Emma Hooper won the first-ever Frank Hegyi Award for Emerging Authors for her novel Etta and Otto and Russell and James. The award was presented at the Third Annual Prose in the Park Literary Festival in Ottawa on Saturday, June 10, 2017. During the award ceremony, the Chair of Prose in the Park 2017 and President of the Ottawa Independent Writers, Ian Shaw, reached Emma by phone in Sweden where she is doing an artist's residency, and invited her to make a short acceptance speech for the audience. Emma stresses the importance of writers associations, like the Ottawa Independent Writers, in promoting the careers of Canadian authors and her absolute delight in being the first winner of the Frank Hegyi Award.
Montreal poet Kelly Norah Drukker, the winner of 2016 A.M. Klein Prize and the 2016 Concordia University First Book Prize, read for Emma a passage from Etta and Otto and Russell and James at the awards ceremony. The beautiful hand-crafted wooden trophy (see photo) will be delivered to Emma in her home in the United Kingdom. The award also carries a $500 cash prize.
The Frank Hegyi Award was juried by Ursula Pflug, Gerry Fostaty and Menaka Raman-Wilms. This what the jurors had to say about Etta and Otto and Russell and James:
Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper is a book that remains joyful even as it delves into the things that haunt us. Since she’s never seen the ocean, elderly Etta decides to leave her Saskatchewan farm to walk to the east coast, and in doing so stirs up the people around her, as well as her own memories. The book delves into the effects the Second World War had on small-town Saskatchewan, and examines what leads us to the people we spend our lives with. With effortless storytelling and clever whimsy, Etta and Otto and Russell and James is as delightful as it is striking and mighty.