attend the event at the Spoke Club in Toronto, 5-7pm.

Come join your magazine industry colleagues–editors, publishers, creators and more–for a fun after-work soiree, hosted by the one and only D.B. Scott, president of Impresa Communications Limited of Cambridge, Ontario, consultants to the magazine industry, and also the academic coordinator of the Magazine and Web Publishing program at Ryerson University’s Chang School. He publishes Canadian Magazines, a daily blog about the industry, and is a frequent presenter and awards judge. He was president of the National Magazine Awards Foundation in 1991 and was a founding member of the Canadian Society of Magazine Editors.

D.B. will be moderating a panel discussion called “Learn & Leverage” about how magazine writers, editors and publishers can leverage their National Magazine Award to grow their businesses and careers. The panellists include:

Matthew Blackett
Matthew is the publisher and editor of Spacing, a five-time CSME Small Magazine of the Year (2007-09, 2013-14), and in 2007 he was named CSME Editor of the Year. Spacing has also won 2 National Magazine Awards and has been nominated 15 times, including 5 times for Best Single Issue of the Year, and 4 times for Best Editorial Package.

Penny Caldwell
Penny is the Publisher of Cottage Life and was Editor-in-Chief from 2000 to 2015. Cottage Life has won almost 400 awards, including CSME’s Magazine of the Year for three consecutive years, the NMAF’s Magazine of the Year and a Gold COPA for the magazine’s first interactive digital edition in 2014. In 2015, Cottage Life won the inaugural National Magazine Award for Best Magazine Brand. She has been named CSME’s Editor of the Year four times.

Katherine Laidlaw
Katherine is the associate editor of The Walrus. She has won one silver National Magazine Award and has been nominated for three others. She was previously an editor at Up Here and Reader’s Digest Canada.


Fast Pitch

After the panel presentation, it’s time to mingle and network with your peers. We’ll be facilitating introductions between writers, artists, editors and art directors. If you’re planning to attend and would like to have a chance to sit down with an award-winning writer/artist or an award-winning magazine editor or art director, let us know:

We’re looking forward to welcoming you to Winners’ Circle.

All nominees and winners from the 2015 National Magazine Awards are invited to attend. For guests outside of Toronto participation by teleconference may be available. Contact to RSVP or request more information. RSVP by Nov. 13.

Join Winners’ Circle on Facebook.

Winners’ Circle: A Special Event from the National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation is proud to present Winners’ Circle, an exclusive event for National Magazine Awards finalists and winners to meet, mingle, pitch and learn about how a National Magazine Award can be a boost to your career or magazine.

Wednesday, November 25
Spoke Club, 600 King St West, Toronto

The event is open to all National Magazine Awards finalists and winners . For those who are unable to come to Toronto, we may be able to provide teleconference participation.

Guests are requested to RSVP to no later than November 13.

An Adventurous Literary Travel Itinerary (Summer Magazine Reading Series, No. 7)

Your intrepid Mag Awards blogger just returned from canoeing a great long river in Maine, where at dawn the moose pose in water while eating their grassy breakfast, and at dusk either the rain or the mosquitoes force you into the tent where you’re glad to have packed a pile of magazines to read before the ache of a long day of j-strokes puts you to sleep.

Whether you’ve got your feet up at the cottage in a Muskoka chair by the dock, or you’re stormbound in a tent deep in moose-land, summer is even more adventurous with a great magazine travel story.

This year’s National Magazine Awards travel-writing finalists brought us to many exciting places: to India, where tea is born in the Himalaya foothills; to northern British Columbia, on a haunted glacier; to Jerusalem, for a Kafkaesque citrus heist; to Newfoundland, where a cottage by any other name smells as fishy; to Brazil, in angular shadows of modern architecture; to San Francisco, where technology guides the tour; to Nunavut and Chicago and the middle of Lake Superior, all in the service of a literary sense of place.

Our summer magazine reading series continues this week with travel stories nominated at the 2015 National Magazine Awards. Make this your literary travel itinerary before summer sadly ends.

Au paradis des thés

Category: Travel–Gold Medal winner
Author: Marie-Soleil Deshautels
Magazine: L’actualité

Plusieurs critères déterminent si un thé sera ou non un « grand cru », notamment l’uniformité, la brillance et la taille des feuilles. Les meilleurs thés ont une fragrance et un goût jugés fins ou complexes.

