Summer Magazine Reading Series, No. 3: Wrongfully Imprisoned

This week’s edition of our summer reading series brings you three incredible stories of men and women facing unexpected, shocking and painful adversity.

We’ve grouped these under a theme of “Wrongfully Imprisoned” because, well, two of the stories involve innocent Canadians finding themselves in a faraway jail cell (one, an artist, in Cairo; the other, a fisherman, in Spain), while the third is about a woman who found herself battling another sort of imprisonment–of painful immobility–when she shattered her leg during CrossFit.

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

 

The Trials of Philip Halliday

Category: One of a Kind
Author: Noah Richler
Magazine: The Walrus

“My friend, we’ve got real problems here,” yelled Fletcher at Berkey as the men on the boats started shooting.

Synopsis: On a choppy winter morning off the coast of Spain, a retired Canadian coast guard vessel, en route to its new private owner, is assaulted by gunfire from a pair of motorized inflatable boats. The word “pirates” is uttered, but as the assailants board the vessel it soon becomes clear that they are Spanish police, the vanguard of a multinational investigation into maritime drug smuggling. The ship’s first mate, a former scallop fisherman from Digby, N.S., named Philip Halliday, is unwittingly caught up in the affair, implicated in the smuggling of 1.5 tons of cocaine, and spends the next four years as an innocent man in a Spanish prison, desperately seeking justice.

National Magazine Award winner Noah Richler takes readers inside the incredible story of the man, the boat and the unfathomable international caper, with illustrations by up-and-coming Toronto artist Min Gyo Chung. Read the story.

A ­Spanish prisoner taught him how to write the tickets to acquire what he needed from the prison store. Another helped him make his first call home, and after that he made a point of keeping some paper in his pocket to jot down anything he might want to tell the family. “I have to try Not to cry around all these Men. Some o them have Ben here a long time,” he wrote in the first of scores of letters home.

Bonus read: The silver medallist in One of a Kind, Michel Arsenault’s story “Un bateau pour l’enfer” (L’actualité), which follows the dangerous maritime migration of African refugees from Libya to Italy and asks what role Canada should play.

 

Save Me From My Workout

Category: Personal Journalism
Author: Lauren McKeon
Magazine: Toronto Life

To an outsider, a CrossFit workout can look nuts. Participants heave 60-pound kettlebells high over their heads in repetitions of 50.

Synopsis: Looking to embrace a new fitness regime that was both trendy and extreme, the author and her partner took up CrossFit, a gym-based gauntlet of heaving, lifting, running, slamming, hoisting, launching, clean-and-jerking…, until one winter morning she landed from a routine box jump and heard and felt her leg shatter; “like the sound of gunfire.”

During her long recovery and rehab, National Magazine Award winner and THIS Magazine editor Lauren McKeon began to investigate more closely the far side of the CrossFit world, charting its origins, talking to its gurus and critics, examining what medical science has to say about such extreme exercise, putting the fitness fad under painful scrutiny while reflecting on her own regret, or lack thereof, at taking up CrossFit. Read the story.

The doctor told me I’d need three months of physical therapy just to relearn how to walk. Trying to digest this news on the way home from the hospital, I confessed out loud to Andrew for the first time: “You know, I knew something bad was going to happen.” And then in a whisper: “But I jumped anyway.”

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Personal Journalism is “Lost in the Barrens” (The Walrus) by the late, iconic Canadian writer Farley Mowat, who won his first National Magazine Award posthumously for a memoir of his travels in England in the 1960s.

 

The Captive

Category: Profiles
Author: Jason McBride
Magazine: Toronto Life

“The whole time I was thinking, ‘We’ll be out in 24 hours.’ Oh, were we ever wrong.”

Synopsis: Two summers ago, Toronto artist, filmmaker and LGBTQ activist John Greyson travelled to Cairo to document the journey of a Palestinian-Canadian doctor, Tarek Loubani, who was headed for Gaza to deliver innovative technical supplies to a hospital. An unlucky combination of timing and Egyptian political unrest landed the two of them in prison, without charge, on suspicion of international terrorism. For 50 days, the two Canadians endured a harrowing ordeal that would have broken their spirits were it not for their steadfast belief in justice and the camaraderie of their fellow inmates, while back home their family and friends rallied international support for their release.

National Magazine Award winner Jason McBride draws an intimate, well-rounded literary portrait of the man and his mission, with photography by NMA winner Nigel Dickson. Read the story.

Greyson’s fellow inmates weren’t criminals, but construction workers, blacksmiths, professors and students, all rounded up at the protest and many in jail for the first time. Though some were grandfathers, he was the oldest person in the cell. They were, as Greyson recounts, unfailingly kind. Right after Greyson was beaten and couldn’t sit up, one man, whom he nicknamed Kettle after he somehow manufactured a crude teakettle out of a couple of nails and bottle caps and some wire, cradled Greyson’s head in his lap.

Bonus read: The Silver Medallist in Profiles is “The Long Journey of Nathan Phelps” (Marcello Di Cintio, Swerve), a portrait of the son of the controversial pastor of the Westboro Baptist Church who made a new life in Calgary.

 


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 magazine-awards.com/archive.

Stay tuned for another Summer Magazine Reading Series edition next Thursday. Click here for previous summer reading editions.

Summer Magazine Reading Series, No. 2: Alberta Bound, Alberta Bound

It’s good to be / Alberta Bound. Our summer reading series continues this week with a special focus on the Province of Alberta, land of “the strong and the free”; of turquoise mountain lakes, vast fertile prairies, and some of Canada’s finest magazines.

This past spring our friends at the Alberta Magazine Publishers Association (AMPA) presented the 2015 Alberta Magazine Awards, recognizing excellence in the content and design of publications based in the province. Among the winners were Alberta Views, Avenue, Glass Buffalo, New Trail, Swerve, Up! Magazine, and more.

You can read the complete articles of all finalists and winners on the AMPA site. A few suggestions:

Game Changer” by Arno Kopecky (Alberta Views)
Winner of the award for Best Alberta Story, this piece by former National Magazine Award finalist Arno Kopecky examines a legal action by the Beaver Lake Cree Nation against the Province of Alberta and the oil industry, exploring the potential of the lawsuit to challenge existing land-rights issues between First Nations and the energy industry.

Arno Kopecky is an environmental journalist and author based in Vancouver. His first book, The Devil’s Curve, a literary travelogue based on his year-long journey through Peru and Colombia, made Amazon’s top-100 list for 2012. His second book, The Oil Man And The Sea, chronicles Kopecky’s sailing expedition into British Columbia’s Great Bear Rainforest, a legendary wilderness with the knife of Big Oil at its throat.

Bonus read: The silver award in Best Alberta Story went to “The Future and the Hipster” (Swerve) by Jeremy Klaszus, former winner of the National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer (2006).

Children of a Lesser Santa” by Omar Mouallem (Swerve)
Winner of the award for Best Essay, this piece by former NMA winner Omar Mouallem is a witty and endearing chronicle of the first Christmas “celebrated” by a Muslim-Canadian family in northern Alberta.

“While most Canadian children probably encounter Santa Claus within the first year of their lives— at a parade, in a mall or in their living room—I was four. My mom, perhaps noticing my sense of exclusion, or to better integrate into her adopted country, took me to the town library where families lined up to snap a photo of their children in the jolly man’s lap. What could go wrong?”

Bonus read: In the AMA Profiles category, the gold award went Marcello di Cintio for “The Long Journey of Nathan Phelps” (Swerve), which later won the silver National Magazine Award in the same category.

A Tale of Two Forms” by Peter Takach (Glass Buffalo)
Winner of the  award for Emerging Writer, this creative and poignant homage to the Dickensian epic reflects on the transitional and perhaps ephemeral nature of the novel in the digital age. The award jury noted: “As though trapped in a wacky pinball machine, A Tale of Two Forms kept punting and zapping me back and forth with its fresh ideas, literary references, form and imagery. Peter Takach’s work underlines how important it is to sometimes suspend reason and just let the words wash over you.”

