Contact person: Ian Shaw, Frank Hegyi Award Coordinator, communicationsoiw@gmail.com





Ottawa, Ontario (September 7, 2018): The winner of the Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors (non-fiction) will be announced at 8:30 pm, September 26, 2018 at a special awards ceremony in Ottawa. All are welcome to attend. Please click here to register for a free ticket.


Below are the jurors' comments on the works of the five finalists.


Part memoir, part current investigation, David Leach in Chasing Utopia: The Future of the Kibbutz in a Divided Israel

asks critical questions about communitarian idealism in contemporary Israel. Using his own personal experiences to frame the evolving historical context, Leach reveals both the aspirational fatigue and the aspirational regrouping now taking place. An experienced storyteller, he gathers the relevant materials to explain the disappearance of certain kibbutzim as well as the transitioning of others into nodes of capitalist production. He also captures the variety of positions that have evolved among Israeli activists in relation to religious and state-endorsed separation of Jewish and non-Jewish communities. Leach avoids the polemical as he meets the challenges of this multi-faceted and challenging subject by presenting the struggle as on-going and unfinished.


Pauline Dakin’s Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood takes us on a journey with a family on the run. The children are dragged from town to town across the country by their frightened mother, while they attempt to keep a few steps ahead of the Mafia. Dakin’s writing is compelling, and her childhood viewpoint is honest and innocent, allowing us to be drawn into her story and her mindset. The book is not only thrilling, it presents a clear view of the association between slow-burning, constant childhood anxiety, and the resultant adulthood anguish. Pauline Dakin’s bizarre true story is a tribute to the loyalty of children and the resilience of the human spirit.


It would have been easy for Chris Turner to simply mouth the accepted wisdom when it comes to the oil sands and produce another piece of advocacy. Instead, The Patch presents the kind of valuable balance and critical thinking that is so lacking in much of the public discourse today. In allowing both sides to speak – technological and industrial innovation versus environmental protection and activism, The Patch goes so far as to indicate a way out of what seems an unsolvable dilemma. This is in-depth journalism that rises above itself to not only ask the right questions but to potentially become part of the solution.


In Unearthed: A Memoir, Alexandra Risen turns what could have been a clichéd metaphor (the revival of an abandoned garden) into a rich and vital terrain teeming with the discovery of a hidden past, lost memories and family secrets. Most powerful is the uncovered story of Risen’s parents, originally from the Ukraine before being forced to work in Nazi Germany, their meeting and marriage in a Displaced Persons camp and subsequent move to Edmonton. There is beauty here amid the shock and pain of truth – and most importantly, a sense of acceptance in turn leading to redemption.


The jury was moved by the on-going reciprocity between historical research and personal development in Sharon Butala’s Where I live Now. There is new information that extends our knowledge back in time, and new information that comes from questioning oneself in the present; and, in this compelling work, each informs the other. The very satisfying coherence of the whole is rooted in an ever-expanding landscape of both place and time, within which the love of a specific couple and the death of a partner find an honoured place. This is a mature and finely crafted work, large and lyrical while, equally, particular and known. The contrast of scale is wonderfully handled and always convincing. From the first page to the last we trust Butala’s perceptions and are anxious to follow on her path.


The jurors for the 2018 award were:


Gerry Fostaty a fiction and non-fiction writer 

Gerry is the winner of the 2016 Whistler Independent Book Award for Crime Fiction and the author of As You Were: The Tragedy at Valcartier (Goose Lane Editions) and Stage Business (Deux Voiliers Publishing). He is also a recipient of the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal.


Michael Mirolla is an award-winning novelist, short story writer, playwright, and poet

Michael is the winner of the 2016 Bressani Literary Prize for his short story collection Lessons in Relationship Dyads (Red Hen Press, 2015). In 2010, with business partner Connie McParland, Michael took over the reins at Guernica Editions, one of Canada's thriving independent presses.


Michael Springate a novelist, playwright and screenwriter

He is the author of The Beautiful West & The Beloved of God (Guernica Editions), also published as L’engrenage des apparences (Les Éditions Sémaphore). His produced writing for theatre includes Historical Bliss, Dog and Crow, The Consolation of Philosophy, The Geese Sonnets, Freeport Texas, and Kut: Shock and Awe. His feature screenplay Bella Ciao! will premiere in Canada in late 2018.


The Frank Hegyi Award is sponsored by OIW (Ottawa Independent Writers). Named after long-time OIW member and former treasurer, Frank Hegyi, the award carries a cash prize of $500 for the winner and two years of free OIW membership. Finalists will receive a year's free membership in the OIW. The Frank Hegyi Award is offered on an annual basis and alternates between fiction and non-fiction. The 2018 award is for non-fiction. The 2017 award was for fiction. The award is open to all Canadian citizens living anywhere or permanent residents of Canada or authors of any nationality whose submitted books had been first published by a Canadian publisher, and who had not already won a major national or provincial literary award.


For more information on the Frank Hegyi Award, please visit the OIW website at: