Monday, April 30, 2012

Novelist Patrick DeWitt Named Winner of 2012 Leacock Medal for Humour

Annual award celebrates the most humourous book
written by a Canadian and published in Canada

ORILLIA, Ontario, April 30, 2012 /Canada NewsWire/ - Admired for its offbeat combination of neurotic humour, shocking violence, and traditional Western storytelling, one of this year's most talked about books, Patrick DeWitt's The Sister's Brothers, has earned the 2012 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and TD Bank Group's $15,000 cash prize.

Michael Hill, President of the Stephen Leacock Association, pronounced the winner before a standing room only audience which included nominated authors, representatives from Canada's publishing industry, honoured guests, sponsors and media.

The Sister's Brothers follows the exploits of two hard-bitten bounty hunters - the eponymous Ely and Charlie Sisters - through the trails and saloon towns of 1850s gold rush California. As they track the enigmatic and ultimately tragic Hermann Kermit Warm, an incomparable prospector/alchemist who holds the key to a mysterious gold finding formula, the reader is introduced to a rich pageant of bizarre and hapless characters. Interspersed with entertaining comic meditations on such subjects as the merits of one-eyed horses and new-fangled inventions like toothpaste, deWitt's humour finds a strange but recognizable humanity in the inhumane, an all-too-human absurdity in the coldly logical.

The other books nominated for this year's award were Susan Juby's The Woefield Poultry Collective, Rupinder Gill's On the Outside Looking Indian, Shari Lapena's Happiness Economics, and Robyn Michele Levy's Most of Me. Each of the other finalists will receive a $1500 prize, also courtesy of TD.

"As the 2012 winner of the Leacock Medal for Humour, Mr. DeWitt joins an exceptional group of Canadian writers recognized for their ability to entertain Canadians," said Frank McKenna, Deputy Chair, TD Bank Group. "We congratulate him and all of the finalists for their contributions to Canadian literature."

The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour has been awarded since 1947 as a means to honour the dean of Canadian humourists and to perpetuate comedic writing in Canada. Some of our finest writers - Pierre Berton, W.O. Mitchell, Mordecai Richler and Robertson Davies - have all been recipients of the award over the past six decades. In addition to winning the silver medal, the winner also receives a $15 000 cash prize which will be presented at the annual Leacock dinner to be held June 12, 2010 at Geneva Park, near Orillia.

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