Bonus read: In the AMA Poetry category, the silver award went to Erika Luckert for her work “Frog Lake” in Glass Buffalo, which was also nominated for a National Magazine Award.

To read these and all of the finalists and winners from the 2015 Alberta Magazine Awards, visit albertamagazines.com/awards and click on the section for “2015 Showcase Awards Finalists.”

Related posts:
Avenue Edmonton, Swerve, Omar Mouallem among big winners at Alberta Magazine Awards
Off the Page: An interview with Arno Kopecky
Off the Page: An interview with Jeremy Klaszus


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 magazine-awards.com/archive.

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

Image via WikiCommons.

Summer Magazine Reading Series, No. 1: Teens, Tweens & Toddlers

This summer we’ve pledged to read every winning story from the 2015 National Magazine Awards. Every gold winner. Every silver winner. Because whether you’re a veteran journalist, an aspiring writer, an ardent magazine fan or a casual reader, these stories are important and inspiring.

So let’s take up the challenge together.

Welcome to the 2015 National Magazine Awards summer reading series. Each Thursday for the next two months we’ll post a thematically curated collection of award-winning stories, which were judged best of the best by the NMA jury.

This week’s edition: Teens, Tweens and Toddlers; three stories about the ever-changing world of kid culture and its challenges for parents. All three won Gold Medals at the 2015 National Magazine Awards.

For Kids, By Kids–But Not For Long

Category: Arts & Entertainment
Author: Nicholas Hune-Brown
Magazine: Hazlitt

In a poll conducted by Variety in August, the five most influential celebrities among Americans aged 13-18 were all YouTube stars.

Synopsis: There’s a vast, culturally significant and commercially powerful world out there that adults of the homo sapiens species barely know, probably can’t comprehend and aren’t encouraged to be a part of anyway. And by “out there” we mean the bandwidth-hogging tranche of cyberspace where teens and tweens create, populate and govern a thrilling and meaningful society of popular and celebrity culture in the authentic manner that has come to be a hallmark of the Millennial generation. While on the one hand another arena in a long tradition of safe, adult-free spaces where kids can be kids, the YouTube era has perhaps provided a revolutionary foundation for young people to connect with and celebrate their unique sense of self.

National Magazine Award winner Nicholas Hune-Brown reports from the Buffer Festival, where thousands of young fans and YouTube stars come together. Read the story.

“Celebrity is more like a faraway kind of thing and this is like, you’re in their bedrooms,” 17-year-old Allie Cox explained to me while we waited in line to meet three English YouTubers, including Will Darbyshire, a 21-year-old who just started his YouTube channel earlier this year. Cox considered for a moment. “I mean… that’s kind of freaky. But at the same time you feel like you know them.”

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Arts & Entertainment is Emily Landau‘s “The Wattpad Cult” (Toronto Life), the story of a tech start-up that is revolutionizing the relationship between self-publishers and readers.

Home and Really Far Away

Category: Sports & Recreation
Author: Dan Robson
Magazine: Sportsnet

He lasted just 10 minutes before tapping out, faking a leg injury. His feet were just too cold to play.

Synopsis: It’s a story that seems so quintessentially Canadian it could be a CBC morning-show spot or a Tim Horton’s commercial. But the story of how ten teenage Inuit boys from Whale Cove, Nunavut, became the Inuglak Whalers, dreaming big hockey dreams in a Hudson Bay hamlet, and then travelled more than 2400 kilometres to play their first away games, is far from saccharine. From their first encounter with trees (and tree-climbing) to the anxiety of a co-ed dance, and the coming-of-age realization that even when dreams come true, life unemotionally moves on from the moment, the boys of Whale Cove prove to be heroes not of myth but of modernity.

National Magazine Award winner Dan Robson charts a journey of hope, triumph and despair in this incredible story, with photographs by John Kealey. Read the story.

Tyson sat on the bench looking like he might cry. He’d scored a single goal—not enough to be a superstar. His favourite stick broke, and he was left using a spare. There was an undeniable anxiety that the Whalers just couldn’t match up with kids from northern Ontario. That for all the ceremony, the inevitable truth was that they were just too small and too unstructured to stand a chance.

