This category came to life when I was looking over the books I read in 2018 and realized how many were written by people I knew in real life. Having done a Writing degree and worked in the book industry I’ve worked, learned, and been taught by some fantastic writers. I did not include writers who I’ve simply met at readings or literary festivals (and so disqualified Richard Wagamese and Michael Ondaatje) but these are writers I’ve had actual conversations with.
Mysterious Fragrance of the Yellow Mountains – Yasuko Thanh (Hamish Hamilton, 2016)
A Mariner’s Guide to Self-Sabotage – Bill Gaston (Douglas & McIntyre, 2017)
And The Winner:
It’s a tie!
Washington Black – Esi Edugyan (Patrick Crean Editions, 2018)
Our Animal Hearts – Dania Tomlinson (Anchor Books Canada, 2018)
This was a tough one. These are both beautifully written and compelling books from kind, thoughtful, and smart women. Washington Black has received a lot of well-deserved publicity and it was one of the best books I read this year. Our Animal Hearts is Tomlinson’s first book and I bought it from a sense of curiosity and a desire to support a former co-worker. I was really blown away by the book’s history and imagination and am pleased to see it receive some recognition.