Off the Page, with Richard Kelly Kemick

Off the Page is a regular interview series featuring National Magazine Award winners. Recently we caught up with Richard Kelly Kemick, who was nominated for 2 National Magazine Awards in 2016–winning the Gold Medal in One of a Kind for his story “Playing God” (The Walrus), a reflection on his singular obsession with building Christmas villages. The story also won him a nomination for Canada’s Best New Magazine Writer.

NMAF: “Playing God,” your story that won Gold in the One of a Kind category at last year’s NMAs, was developed at the Banff Centre for Literary Journalism. Can you describe your experience there, and how this somewhat unconventional idea was developed into an award-winning magazine story. 

Richard: During my month at the Banff Centre––as every tagline on their website attests––I worked alongside some of the best editors and writers in the business (Ian Brown, Victor Dwyer, Charlotte Gill, to say nothing of the exceptional participants I was writing alongside). What I wasn’t expecting, however, was how affirming it would be for me as a writer. 

As I’m sure we all do, I wrestle a lot with insecurity and mediocrity. Banff’s LJ program placed me an environment where I had a month to only write, read, and sit in Michael Lista’s room to watch The Bachelor (he forced us to watch, like, every episode with him). It was an environment which told me––day after day for a month––that as long as I’m writing, I am a writer.

Anytime I get an opportunity to work with an editor, it’s an absolute privilege. The “Playing God” piece was edited, edited, kicked around, and edited again. And while I came to develop a profound hate for the Track Changes bubbles on a word document, my editor, Victor, took the piece from the ramblings of a limp-wristed despot into something with form, narrative, and an actual arc. 

NMAF: More recently, your debut collection of poetry, Caribou Run was included in this year’s CBC must-read poetry list. How is recognition — from the NMAF and other organizations — significant to you and your work? 

Richard: The CBC list was bizarre. I had no warning; I received an email from my publisher with the link and a note saying “this better translate into book sales” (just kidding, they’re incredibly supportive). It was a very rewarding surprise, just like the NMA. 

These types of recognition are indeed significant. So much of what we do as writers is sit at a desk and clack away in an isolation the rest of the world would refer to as cruel and unusual punishment. (If you’re lucky, you’ll have a dog to aid you through this.) Any recognition that someone has actually read your work and––god forbid––actually enjoyed it is inexpressibly quenching. 

On the other hand, however, I don’t want to think that recognition objectively signifies quality. There were poetry collections which were far stronger than mine but not included on the CBC list. Same goes for the NMA. A writer once told me that saying you “deserved” to win an award is like saying you “deserved” to win the lottery because you played the numbers well. (That writer was Michael Lista and it was on a commercial break of The Bachelor.)  

Rewards are fantastic; anybody who says otherwise is either lying or Buddha. But it’s boom/bust. I was on the boom for a bit. Now is the bust. And I’m finding it hard not to become petty, jealous, and focused on recognition instead of the writing. But I’m trying to work against that, work through it. Because I think there is a name for writers, and the writing they produce, who are like that: fucked.  

NMAF: Robert Moore, English professor at the University of New Brunswick, recently wrote a piece for The Walrus questioning the future of poetry as an art form. In Adam Kirsch’s review of The Hatred of Poetry by Ben Lerner, he claims poetry is “the site and source of disappointed hope.” He adds acclaimed poet Marianne Moore’s famous line “I, too, dislike it,” in reference to the craft. You’ve just published your first collection. What inspires you to write poetry? 

Richard: As a poet, the perpetual death of poetry is my favourite topic. Yes, poetry now panhandles in the literary ghetto––neighbouring junk mail and the academic essay. Yes, poems gather more dust than acclaim. Yes, when I write “Poet” on credit card applications I all but assure rejection. 

I think, however, that this apocalyptic setting is what enables Canadian poetry to be so exciting right now. We have an environment which produces writing, not writers. The pinnacle of this is when writers have brilliant collections (Michael Prior’s Model Disciple, anyone?) without floating off into the ether of poisonous pomp. Because the stakes are hedged, there is a democratizing force in contemporary Canadian poetry, a force which I’m not sure exists in any other commercial genre, a force in which free-verse upstarts and seasoned sonneteers are working within the same circles. Yes, there are politics within the CanPoetry community––just like anywhere. But at least we have the decency to wage our wars in divisive Facebook threads, rather than at the Giller’s or, for example, in a wildly offensive open letter. 

I started writing poetry (and still do) because I wanted to be a better writer. Poetry––for my money––is the genre that best develops your craft. The attention to language is merciless, and if you can make fourteen lines of ten syllables each tell a story, think of what you can do with some elbow room!

Richard Kelly Kemick accepts the award for One of a Kind at the 2016 National Magazine Awards gala.
Richard Kelly Kemick accepts the award for One of a Kind at the 2016 National Magazine Awards gala.

NMAF: Much of your work centres around animals. How does your love for animals influence your writing, and what inspired the theme of caribou migration in your latest collection? 

Richard: I write about animals because I’m unable to convey actual human emotion. Animals provide a healthy alternative. Like, if you’ve got a character that is unlovable but you want to make him lovable but you don’t know how–give him a dog. Then name that dog Maisy. Then let Maisy fool a woman, preferably a public school teacher because of the job security, into a long-term relationship. Then feel safe and loved and statistically unlikely to now die alone as you work on your poems all day, drinking coffee from small cups as your wife toils in a grade one classroom, with Maisy curled at your feet.

The caribou idea was just that I thought the migration was pretty rad and already had poetic elements within it. Four years later (which is about a third of a male caribou’s life), a book! Aim for the stars, kids. 

NMAF: Your writing ranges from fiction to nonfiction, poetry to prose — do you have a favourite form? And, if you can tell us, what can we expect to see from you next?

Richard: I don’t have a favourite form. I consider forms like my children: they all disappoint me for different reasons. 

I’ve currently got a collection of non-fiction essays (one of which is the piece that won the NMA) under consideration. I’ve also got a collection of short stories that was turned down for publication, but I’ve since been working on it and hope to submit again soon. 

I’m trying to view rejection as an opportunity for me to make the work better. In five, twenty, or a hundred years (I plan to live forever), I know I won’t mind having been delayed in publishing a collection of short stories, but I will mind if those stories are shitty. I’m not saying that every rejection a publisher makes is sound; but in this individual case, the rejection has given me the clarity to realize that I can make the stories stronger and (after I’d cried myself dry and drank myself wet) I’m trying to do that. 


Richard Kelly Kemick is a National Magazine Award-winning writer whose work has been published in The Walrus, The Fiddlehead, Maisonneuve and Tin House. His debut collection of poetry, Caribou Run, (2016, Goose Lane Editions) follows the Porcupine caribou herd through their annual migration, the largest overland migration in the world. Caribou Run was included as a one of CBC’s fifteen must-read poetry collections. Follow him on Twitter @RichardKemick.

Special thanks to Krista Robinson for her reporting on this interview with Richard.

Check out more Off the Page interviews with National Magazine Award-winning writers like Emily Urquhart, J.B. MacKinnon, Heather O’Neill and more.


The 40th anniversary National Magazine Awards are now accepting submissions for the best work in 2016. Deadline for entries: January 20. Submit now.

Announcing the Winners of the 39th National Magazine Awards

It was a night to remember! The NMAF has announced the winners of the 39th annual National Magazine Awards, concluding an exciting evening celebrating Canadian creators at the Arcadian Court in Toronto–hosted by author Chris Turner–with more than 400 of Canada’s best writers, artists, editors, art directors, publishers and others in attendance. The NMAF presented Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards in 39 categories. More than $50,000 in cash prizes has been awarded to Canadian creators.