Synopsis: An intrepid journey to the heart of India’s tea-producing northeast: Darjeeling, in the Himalaya foothills south of Kangchenjunga, the world’s third-highest mountain. National Magazine Award-winning writer Marie-Soleil Deshautels explores the cycle of tea production from the seed to the cup to the exportation to Canada, examining the science that is helping tea producers meet new global demand, and the art of brewing the perfect cup. Read the story.

Another great read: The silver medal in Travel went to Eric Dupont for “Vivre à belo horizonte” (L’actualité), an architectural tour of the work of Oscar Niemeyer in Brazil.

Lemon from Sheikh Jarrah

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Karen Connelly
Magazine: Geist

“Who took this button off your computer?” It fell off; it broke. “When?” Several years ago. It kept falling off. I just threw it away. “But not here, not while you were in Israel.” No. I was here for just over a week. “Are you sure?”

Synopsis: One of those rare dispatches from Israel/Palestine that doesn’t get tripped up over politics or bogged down by the pro-/anti- arguments, award-winning poet Karen Connelly’s elegantly simple story in the form of a letter to the lone Palestinian woman she met on an official tour of Jerusalem provides readers a fresh and authentic sense of place in an otherwise unfalteringly complex–and at times darkly comical–experience of visiting the region.

Another great read: Dan Robson of Sportsnet won Honourable Mention in Travel for “Home and Really Far Away,” which won the Gold Medal in Sports & Recreation and was profiled in the first edition of our Summer Magazine Reading Series.

Death on a Glacier

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Jon Turk
Magazine: Explore

“The air became electric and the hair stood up on the backs of our necks,” Bill told me. “It was one of those moments that don’t dim with time. I can imagine every vivid detail to this day.” The three hunters had discovered the body of that ancient warrior, now known as Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchí — “Long Ago Person Found.”

Synopsis: Fifteen years ago, three hunters travelling around a glacier in the Tatshenshini-Alsek wilderness of northern British Columbia discovered the partial remains of a young native man who had apparently died while attempting to cross a high mountain pass more than three centuries earlier. Now, as scientific analysis has revealed much of the biography of the man posthumously named Kwäday Dän Ts’ìnchí, writer Jon Turk joins the hunters as they return to the place of discovery to re-imagine his life and ponder the mysteries that remain. Read the story.

Another great read: Explore magazine also won Honourable Mention for “Across the Little North” by Conor Mihell, an account of a month-long canoe expedition through remote northwestern Ontario.

The Other Fifth Avenue

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Lisa Moore
Magazine: Cottage Life

I stop to ask for directions from a man who’s chopping wood. When I say I’m looking for Jen Ford’s place, he pauses and looks deliberately at the horizon. “The Ford place,” he says. “Nope, never heard of it.” He gives the wood chunk sitting on the chopping block a hard smack with the axe. It splits with a loud, splintering thwack. Then he says, “Oh, wait a minute, you mean Phil’s place. A few cabins back. You just drove past it.”

Synopsis: Award-winning novellist and Newfoundland native Lisa Moore takes a rural road trip to the summer “cabins” (don’t call them cottages in Newfoundland) to discover the depth of the islanders’ appreciation for the traditional way of life, revolving around family stories, music, fishing, berry-based cuisine, “corn toss,” and never-ending home-improvement projects that bring entire communities together. Read the story.

Another great read: Cottage Life won a second Honourable Mention in Travel for “Dreamlandia” by NMA winner Charles Wilkins, set in Nirivia, a little-known trout-fishing paradise on an island in Lake Superior.

Bright Lights, Tech City

Category: Travel–Honourable Mention
Author: Andrew Braithwaite
Magazine: enRoute

“I’ve never been here before,” says Arieff. Good words to hear from a professed urban flaneur. Based on a 2009 project to map hidden spaces, SPUR launched the app in 2012. It leads curious explorers to unexpected downtown oases, like this rooftop deck off a poorly signed staircase in the corner of a retail mall.

Synopsis: Canadian ex-pat and NMA winner Andrew Braithwaite serves up five fresh views on his adopted city of San Francisco, visiting traditional tourist hotspots with technology of the sort made famous in Silicon Valley–hiking the Coastal Trail with the latest fitness-measuring gadgets; visiting the Exploratorium with a roboticist; trying out new apps to locate a POPOS (“privately owned public open space”). It’s the San Fran of the future, the city reaching the maturity of its latest techno-boom. Read the story.

