The nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards have been announced, and we are excited to welcome Canada’s best writers, artists, editors, art directors, and more to the gala on May 26. [Tickets]
Among the most coveted and special of the National Magazine Awards is Best New Magazine Writer. Each year our judges are tasked with choosing from an astounding array of passionate and intelligent creators carving their way into a rewarding career. The winner will be announced on May 26 receives a cash prize of $1000.
We are proud to continue recognizing excellence by Canadian magazine writers. Here are the nominees for Best New Magazine Writer:
The Questionable Science of Vancouver’s Port Expansion
The Western Sandpiper migrates thousands of kilometres each year, from the Arctic to Mexico, stopping on its northward journey to feed on biofilm at Roberts Bank—an area of Vancouver’s Deltaport. Unfortunately for the small snowbirds, the port is prime real estate for developers and a proposed expansion could prove catastrophic for their survival. It would also make the port one of the busiest shipping container hubs in North America. Hakai’s Amorina Kingdon digs past the politics and gets into the science behind the move that could have “species-level consequences.”
Biologist Robert Elner, scientist emeritus at Environment and Climate Change Canada, remarked by email to Kingdon: “you have penned an accurate, important, and powerful interpretation of a complex saga and set a new benchmark.”
— Jude Isabella, editor-in-chief of Hakai Magazine
Amorina Kingdon has worked as the associate editor at Hakai since its inception in early 2015. Prior to her relocation to the West Coast, she studied biology and journalism at Concordia, and worked as a science writer and media officer in Ottawa, Toronto and Montreal.
Eternity Martis knows that the history of black people in Canada isn’t being taught in Ontario public schools. Even when it is mentioned, the focus is on important American figures— as black history tends to be excluded from Canadian History, and teachers naturally struggle to implement curricula they were seldom taught. So what happens when the descendants running these sites die or retire? Martis, through an enormous amount of research, is able to contextualize the importance of saving these historical sites and keeping their legacy alive.
At a time when journalists are more important than ever, Martis is creating work that Canadians need: urgent, well-crafted, rigorous journalism about the issues that matter most.
— Haley Cullingham, Hazlitt senior editor
Eternity Martis studied journalism at Ryerson University and Women’s Studies and Literature at Western in London, Ont. Including freelancing for Hazlitt, Martis has contributed to many Canadian publications including Vice, Huffington Post, and The Fader. Last year she worked as a multimedia editor at The Ryerson Review, and she is currently an associate editor at Daily Xtra in Toronto.
Yearning to Learn Ojibwe
Kyle Edwards is a 22-year old Anishinaabe from Lake Manitoba First Nation. Though he grew up on his grandparent’s reserve, Edwards never learned to speak Ojibwe, his family’s native language. In his first Maclean’s feature, he chronicles an excursion to Kenjgewin Teg Educational Institute where he attended an Ojibwe immersion class. Readers are fortunate to get an intimate glimpse into the writer’s struggle with his sense of identity. Now, along with bringing awareness to Indigenous issues in Canada through storytelling, Kyle is working to implement Aboriginal language curriculum into post-secondary institutions— all the while endeavouring to learn his language.
“Yearning to Learn Ojibwe” is an important story—fusing the alarm of losing Indigenous languages altogether with a personal struggle to learn one Indigenous language and keep it alive—that needs to be told and read.
— Bill Reynolds, Ryerson University School of Journalism
Sharon J. Riley
Terry Keogh and his family were forced to flee their dream home in Rock Creek B.C. as precarious flames flared in the near distance. This is where Riley began her investigation; seeking an explanation to the thousands of fires that rage through the country’s forests each year—a number that’s nearly double the ten-year average. The B.C. government claims that the vast majority of forest fires are put out within a 24-hour period, but as Riley reports, it might be that rigorousness that’s causing them in the first place.
Sharon J. Riley brings panache and lyricism to a timely, necessary story… “Burning Bush” combines in-depth interviews and investigative research with fine, elegant writing. In other words, it is the epitome of what readers want from a long-form feature story.
— Andrea Bennett, Maisonneuve editor-in-chief
Sharon J. Riley grew up on a goat farm in rural Alberta. When she’s not freelance researching, writing or fact-checking, you can find her guiding hikers through the Canadian rockies. Along with contributing to Harper’s Weekly Review, Riley has written for Vice, The Walrus, and The Tyee. “Burning Bush” was her first piece for Maisonneuve, Canada’s 2016 Magazine of the Year.
Ryerson Review of Journalism
The Press Gallery journalists at Parliament Hill got an unexpected visitor when Viviane Fairbank began her coverage. After reading about a parliamentary journalist accepting a sum of money from a senator for “ridding [his] Wikipedia page of the work of rancorous internet trolls,” Fairbank turned her hunch into a long-form feature on the unruly culture of Ottawa’s Parliamentary Press Gallery. “It’s a culture of hardworking journalists,” she writes in “Hot Mess,” “but, for some, it’s also one of ethical atrophy and notorious infighting.”
The fact that a couple of freelance journalists warned her to “lawyer up” is a testament to her honesty and bravery in reporting the story. (And no, they didn’t sue.)
— Bill Reynolds, Ryerson University School of Journalism
Viviane Fairbank is a fact-checker, writer, and editor, currently working as an assistant editor at The Walrus. She has a bachelor of journalism from Ryerson University, and served as senior editor at the Ryerson Review of Journalism. She has also worked for Harper’s, NPR, Toronto Life, Smithsonian and Today’s Parent.
The winner of the National Magazine Award for Best New Magazine Writer will be announced on May 26 at the 40th anniversary NMA Gala in Toronto. The award includes a cash prize of $1000.
Tickets are on sale now.
Check out all the nominees for the 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards.