Sailors, Slackers wins national Torgi Nonfiction Award

Sept. 21, TORONTO: The Canadian National Institute for the Blind Library is pleased to announce the winners of the 2004 Torgi Literary Awards, the only awards program in Canada to celebrate books in formats such as PrintBraille and audio. More than 300 guests, including authors, book publishers, CNIB client judges, and CNIB volunteers attended the 20th annual awards ceremony, held today at the new CNIB service centre in Toronto.

Austin Clarke’s The Polished Hoe won the award for CNIB Produced Fiction. Judges praised Clarke’s command of Island dialect and gripping plot. The nuanced language of Clarke’s setting meant that the role of narration was central to its production as a talking book. As one judge commented, “the intersecting tales of these characters are wonderfully colourful, believable and compelling. This is a wonderful book, which should delight the reader. The narrator of this book did a wonderful job and added much to the enjoyment of the reader. This is one case where a talking book would be much preferable to a print version because of the narrator’s contribution.”

The other Torgi Literary Awards went to:

  • Sailors, Slackers, and Blind Pigs: Halifax at War by Stephen Kimber (CNIB Produced Non-Fiction)
  • Run, by Eric Walters (Tiny Torgi Audio)
  • Stanley’s Party, by Linda Bailey (Tiny Torgi PrintBraille)
  • Buddha Da, by Anne Donovan (Partner Produced Fiction)
  • Stupid White Men: And Other Excuses for the State of the Nation, by Michael Moore (Partner Produced Non-Fiction)

Award presenters included CNIB Library clients Simon Braham and Niall Hartnett (seven and 11 years old, respectively).

Giller Prize founder Jack Rabinovitch gave the keynote address, a highlight at the event.

Margaret McGrory, executive director of the CNIB Library, added, “This year is an exciting time of new beginnings. As we move to full digital production and settle into our new building, clients of the CNIB Library have more opportunities than ever to pursue their love of reading.”

Established in 1984, the Torgi Literary Awards (named after Morley Torgov, the author of the inaugural winning book) was the first awards ceremony in the world to recognize alternative-format books. The awards celebrate PrintBraille, and talking books that have been written, published, and produced with excellence for adults or children who are blind or visually impaired. As readers’ choice awards, winning books are chosen by juries of CNIB Library clients. The awards also highlight the work of the more than 500 CNIB volunteers who produce these books.

Since 1906, the CNIB Library for the Blind has been working to promote literacy and to ensure that Canadians who are blind, visually impaired, or deafblind have equitable access to information, culture, and lifelong learning. The CNIB Library is one of the largest producers of alternative-format materials in the world and circulated 1.8 million items last year.

Matt Ferguson

(416) 486-2500, ext. 7423

Jessica Parrales

(416) 486-2500, ext. 7570

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