Another great read: Andrew Braithwaite and enRoute magazine also received Honourable Mention for “South Side Story,” about the regeneration of Chicago’s post-industrial south side.

Subscribe to our blog to receive our Summer Magazine Reading Series in your inbox each week, and follow us on Twitter (@MagAwards) for updates and magazine news and promotions.

Did you know? You can download and read all of the National Magazine Awards finalists and winners for FREE in our online archive, at

Stay tuned for another Summer Magazine Reading Series edition next Thursday.

Moose photos by Richard A. Johnson.

Summer Magazine Reading Series, No. 6: Oh. Canada?

The sixth serving of our summer reading series has a palpable WTF flavour to it; three stories that have the power to shock you through the sheer unlikelihood of their situations, the terrible injustice inherent in their contexts, and the unusual and even frightening characters they bring to light.

An epidemic of sexual assault threatens the integrity of Canada’s armed forces. Creation “scientists” re-interpret the history of the world during the Alberta floods. A homegrown terrorist hitchhikes his way to his own death.

All three of these stories won Gold Medals at the 2015 National Magazine Awards.


Sex Crimes in the Military

Categories: Investigative Reporting, Politics & Public Interest (double gold winner)
Authors: Noémi Mercier and Alec Castonguay
Magazine: L’actualité (French; republished in English in Maclean’s)

Every day, five individuals in the Canadian military community become victims of sexual assault.

Synopsis: An original investigation by two reporters from the French-language current affairs magazine L’actualité and published under the headline “Crimes sexuels dans l’armée,” this incredible work of journalism pieces together the facts and stats, the court marshals and testimonies, the victims’ perspectives and the military context, and the efforts to cover up, to expose, and to resolve the shockingly common occurrences of sexual assault in Canada’s armed forces. This is Canadian magazine journalism at its finest.

National Magazine Award winners Noémi Mercier and Alec Castonguay spent months investigating and writing this story for L’actualité, and it was the only nominee to receive 2 gold medals at the 2015 National Magazine Awards. The story was translated and republished in Maclean’s. Read the original French; read the English translation.

It took a shy, but courageous, Aboriginal teenager to finally put a stop to Wilks’s behaviour. In December 2009, 17-year-old Robbie Williams walked out of Wilks’s examination room in tears and called the police. A long list of victims followed her example. “I knew something wasn’t right as soon as I walked in the room. You wanna meet the right procedures and everything, so I followed through with everything he got me to do. For a long time after that I couldn’t even look at myself in the mirror. He made me feel worthless.”

Bonus reads: The silver medallist in Politics & Public Interest is Jake Macdonald’s “The Cost of Freedom” (Report on Business), which looks at the future of prairie agriculture following the dismantling of the Canadian Wheat Board.

The silver medallist in Investigative Reporting is Joe Castaldo’s riveting story for Canadian Business titled “The Entirely True Tale of the Man Who Had an Idea, Borrowed a Boat from Neil Young, Dumped Iron in the Ocean, Angered the Vatican, Ticked Off the United Nations, and Tore a Small Town Apart—Just to Make Some Salmon Happy.”


Water Upon the Earth

Category: Essays
Author: Andrea Bennett
Magazine: Maisonneuve

“I am going to put an end to all people,” God says, “for the Earth is filled with violence because of them.”

Synopsis: Nearly half of Canadians believe that humans and dinosaurs co-existed, and many of these believers subscribe to one or another version of Christian Biblical literalism which holds that geological, paleontological and anthropological time that science measures in millions or even billions of years in fact is measured in mere thousands since the time God created the Earth in six days.

National Magazine Award winner Andrea Bennett takes an inquisitive road trip to the Big Valley Creation Science Museum in central Alberta—harrowingly coincidental to the near-apocalyptic deluge which flooded much of that province in June of 2013—getting to know some of the adherents to and critics of the Young Earth Creationism movement, and reflecting on the parallel (and sometimes intersecting) historical gazes of science and faith. Read the story.

Henderson himself grew up in what he describes as a “rather strict” Presbyterian household—grace at every meal, church on Sunday, Bible reading in the afternoons at his grandmother’s. When he was fifteen, he began to see some contradictions between his faith and science. “Strangely,” he said, “my dad bought me this book called The Evidence for Evolution. When he gave it to me, he said, ‘Now I don’t want you to believe everything in this book.’”

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Essays is Jody Smiling’s “Through the Rockies” (Prism International), a pristinely articulated meditation on the family road trip.


My Hitchhiker, the Parliament Hill Gunman

Category: Best Short Feature
Author: Michael Friscolanti
Magazine: Maclean’s

“Where are you going?” Bekkering asked. “Calgary,” answered the man. “This is your lucky day.”

Synopsis: The terrifying assault on Parliament last October was like a nightmare come true for many Canadians: 21st-century Islamic terrorism hitting home. For one Calgary man, an agricultural consultant named Harry Bekkering, the frenzy of national anxiety and media coverage eventually illuminated a familiar face: the Ottawa gunman was a taciturn, purportedly devout man to whom he’d given a well-meaning lift across the Rocky Mountains just a month earlier. As the country came to grips with the tragedy and its context, Bekkering came to realize that his unlikely passenger was not a true believer but a tragic, alienated figure in need of help; help he never got.

National Magazine Award winner Michael Friscolanti profiles Mr. Bekkering, reconstructing the voyage from Chilliwack to Calgary and his subject’s evolving observations about Michael Zehaf Bibeau. Read the story.

A month after the shooting, Bekkering still struggles with feelings of guilt. Should he have spotted a warning sign? Was Michael already planning his attack when he climbed into the truck? Or did his inability to secure a passport, either Libyan or Canadian, push him over the edge?

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Best Short Feature, Elizabeth Renzetti’s “Ayahuasca (Mis)Adventures” (ELLE Canada) needs little further introduction beyond the mention that ayahuasca is a hallucinogenic herbal brew reported to have divinatory properties.


Subscribe to our blog to receive our Summer Magazine Reading Series in your inbox each week, and follow us on Twitter (@MagAwards) for updates and magazine news and promotions.

Did you know? You can download and read all of the National Magazine Awards finalists and winners for FREE in our online archive, at

Stay tuned for another Summer Magazine Reading Series edition next Thursday.

Lectures estivales de la Fondation: découvertes

Les magazines québécois se sont illustrés lors des derniers Prix du magazine canadien, en réalisant une impressionnante récolte de prix. Vous n’avez pas encore eu l’occasion de lire les textes primés? Qu’à cela ne tienne! Cette semaine, la Fondation vous propose de découvrir les textes primés dans les catégories Société et Santé et médecine. D’abord, un texte fascinant sur l’intersexualité signé par Mylène Tremblay pour le magazine Châtelaine, suivi d’un reportage de Marie-Pier Elie paru dans le magazine Québec Science, qui a aussi valu à la journaliste un Grand Prix du journalisme indépendant.

Pour la cinquième édition de nos lectures estivales nous présentons la meilleure écriture magazine du Québec de l’année passée.

Intersexualité. Rencontre du troisième sexe

Catégorie : Société
Auteure : Mylène Tremblay
Magazine : Châtelaine

En bref : Un bébé vient au monde. On déclare alors le sexe : c’est un garçon! C’est une fille! Mais la réalité n’est pas toujours aussi simple, comme le rapporte la journaliste Mylène Tremblay, qui s’est intéressée au phénomène méconnu de l’intersexualité. Chez certains individus, « le corps ne correspond ni à la définition type d’un homme ni à celle d’une femme ». On les qualifie alors d’intersexes.

Si l’on en entend peu parler, ce sujet est pourtant d’autant plus d’actualité qu’il y a aujourd’hui davantage d’intersexes.

« Le phénomène existe depuis la nuit des temps, mais s’est accentué au cours des 50 dernières années, constatent des spécialistes internationaux. La faute, notamment, aux facteurs environnementaux (…) ».

Bien que les opinions divergent dans la communauté médicale sur la démarche à privilégier, il y a consensus sur la complexité de ces cas. N’est plus systématique de procéder à une intervention chirurgicale visant à attribuer aux individus un sexe spécifique en bas âge.

« Des erreurs, il y en a eu et il y en a encore. Beaucoup. Dès la fin des années 1950, presque tous les bébés intersexes des pays occidentaux sont passés sous le bistouri ». Mylène Tremblay a rencontré des intersexes qui témoignent des répercussions que ces interventions ont eues sur leur développement.

Un reportage de Mylène Tremblay à lire sans faute!

Immunothérapie. Le nouvel espoir

Catégorie : Santé et médecine
Auteure : Marie-Pier Elie
Magazine : Québec Science

En bref : Dans ce reportage, la journaliste propose aux lecteurs une incursion dans l’univers de la recherche sur l’immunothérapie, une forme de traitement expérimental contre le cancer porteur d’espoir pour les patients qui ne répondent pas aux traitements conventionnels. À la différence des traitements répandus, comme la chimiothérapie, la radiothérapie ou la chirurgie, l’immunothérapie fait appel aux défenses naturelles du corps humain pour combattre les cellules cancéreuses.

La journaliste s’est rendue au National Cancer Institute du Maryland pour y rencontrer le Dr Steven Rosenberg, un chirurgien qui s’intéresse à l’immunothérapie depuis les années 60. Les traitements qui sont offerts aux malades sont adaptés aux individus et n’ont parfois jamais été tentés auparavant. Les patients s’offrent donc comme « cobayes ». Si les traitements fonctionnent dans certains cas, étant expérimentaux, ils ne produisent pas toujours les effets escomptés. Mais pour ces personnes qui n’ont plus rien à perdre, l’immunothérapie se présente comme l’ultime recours.

«La seule raison d’être de notre groupe de recherche est le développement de la médecine de demain, pas la pratique de la médecine d’aujourd’hui. Nous n’offrons donc aucun traitement de routine ». – Dr Steven Rosenberg

Si de nombreux traitements se sont soldés par un échec, des vies ont aussi été épargnées, alors qu’il n’y avait que peu, voire plus d’espoir. Comme celle d’Emily Whitehead, une petite fille atteinte d’une leucémie diagnostiquée incurable, que les traitements d’immunothérapie ont sauvée contre toute attente.

Découvrez ce reportage instructif et fascinant de Marie-Pier Elie.

Ces textes vous ont donné la piqûre de la lecture? Parcourez les archives de la Fondation pour lire tous les articles qui ont récolté les honneurs cette année. Voici quelques suggestions :

Médaille d’or :

Crimes sexuels dans l’armée
Noémi Mercier, Alec CastonguayL’actualité
Catégories : Politique et affaires publiques, Journalisme d’enquête

Au paradis des thés
Marie-Soleil DesautelsL’actualité
Catégorie : Voyages

La pointe des utopies
Rémy Bourdillon, Pierre-Yves Cezard – Nouveau Projet
Catégorie : Paroles et images

Médaille d’argent :

Collectif – Nouveau Projet
Catégorie : Dossier thématique : imprimé

Place au cannabiz !
Marc-André Sabourin – L’actualité
Catégorie : Affaires

Le futur fait bonne impression 
Marine CorniouQuébec Science
Catégorie : Science, technologie et environnement

Halte au surdiagnostic !
Valérie BordeL’actualité
Catégorie : Santé et médecine

Vivre À Belo Horizonte  
Eric DupontL’actualité
Catégorie : Voyages

Un bateau pour l’enfer
Michel ArseneaultL’actualité
Catégorie : Article hors catégorie

Dette du Québec : rien ne justifie la panique, Santé : où trouver les milliards?, Du bon usage des compressions
Pierre FortinL’actualité
Catégorie : Chroniques

Summer Magazine Reading Series, No. 4: While You Were Sleeping

The fourth edition of our summer reading series borrows its title from a blockbuster 90s Sandra Bullock flick in which a woman falls in love with a man in a coma only to later fall for his non-comatose brother. Which has very little to do with this week’s feature stories, except that they all involve events that are happening in other places in our world, perhaps while we were sleeping.

In this week’s edition have three award-winning stories curated under this basic theme: one about the two-decade struggle of a Canadian mining giant to extract billions in ore from the Andean highlands; a second about the efforts to design the world’s most perfect toilet to address the problem of sanitation in developing countries; and a third that, well, is actually about the world of dreams and a novel attempt to categorize them.

All three stories won Gold Medals at the 2015 National Magazine Awards.


