The Winterset Award celebrates “excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing,” and is open to all genres, which makes it that much harder and more meaningful to win. That and the the fact we all know Newfoundland is the country’s literary goldmine, so, when your book is deemed the best book out of Newfoundland in a year it’s a big nod. In winning this award, Russell joins the ranks of names like Michael Crummey, Joan Clark, Jessica Grant, Michael Winter, Kenneth J. Harvey, and Kathleen Winter. Nice batch of names, hey?
Russell is a damn sharp writer. He’s precise and evocative. It’s impressive and brings his work to life, and well, worth an award or two. The Winterset is hardly his first of those. His last book, Burning Down the House, won three national awards for non-fiction, and his short story collection The Hour of Bad Decisions was a Giller finalist, among other accolades. In fact, it was shortlisted for the Winterset award a few years back. Congrats on bagging it this time, Russell.
So, what are you reading at the moment?
The Snowman, a Scandanavian mystery by Jo Nesbo, and Lit: A Memoir, by U.S poet Mary Karr.
Name two books that have really stuck with you?
The Lost Salt Gift of Blood by Alistair Macleod and Under Milk Wood by Dylan Thomas
What 2 previous Winterset award winners would you recomend, if I forced you to choose from the fantastic spread?
Kenneth J. Harvey’s The Town that Forgot How to Breathe and Jessica Grant’s Come, Thou Tortoise. Tough picks, though.