A Livelong author and journalist has been awarded second place in the 14th annual John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Awards.
Friendly Fire by Lisa Guenther was among the winners named by the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild recently.
First place winner was Regina writer Linda Biasotto for Sweet Life and the third place winner was Marlis Wesseler, also of Regina, for Pleasant Manor.
The awards will be officially presented at the John V. Hicks Dinner, which will be held on Saturday, Nov. 2 during the SWG's fall conference and annual general meeting in Regina. As part of the program, the three winners will read from their work.
"I'm very honoured to be one of the John V. Hicks award recipients this year. I'm looking forward to hearing the other two Hicks recipients, Linda Biasotto and Marlis Wesseler, read at the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild AGM this November. I know I'm in good company," said Guenther this week in reaction to her award.
Guenther is a freelance writer and a field editor for Grainews. Her work has also appeared in the News-Optimist/Regional Optimist.
"I owe a huge thank you to my mentor and editor, Edna Alford. She taught me that revising a novel can be just as interesting as writing the first draft. My husband also deserves a big thanks for supporting my writing binges and answering my questions about music, which is a big part of my novel," said Guenther.
Awards judge Christine Pountney, author, writer and teacher, has this to say about Guenther's book:
"Steeped in the culture and geography of rural Saskatchewan, this novel impressed us with how well the story is sustained, with a consistency and believability that novels require. The writer has a real authority over the material, and has created a very convincing portrait of a young woman in the novel's first person narrator. Beautiful passages of description make the physical world of the novel's setting come alive, the dialogue is strong and naturalistic, the unfolding of the plot is well paced and the development of character skillfully executed. The novel deals with its difficult emotional subject matter with real straightforward courage. You feel, in this book, that you are in the hands of someone who intimately knows the world they are describing, and has done so fearlessly and with passion."
Judge Trevor Cole, acclaimed author and journalist, said, "This is an intelligent, insightful work, providing a vivid and realistic depiction of a small, rural community. Characters and dialogue are believable and the story is involving."
Guenther has praise for her fellow Saskatchewan writers.
"Saskatchewan is home to many fine writers doing interesting, engaging work. I'm a big fan of many of them," said Guenther. "I'd encourage readers to look not only to the large publishers for their next read, but also to the smaller publishers based in Saskatchewan and neighboring provinces. They consistently publish good stuff, and a good deal of it by Saskatchewan authors."
Named in honour of the eminent Saskatchewan poet who died in 1999, the John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Awards recognize excellence in unpublished book-length manuscripts by Saskatchewan writers. They rotate between the genres of poetry, fiction, drama and literary non-fiction; this year fiction submissions were honoured.
The Saskatchewan Writers' Guild, founded in 1969, is a province-wide non-profit organization serving almost 600 member writers. The SWG works to create an environment in which writing and writers flourish, by fostering excellence in writing, by raising the public profile of writers and their work, and by making writers and their work accessible to all levels of education.