High and Dry

Category: Business
Author: Stephanie Nolen
Magazine: Report on Business

You have to wonder—how could Barrick spend so much money here and still end up without a friend?

Synopsis: At 5200 metres above sea level, along Chile’s serrated, glacier-carved border with Argentina, sits Pascua-Lama, one of the world’s highest, most remote mining operations, controlled by the Canadian multinational Barrick Gold. 15 million ounces of gold await extraction, along with significant deposits of silver and copper. After nearly two decades of negotiations to resolve environmental, taxation, infrastructure and other concerns with the Chilean government, Barrick finally prepared to start mining, only to have a Chilean regulator halt operations over health and safety concerns of the 3000 Diaguita indigenous people who would comprise part of the labour force, and whose requests of the company include CSR investment in local education and agriculture, and respect for the integrity of the land.

National Magazine Award winner Stephanie Nolen brings us the complete story of the battle to re-start the mine, illuminating the social, legal and political landscape, alongside wonderful photographs by NMA winner Roger LeMoyne. In addition to winning the Gold award for Business, this story was also a National Magazine Awards finalist in the categories Investigative Reporting, Politics & Public Interest and Science, Technology & Environment. Read the story.

The drought has been bad everywhere, but it was critical for the farmers such as Maglene Campillay, who says she has seen her production drop by four-fifths. She and her neighbours came to believe the mine was destroying the glaciers, and with them, their livelihoods. “This time, in the middle of the drought, it seemed that the glaciers didn’t have [their] power any more,” she says. They released no water from their frozen hearts. “The rivers are like the veins in our body. If one dries out, other places dry out too.”

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Business is Marc-André Sabourin‘s “Place au Cannabiz!” (L’actualité), a story about Canadian entrepreneurs who are preparing for the (possible) future legalization of marijuana.


The Toilet Papers

Category: Science, Technology & Environment
Author: Jeremy Keehn
Magazine: The Walrus

“Toilet,” Cheng stressed, “was a misnomer at this stage. It doesn’t look like a toilet.”

Synopsis: The challenge is at once simple and dauntingly complex: invent an affordable, ecological, scalable toilet system that embodies sensitivity to the requirements of gender, social culture, environment and economy to resolve the problem of the 2.5 billion people who lack access to safe sanitation, including the 800,000 children under 5 who die each year of diarrheal diseases.

National Magazine Award winner Jeremy Keehn insightfully catalogs the efforts of Canadian engineers, academics, aid organizations, government agencies and others who are taking up the toilet challenge, while probing the concerns of the global poor and criticisms of international aid that combine to demonstrate that the solution to one of humanity’s greatest challenges can’t just be flushed out from a tank. Read the story.

I assumed that the moment of tension was precipitated by the mother confessing that the family had no household toilet. In fact, McHale corrected me, she was thanking the doctor for telling them about the pan, and the doctor was admonishing her for whispering. “Everybody must know about the SaTo,” she exclaimed. The spot aimed not just to sell the pan, in other words, but to de-stigmatize talk of the shit it would contain.

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Science, Technology & Environment is Marine Corniou’s “Le futur fait bonne impression” (Québec Science), which investigates the next technological revolution afforded by advances in 3D printing.


Reviews of My Dreams from Last Night

Category: Humour
Author: Richard Light
Magazine: The Feathertale Review

A well-executed flying dream is always a great way to start out the night, and this one did not disappoint.

Synopsis: Somnolent writer creates a taxonomy of seven types of dreams in the style of film reviews.

True story: At the 2015 National Magazine Awards gala, Feathertale Review editor Brett Popplewell came to the stage to collect this award on behalf of his absent humour writer, telling the audience that he’s never actually met or seen Richard Light, but he’s a fantastic writer who will be honoured to know he’s won this award. Here’s hoping the aptly named Richard Light has finally awoken from the darkness of dreamland to celebrate his success. Read the story.

If you’re not familiar with False Awakening, it’s where the dreamer “wakes up” and goes about his or her normal morning routine: getting dressed, preparing breakfast, and even taking a pee that feels so disturbingly lifelike it can actually wake the dreamer. Sure, I found it a bit boring and unremarkable — but my life is boring and unremarkable.

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Humour, Jon Paul Fiorentino’s “It Seems Like Sex is a Weird Thing That Used to Happen to Me Sometimes” (sub-Terrain), really needs no further introduction.



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