Daschuk book takes four non-fiction awards
April 29, 2014
The accolades continue to roll in for SPHERU’s Jim Daschuk’s Clearing The Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life.
The book won four awards at the 2014 Saskatchewan Books Awards on April 26. The event, held at Regina’s Conexus Arts Centre, attracted more than 300 people. Since 1993, the awards have recognized excellence and diversity in Saskatchewan writing and publishing.
Daschuk’s book chronicles the history of disease, politics, starvation and the loss of Aboriginal life on the Prairies, as well as the role that the federal government, particularly under Prime Minister John A. Macdonald, played.
“I remember talking to my advisor when I was starting this project, and we both recognized the importance of the topic – the decline of indigenous health – and I can remember telling him that I hoped that my work on it lived up to the importance of the topic,” Daschuk says.
The book won the University of Saskatchewan College of Arts & Science and Library Non-Fiction Award, the Drs. Morris & Jacqui Shumiatcher Regina Book Award, the National Bank Financial Wealth Management First Book Award and the University of Regina Arts and Luther College Award for Scholarly Writing.
As well, University of Regina Press picked up the University of Regina Faculty of Education and Campion College Award for Publishing in Education for its part in publishing the book.
“I had no idea how well the book would do at the awards,” Daschuk says. “It was my first time at the ceremony, I had no idea there would be so many people, and it was great to finally meet so many writers that I had only ever read.”
Clearing The Plains has garnered much attention since published by University of Press in spring 2013. Recently, it was shortlisted for the 2014 Sir John A. Macdonald Prize, awarded annually to the best scholarly book in Canadian history. The prize goes to a non-fiction work of Canadian history that is seen to have made the most significant contribution to the understanding of the Canadian past. The $5,000 prize will be awarded at the Annual Governor General History Awards Ceremony on May 27.
The book is also on the non-fiction shortlist for the 2014 Libris Awards. These awards are selected by members of the Canadian book industry. A record number of votes were cast for the 2014 awards, which will be announced at a gala event on June 2. Other honours for the book include being picked as a top book of the year by Quill & Quire, and a longlist nomination for the B.C. National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction.