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For Immediate Release
May 17, 2005

Canadian Library Association Announces 2005 Young Adult Canadian Book Award Winner & Honour Books

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews

Ottawa, Ontario ~ The Young Adult Services Interest Group of the Canadian Library Association is pleased to announce the 2005 Young Adult Canadian Book Award winner and honour books.

A Complicated Kindness by Miriam Toews, published by Alfred A. Knopf Canada, is the winner. The Beckoners by Carrie Mac (Orca) and Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (HarperCollins) are the honour books.

Nomi Nickel of A Complicated Kindness lives in East Village, a small Mennonite town in southern Manitoba as different from New York City's East Village as possible, but longs for Lou Reed and CBGB's. Left alone with her father and trying to solve the riddle of the disappearance of her sister and mother, Nomi offers us Holden Caufield-style commentary on her life among the Mennonites, "the most embarrassing sub-sect of people to belong to if you're a teenager," that's laugh-out-loud funny one moment and heartbreaking the next.

Committee members praised this complicated novel's authentic teen voice and its humour, honesty, and compassion.

Miriam Toews was born in 1964 in Steinbach, Manitoba, a small Mennonite town. Her first novel, Summer of My Amazing Luck, was nominated for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal and won the John Hirsch Award. A Boy of Good Breeding, her second novel, was the winner of the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award, and her work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life, won the McNally Robinson Book of the Year Award and the Alexander Kennedy Isbister Award for Non-Fiction. Toews has written for the CBC, This American Life (on National Public Radio), Saturday Night, Geist, Canadian Geographic, Open Letters and The New York Times Magazine, and has won the National Magazine Award Gold Medal for Humour. She lives in Winnipeg.

A Complicated Kindness was a Giller Prize finalist and has received many literary awards, including the Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction, the McNally Robinson Book of the year Award, the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, and the Young Minds Award (UK).

The Beckoners is a chilling story of bullying and intimidation with a nasty girl-gang at its centre. When Zoe finds herself at a new school in a new town and becomes a member of a gang, the Beckoners, simply by trying to fit in, she learns about the fine line between tormentor and victim as she tries to escape her situation.

Airborn is a heart-stopping, humourous, and romantic adventure set on (and off) board the Aurora, a 900-foot luxury airship. Cabin boy Matt Cruise, born in the air and most at home there, finds himself caught up in a young woman's quest to prove true her grandfather's tales of fantastic, impossible, "cloud-cat"-like creatures against all odds, including deadly air pirates.

The Young Adult Canadian Book Award was established by the Young Adult Caucus of the Saskatchewan Library Association in 1980 and was subsequently transferred to the Young Adult Services Interest Group (YASIG) of the Canadian Library Association. The award recognizes an author of an outstanding Canadian English-language work of fiction (novel or collection of short stories) that appeals to young adults between the ages of 13 and 18. Previous winners include Polly Horvath, Martha Brooks, Beth Goobie, and Tim Wynne-Jones.

The award will be presented at this year's Book Awards Banquet, on June 16, 2005, in Calgary, Alberta, during the annual Canadian Library Association conference.

The Canadian Library Association (CLA) is Canada's major national library association, representing the concerns of some 57,000 individuals who work in library and information services in Canada. CLA encompasses all types of libraries - public, school, post-secondary academic and special (private- and public-sector) - from coast-to-coast-to-coast.

Respectfully submitted on behalf of the 2005 CLA Young Adult Canadian Book Award Committee: Lisa Heggum, Toronto Public Library, Chair; Kirsten Andersen, Richmond Public Library; Jessica Cammer, Regina Public Library; Thomas Long, Vancouver Public Library; Kimberly Sutherland-Mills, Kingston Frontenac Public Library

Media contacts:

Lisa Heggum
Youth Services Specialist
Maria A. Shchuka Branch
Toronto Public Library
1745 Eglinton Avenue West
Toronto, ON M6E 2H4
Tel.: (416) 394-1052
Fax: (416) 394-2781

Brenda Shields
Member Services Associate
Canadian Library Association
Tel. (613) 232-9625, ext. 318