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Sooke author wins Governor General Literary Award

Darrel McLeod’s book based on talks with elder
Darrel Mcleod’s book is based upon his conversations with a village elder. (Black Press)

In early October Darrel J. McLeod was nominated for a Governor General Literacy Award.

Today, he was informed that he had won.

The Canada Council for Arts announced revealed the list of winners for the coveted award, listing winners who are based all over the country and whose stories are all based on their own personal stories.

McLeod, a Sooke author, was honoured in the English non-fiction category for his book, “Mamaskatch: A Cree coming of Age”, which was released last Fall.

The book is an account of overcoming personal and systemic obstacles while living in the village of Smith, Alta. and came about as a result of McLeod’s interaction with a village elder with whom he shared family stories.

The stories were put to paper while McLeod was serving as a principal in a northern B.C. school. The writing of the accounts took some six years.

Additionally, two other authors from B.C. were honoured in with awards.

Cecily Nicholson (Burnaby, B.C.) is a poet, but also the administrator of the artist-run centre and mental health resource, Gallery Gachet, an exhibition and studio space for artists. Her third poem, Wayside Sang is a winner in the Poetry category of this year’s GGLAs.

Jonathan Auxier (from Vancouver B.C.) is a New York Times Bestselling author, and the award-winning author for his children’s literature novel, Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster. The fictional story follows a young orphan and a golem, who form an unlikely friendship and together learn the meaning of true love and friendship. Auxier struggled for many years when writing this novel, but after the birth of his daughter, and learning of her Down Syndrome diagnosis with many physical ailments, he was inspired to put this story on paper.

McLeod has a second book set to launch next September entitled Peyakow, in which he intends to follow the theme of his first book.