La version française: magazine-prix.com
Press release: English | Français
Complete list [pdf] of all winners
Twitter highlights: @MagAwards | #NMA16
The Judges
Award Seals
Read the complete articles of all nominees and winners

SPECIAL AWARDS

Magazine of the Year

Maisonneuve

Jennifer Varkonyi, Publisher
Haley Cullingham, Daniel Viola, Editors
Anna Minzhulina, Art Director
Published by Maisonneuve Magazine Association

Maisonneuve fulfills its bold mandate of “banishing boring,” clearly striving to engage, inform and inspire. From its refreshing and imaginative art direction to its passionate editorial voice, the magazine feels like its constantly evolving, yet at the same time seems to connect with a sense of familiarity with its readers.
National Magazine Awards jury


Best Magazine Brand
Ricardo


Best New Magazine Writer
Sponsored by Reader’s Digest Foundation
Desmond Cole
The Skin I’m In
Toronto Life


Best New Magazine Photographer
Marta Iwanek
The Maidan
Maisonneuve


Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement
Kim Pittaway

Renowned journalist, editor, teacher and mentor Kim Pittaway is the recipient of the 2016 Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, recognizing career excellence and service to the Canadian magazine industry. For her enduring dedication to the Canadian magazine industry, for the principled leadership and mentorship that has impacted the careers of many, and for her unfailing support of magazine creators, the NMAF is proud to recognize Kim Pittaway with its highest individual honour.


AWARDS TABLE


INTEGRATED AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Best Single Issue
Sponsored by Rolland Enterprises, Inc

Sportsnet

John Intini, Editor
Brianne Collins, Art Director
What it’s like to be Connor McDavid right now
Sportsnet


 Best Magazine Cover
Sponsored by Ontario Media Development Corporation
Stephen Gregory, Art Director
Mark Stevenson, Editor
Hurry Up and Die, Already
Maclean’s


  Words & Pictures
Sponsored by CDS Global
Our Ever-Changing Moods
The Walrus
Jillian Tamaki
, Author & Illustrator
Jonathan Kay
, Editor
Brian Morgan
, Art Director


Single Service Article Package
VÉGÉ Inspiré
Ricardo
Brigitte Coutu, Editor
Caroline Blanchette, Art Director
Mélanie Roy, Émilie Folie-Boivin, Sarah Lalanne, Authors
David de Stefano, Photographer
Caroline Nault, Heidi Bronstein, Contributors


Infographics
David Chau, Creator
Craig Battle, Editor
GR!#K
Sportsnet


“The most important mission of the National Magazine Awards is to celebrate Canadian creators. And tonight we have reached a new milestone in recognizing and rewarding excellence to more than 300 nominees and 70 gold and silver winners at the 39th annual NMA gala. The National Magazine Awards are one of Canada’s most important cultural institutions, and even as we celebrate our 39th year we are looking forward to our 40th anniversary and beyond.”
Joyce Byrne, president of the NMAF


WRITING AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Arts & Entertainment
Drew Nelles
Howl
The Walrus

Best Short Feature
Hon Lu
Spirited Away
Toronto Life

Business
Valérie Borde
Le virage vert de la Chine
L’actualité

Columns
Sponsored by Impresa Communications Ltd.
Anne Kingston
Thank you, Margaret Wente, for exposing rape culture
Maclean’s

Editorial Package
Maclean’s Staff
The Space Issue
Maclean’s

Essays
Lisa Gregoire
Breathing Holes
Eighteen Bridges

Fiction
Presented by Ontario Arts Council
Russell Smith
Raccoons
CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries

Health & Medicine
Alison Motluk
Worth the Risk
Maisonneuve

Humour
Jacob Pacey
Your Daily Life As A Failing Comedian
The Feathertale Review

Investigative Reporting
Virgil Grandfield
The Cage
Eighteen Bridges

One of a Kind
Richard Kelly Kemick
Playing God
The Walrus

Personal Journalism
Sasha Chapin
Dreams Are Boring
Hazlitt

Poetry
David McGimpsey
The High Road
Vallum

Politics & Public Interest
Alec Castonguay
Les partis politiques vous espionnent
L’actualité

Profiles
Marci McDonald
The Fixer
Toronto Life

Science, Technology & Environment
Philip Preville
It’s A Hard Knock Life
Cottage Life

Service: Family, Health & Personal Finance
Sarah Liss
The Shame Game
Chatelaine

Service: Lifestyle
Andrew Braithwaite
Canada’s Best New Restaurants 2015
Air Canada enRoute

Society
Carissa Halton
A Different Kind of Simakanis
Eighteen Bridges

Sports & Recreation
Jonathan Trudel
Laurent chez les grands
L’actualité

Travel
Isabelle Grégoire
Le vrai train du nord
L’actualité



VISUAL AWARDS – GOLD WINNERS

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Sponsored by TC Transcontinental Printing
Domenic Macri
Fallout
Report on Business


Art Direction of a Single Article
Sponsored by The Office of Gilbert Li
Marcey Andrews
The Future of Everything
New Trail


Fashion
For my 10th birthday…
ELLE Canada
Owen Bruce
, Photographer
Brittany Eccles
, Art Director
Juliana Schiavinatto
, Stylist
Contributors: Denis Desro, Liisa Winkler, Stella Winkler, Juliann H, Hannah D, Sam F, Judith Maria Bradley, Susana Hong, Simone Otis, Suzanne Campos


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


Illustration
Sponsored by Very Good Studios
Adrian Forrow
My Prescribed Life
The Walrus


Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Sponsored by CNW Group
Marta Iwanek
The Maidan
Maisonneuve


Portrait Photography

Raina + Wilson
Future Perfect
Globe Style Advisor


Spot Illustration
Jay Dart
The Things He Carried
Globe Style Advisor


Still-Life Photography
Hudson Hayden
Butcher Crop
Globe Style Advisor


To view the complete list of Gold and Silver winners and Honourable Mentions, visit magazine-awards.com/39winners


ABOUT THE 39th ANNUAL NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS
More than 400 members of the Canadian magazine industry—publishers, editors, art directors, writers, photographers, illustrators, circulators and more—joined esteemed sponsors and other guests at the Arcadian Court for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala, presented by CDS Global.

Special guests were in abundance at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards. Minister of Canadian Heritage Mélanie Joly delivered a tribute via video to the evening’s nominees and winners, acknowledging the important role of Canadian magazine creators in nurturing Canadian culture. Member of Parliament Adam Vaughan of Toronto attended and delivered a welcome message to the guests, celebrating the nominees in attendance. And Member of Parliament and Green Party Leader Elizabeth May, radio host Gillian Deacon and Calgary Mayor Naheed Nenshi each delivered messages via video congratulating the nominees and winners.

The NMAF was also honoured to welcome Carolyn Vesely of Ontario Arts Council, who presented the award for Fiction; Matt Hilliard-Forde of the Ontario Media Development Corporation, who presented the award for Magazine Covers; Natalie Turvey of the Canadian Journalism Foundation, who presented the award for Investigative Reporting; Karen Luttrell of the Professional Writers Association of Canada, who presented the award for Society; and Derek Finkle of the Canadian Writers Group, who presented the award for One of a Kind.

This year, 184 Canadian magazines from coast to coast to coast—English and French, print and digital—entered the best of their editorial and design to the National Magazine Awards, submitting the work of more than 3000 writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, art directors and other creators. The NMAF’s 232 volunteer judges nominated a total of 309 submissions from 84 different Canadian magazines for awards in 39 written, visual, integrated and special categories. A record 12 magazines were nominated for the first time. More than $50,000 in cash prizes has been awarded to Canadian creators.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The NMAF gratefully acknowledges the support its sponsors, partners and suppliers.

 

THANK YOU CHRIS TURNER!
The NMAF (and all guests of the National Magazine Awards) are grateful to Chris Turner for his wonderful performance tonight as host of the 39th National Magazine Awards!

Chris Turner is the author of five books and one of Canada’s leading writers and speakers on energy and sustainability. His bestsellers The Leap and The Geography of Hope were both National Business Book Award finalists. His most recent book is How to Breathe Underwater, an essay collection, which won the W.O. Mitchell City of Calgary Book Prize. His feature writing has won nine National Magazine Awards.

PHOTOS, VIDEOS, INTERVIEW & MORE
Check back next week for photos, videos and more from the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala.

ABOUT THE NATIONAL MAGAZINE AWARDS FOUNDATION
The National Magazine Awards Foundation is a bilingual, not-for-profit institution whose mission is to foster, recognize and promote editorial excellence in Canadian publications. The annual awards are presented in June and are followed by a year-long national publicity effort and professional development opportunities. Our mandate is to support Canadian creators. Since 1977, the NMAF has helped build and sustain the careers of thousands of creators—the writers, editors, creative directors and visual artists who contribute to the vast ecosystem of Canadian culture. On June 9, the NMAF presented the first annual Digital Publishing Awards recognizing excellence in Canadian digital publications. Discover more at magazine-awards.com.

See you next year!

Top 10 Canadian Poets | NMA 2016 Nominees in Poetry

In 1977 the very first National Magazine Award for Poetry was presented to a young poet named Marilyn Bowering, for a poem called “Rose Harbour Whaling, 1910.” The poem was published in a magazine called Branching Out, which was a feminist literary magazine founded in 1973 in Edmonton. Marilyn Bowering has gone on to become one of Canada’s most beloved poets and playwrights, and while Branching Out lasted only 7 years in publication, it remains part of a great tradition of Canadian literary magazines.

This year the National Magazine Awards jury has selected 10 finalists for the Poetry Award, from among entries in dozens of literary magazines from across the country. The Gold and Silver winners will be revealed at the National Magazine Awards gala on June 10 in Toronto. [Tickets & Gala Info].

Vote for Canada’s Best Magazine Cover

Here are the nominated writers and magazines for this year’s National Magazine Award for Poetry…


Leanne Simpson
Caribou Ghosts & Untold Stories; This Accident of Being Lost; To Be a Witness
Arc


Roxanna Bennett
Ghost Dog
Arc


Rachel Rose
Corona for Charlotte; Good Measure; Sunflowers
The Fiddlehead


Gary Barwin
Winter
Hazlitt


Harold Hoefle
A Loving Follow-Through
Prairie Fire


Vincent Pagé
Why Don’t I
PRISM International


Shazia Hafiz Ramji
The Second Person
Sub-Terrain


Michael Prior
Murmuration; Fathom; Hibernal Country
The New Quarterly


Julie Bruck
Supreme Leader; Flipped; Let Evening Come
The Rusty Toque


David McGimpsey
The High Road
Vallum


Who do you think is most worthy of this award? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA16.

Tickets are on sale for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala, Friday June 10 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

Vote for Canada’s Best Magazine Cover

See the National Magazine Awards nominees for:
Fashion
Best Magazine Brand
Best New Magazine Writer
Best New Magazine Photographer
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Fiction
Single Service Article Package
Illustration

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Art Direction of a Single Article
Portrait Photography
Words & Pictures
Best Single Issue
Magazine Covers
Columns

Complete nominations coverage

See also:
A Writer’s Guide to Canadian Literary Magazines

Best Canadian Magazine Columnists | NMA 2016 Nominees

On June 10th Canada’s magazine publishers and creators from across the land will come together to acknowledge creative excellence at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards. One of the awards to be presented on June 10th in Toronto is the award for Best Column, sponsored by Impresa Communications.

[Tickets & Gala Info]

This year’s National Magazine Awards jury selected ten finalists for Best Column, and the nominees are…


Rachel Giese
My son is getting the HPV vaccine—and so should yours
Chatelaine

 

Louise Gendron
Lâchée lousse
Châtelaine

Nicholas Hune-Brown
Studies Show
Hazlitt

Pierre Fortin
Économie
L’actualité

Anne Kingston
Thank you, Margaret Wente, for exposing rape culture
Maclean’s

Emma Teitel
Passive, aggressive and pissed off: Our culture of perpetual outrage
Maclean’s

Paul Wells
How Stephen Harper forgot his own lesson
Maclean’s

Eric Reguly
Mind the Gap
Report on Business

Nicholas Hune-Brown
The Reluctant Fanatic
Sharp

Mark Pupo
Food & Drink
Toronto Life


Who do you think is most worthy of this award? Leave us a comment or tell us on Twitter: @MagAwards | #NMA16.

Tickets are on sale for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala, Friday June 10 at the Arcadian Court in Toronto.

Vote for Canada’s Best Magazine Cover

See the National Magazine Awards nominees for:
Fashion
Best Magazine Brand
Best New Magazine Writer
Best New Magazine Photographer
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Fiction
Single Service Article Package
Illustration

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Art Direction of a Single Article
Portrait Photography
Words & Pictures
Best Single Issue
Magazine Covers

Complete nominations coverage

Best Short Fiction in Canadian Magazines | NMA 2016 Nominees

On June 10th hundreds of Canada’s top writers, artists, editors, designers and other creators will come together to acknowledge creative excellence at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards. One of the awards to be presented that evening in Toronto is the award for Fiction, presented by the Ontario Arts Council.

[Tickets & Gala Info]

This year’s ten nominated writers and magazines represent the diversity of literary magazine publishing in Canada. Take the time to read them all–they are the best of the best in Canadian short fiction writing published in 2015. Gold and Silver medals will be presented at the ceremony on June 10th.


Geneviève Pettersen
La reine de rien
Châtelaine


Russell Smith
Raccoons
CNQ: Canadian Notes & Queries


Trevor Corkum
Dar a Luz
Event


Cary Fagan
My Father’s Picasso
Geist


Jess Taylor
Breakfast Curry
Little Brother


Monica Pacheco
The River Phoenix Social Club
Room


Zsuzsi Gartner
The Beguiling
Sub-Terrain


Andrew MacDonald
Progress on a Genetic Level
Taddle Creek


Elisabeth Harvor
Ice Woman
The New Quarterly


Alex Pugsley
Changeling Girl
The Walrus


Congratulations to our finalists in Fiction. Tweet us your comments @MagAwards | #NMA16

The Gold and Silver medal winners will be revealed at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala on June 10. Tickets

Meet the National Magazine Awards nominees for:
Best New Magazine Writer
Best New Magazine Photographer
Photojournalism & Photo Essay
Single Service Article Package
Illustration

Art Direction of an Entire Issue
Portrait Photography
Words & Pictures

Complete nominations coverage

Announcing the nominees for the 39th annual National Magazine Awards

The National Magazine Awards Foundation (NMAF) is honoured to announce the finalists for 39th annual National Magazine Awards, recognizing excellence in Canadian magazines for 2015.

Version française
Complete list of nominees [pdf]

Gala info & tickets
Nominees press release [pdf]

This year, 184 Canadian magazines from coast to coast to coast—English and French, print and digital—entered the best of their editorial and design to the National Magazine Awards, submitting the work of more than 3000 writers, editors, photographers, illustrators, art directors and other creators. The NMAF’s 232 volunteer judges have nominated a total of 310 submissions from 84 different Canadian magazines for awards in 39 written, visual, integrated and special categories. A record 12 magazines have been nominated for the first time.

Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards will be announced at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on June 10, at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala presented by CDS Global. More than $50,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to Canadian creators. Tickets are on sale at magazine-awards.com.

And the nominees are…

MAGAZINE OF THE YEAR

 

TOP NOMINATED MAGAZINES

FIRST-TIME NOMINEES
Magazines nominated for their first National Magazine Awards include 1968 Magazine, Buzzfeed Canada, Caribou, Chloe Magazine, DTK Men, Hakai Magazine, Humber Literary Review, One Throne, Oxygène, Reel West, The Rusty Toque, and SAD Mag.

TOP NOMINEES
Writer Nicholas Hune-Brown leads all individuals with 5 nominations for his work published in Hazlitt, Reader’s Digest, Sharp and Toronto Life. Valérie Borde (L’actualité), Desmond Cole (Toronto Life) and Emily Landau (Toronto Life, The Walrus) are each nominated 4 times for 4 different stories. Alec Castonguay (L’actualité) and Charles Wilkins (Outdoor Canada, Report on Business) earned 3 nominations each.

View the complete list of nominees [pdf].

 

BEST MAGAZINE BRAND

 

BEST NEW MAGAZINE WRITER
Sponsored by Reader’s Digest Foundation

Richard Kelly Kemick
Playing God
The Walrus
Also nominated in the category One of a Kind

Desmond Cole
The Skin I’m In
Toronto Life
Also nominated in the categories
Essays, Personal Journalism, and Politics & Public Interest

Karen Ho
A Daughter’s Revenge
Toronto Life
Also nominated in the category One of a Kind

Kat Shermack
The Tenant from Hell
Toronto Life
Also nominated in the category Investigative Reporting

 

BEST NEW MAGAZINE PHOTOGRAPHER

Ted Belton
Fringe & Fluff
FILLER Magazine

Marta Iwanek
The Maidan
Maisonneuve
Also nominated in the category Photojournalism & Photo Essay

Luis Mora
The Sex Ed Revolution
Toronto Life

Hannah Eden
Face Time
Up Here

 

FOUNDATION AWARD FOR OUTSTANDING ACHIEVEMENT
Announced on April 28th, this year’s recipient of the NMAF Foundation Award for Outstanding Achievement, renowned journalist, editor, teacher and mentor Kim Pittaway. A writer, editor, teacher and mentor with more than 25 years’ experience in Canadian magazines, former editor-in-chief of Chatelaine and an eight-time National Magazine Award nominee, Kim has touched the lives of many in our industry with her generosity, wisdom and skill.

Read more about Kim Pittaway and the Outstanding Achievement Award.

 

BEST MAGAZINE COVER
Sponsored by Ontario Media Development Corporation

 

BEST SINGLE ISSUE
Sponsored by Rolland Enterprises

 

ART DIRECTION OF AN ENTIRE ISSUE
Sponsored by Transcontinental Printing

 

COMPLETE LIST OF NOMINEES
View and download the complete list of nominees [pdf] in all 39 written, visual, integrated and special categories.

CREDIT CHANGES
Email staff@magazine-awards.com to make any credit changes to your nomination. The deadline for credit changes is Monday May 9.

TWITTER
Follow the buzz on our Twitter feed (@MagAwards) and use the hashtag #NMA16 to keep up with the conversation about this year’s National Magazine Awards.

GALA TICKETS
The Gold, Silver and Honourable Mention awards will be announced at the Arcadian Court in Toronto on June 10, at the 39th annual National Magazine Awards gala presented by CDS Global. More than $50,000 in cash prizes will be awarded to Canadian creators. Tickets are on sale now.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies will be announced next week.

ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS
The NMAF gratefully acknowledges the support of the Government of Canada, the Ontario Arts Council, and the Ontario Media Development Corporation. The NMAF would like to thank its sponsors including Air Canada MediaCDS GlobalCNW GroupImpresa CommunicationsVery Good StudiosO&B Events and CateringThe Office of Gilbert LiRolland Enterprises Inc., Reader’s Digest FoundationRedPoint Media Transcontinental Printing, and Yellowhouse Agency.

The NMAF 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.

For sponsorship enquiries please contact NMAF Managing Director Barbara Gould at staff@magazine-awards.com.

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 magazine-awards.com/archive.

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

Moose photos by Richard A. Johnson.