Bonus read: The silver medallist in Sports & Recreation, Brett Popplewell’s “Long Way Back” (Sportsnet), profiles the career of Canadian jockey Ron Turcotte, winner of the Triple Crown astride Secretariat, the greatest racehorse in history.

Where Do We Put All the Babies?

Category: Service: Family, Health & Personal Finance
Author: Danielle Groen
Magazine: The Grid

Then the hour turns and the frenzy begins: a tornado of refreshed browsers, redialled numbers, and profanity.

Synopsis: Daycare, drop-in programs, preschools, summer camp: Toronto parents are desperate to find the best, most convenient, most affordable placements for their children, and every year it seems the lines are longer and the options are fewer. As more young working families and immigrants are drawn to an already crowded city that can’t seem to keep up with the demand for toddler care, parents and kids alike are growing restless.

National Magazine Award winner Danielle Groen talks with parents, investigates service providers and studies the trends in modern urban childrearing, providing hope and help to young parents as they navigate a complex environment. Read the story.

There has even been a run on that historic saviour of date nights: the teenage babysitter. Sara Ferguson, who lives at Danforth and Greenwood, called seven teens trying to find a Thursday sitter for her two children, to no avail. “It’s a good racket to be in right now,” she says, joking—at least, mostly joking—that she’s considered taking it up herself.

Bonus read: The silver medallist in this category, Dan Bortolotti’s “Train Your Investing Brain” (MoneySense), examines the cognitive biases that inhibit our ability to make sound financial decisions, and how we can overcome them.


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 magazine-awards.com/archive.

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

NMAF Vice-President, former Outstanding Achievement Award winner Terry Sellwood to retire from Cottage Life

Few individuals in our industry have done more for the success of the National Magazine Awards Foundation and Canadian magazine publishing in general than Terry Sellwood, whose retirement as president of Cottage Life Media has just been announced by Blue Ant Media, the ownership partner of Cottage Life.

“I am honoured to have spent the last 15 years of my career with this industry-leading media company and its incredibly talented team. As Cottage Life Media continues its evolution in this new era of publishing, I know they will continue to be a trailblazer in this space.”

Terry Sellwood joined the board of directors of the NMAF in 1996 and served for more than a decade, including a term as board president from 2002-2004, overseeing our 25th anniversary celebration. Last summer, Terry accepted an invitation to return to the NMAF as its board vice-president, where he has played a key role in guiding the Foundation toward a stronger future of recognizing and celebrating excellence in Canadian magazines.

In awarding him the Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement in 2010, the NMAF recognized Terry’s myriad contributions to the Canadian magazine industry as a publisher, circulator, mentor and volunteer. “No conversation about magazine publishing and its future,” Al Zikovitz remarked at the time, “is complete without Terry’s name arising.”

He has worked with—or for—most of Canada’s major publishing companies and was the Executive Vice-President of the largest Canadian magazine fulfillment company, INDAS (now CDS Global). Terry has held the position of chair for Circulation Management Association of Canada (CMC), Magazines Canada and the National Magazine Awards Foundation.

Toward the end of his tenure at Cottage Life, the magazine celebrated a memorable 25th anniversary in 2013 and capped a remarkable run of National Magazine Awards excellence–51 National Magazine Awards since its founding in 1988–by winning the award for Magazine of the Year in 2014.

Other Cottage Life Media titles over the years, including Outdoor Canada, explore and Canadian Home Workshop, have also enjoyed incredible success in part due to Terry’s leadership.

In announcing Terry’s retirement, effective August 2015, Blue Ant Media also announced that magazine editor Penny Caldwell has been promoted to the magazine’s publisher, and former executive editor Michelle Kelly will assume the role of editor.

Wishing you the very best, Terry! Thank you, on behalf of the NMAF and the Canadian magazine industry, for your unending support, enthusiasm and indelible cheerfulness. Meanwhile, we look forward to continuing to work with you at the NMAF.

Images via the NMAF and Terry Sellwood.