Two dynamic women, Lynn Duncan and Kilmeny Denny, run Vivalogue which provides consultation, editing, design, and other self-publishing services in North America and the United Kingdom. Lynn and Kilmeny decided in 2016 that the time had come to recognize excellence in the Canadian market through a juried competition to determine the best self-published books. The awards, jointly administered by the Whistler Writing Society and Vivalogue Publishing, are known as the Whistler Independent Book Awards and are the first to be offered in Canada for the independent publishing industry. In 2017, a manuscript competition was added.
Farida Somjee won the 2017 Fiction Award for The Beggar’s Dance. Paul Shore was the non-fiction winner for Uncorked: My Year in Provence. Fiction finalists were Annie Daylon for Of Sea and Seed: The Kerrigan Chronicles, Book 1, and R.L. Prendergast for The Confessions of Socrates. Non-fiction finalists were Monique Layton for Notes from Elsewhere: Travel and Other Matters and Patricia Sandberg for Sun Dogs and Yellowcake: Gunnar Mines—A Canadian Story. Louis Druehl won the manuscript competition and his book Kwai Scrolls was launched at the Whistler Writers Festival.
Lynn and Kilmeny must be applauded for their support of self-published authors. The independent book market is growing exponentially due in part to the economic realities of the traditional publishing industry and also to the relative ease by which an author can publish his or her own work. The recognition for the literary merit of these works, however, is lagging and this is where Vivalogue has stepped in.
Submitted books are first selected by Vivalogue, further shortlisted by jurors from the Canadian Author Association (CAA – Vancouver Metro), and finally judged by a literary panel with the winners revealed at the Whistler Writers Festival. Applicants for the manuscript competition are also screened and the winning manuscript is then published, marketed and launched at the Festival with the support of Vivalogue.
Many thanks should be given to the CAA, judges and Vivalogue who volunteer significant amounts of time during this process. Much credit goes to the Whistler Writers Festival for co-hosting the events and especially to Vivalogue for initiating the award and providing cash prizes, publicity, and other benefits to the award-winners and finalists.
As one of the finalists for the non-fiction award, I am especially appreciative. If you have a manuscript burning your hands and are looking for help in getting it published, check out Vivalogue.