Raddall Fiction Prize increased to $20,000

Atlantic Canada’s richest literary prize just got richer.

At a ceremony honoring the 20th anniversary of the award this Thursday at White Point Beach Resort, award benefactor Tom Raddall II announced that the $15,000 award would increase to $20,000 beginning next year.

The Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize was established by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and the Writers’ Trust of Canada in 1990. The initial prize of $1,000 was increased in value to $2,000 in 1992 by anonymous contributions from the author, which began the establishment of an endowment for the prize.  The continued vision of the Raddall family has seen this endowment grow to the significant figure it has reached today, intended to provide a writer with the financial leeway necessary for an extended period of creation. The award recognizes the best work of fiction written by a native or resident Atlantic Canadian, published in the previous calendar year.

In his long journey from pioneer to patriarch of Canadian literature, Thomas Head Raddall spent much of his married life in a sound-proof room labouring to perfect his craft.  “I had to shut myself off,” he explained, “literally shut myself off.  I built a study…and I would shut myself in there and live the lives of the people in my books.” It is this extraordinary gift of time that Raddall and his son Tom have given, in perpetuity, to the next generation of writers. Previous winners of the Raddall include Douglas Arthur Brown, Don Hannah, Linda Little, Donna Morrissey, Kenneth J. Harvey, Carol Bruneau, Alistair MacLeod, Wayne Johnston,  and David Adams Richards.

The 20th anniversary of the award was celebrated with readings by shortlisted writers Michael Crummey (nominated for Galore, Doubleday Canada) and Linden MacInyre (The Bishop’s Man, Random House Canada), and this year’s recipient of the award, Shandi Mitchell (Under This Unbroken Sky, Penguin)

For more information, contact the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia at talk@writers.ns.ca/902-423-8116.

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