U of A Press enjoys big night at Alberta Book Awards

(Edmonton) University of Alberta Press took the top prize in five of 12 categories at the 2011 Alberta Book Awards, including publisher of the year.

The Measure of Paris, by Stephen Scobie, with cover design by Alan Brownoff, won in the category of best book cover/jacket.

“This cover is elegant and understated, as befits the subject matter, yet is still rich and eye-catching; indeed, it grabs one immediately and makes a lasting impression,” wrote the jury. “The tone and content of the photo convey the subject matter perfectly, and the design itself is marked by a well-resolved, elegant integration of type and image. The typeface is strong and appropriate, the subtle graphic element added to the cover enriches it, and the overall composition is beautifully handled.”

Rudy Wiebe: Collected Stories, 1955–2010, by Rudy Wiebe, book design by Alan Brownoff, won for best book design and captured the award for top trade fiction book.

“The winning book in this category is a riveting and beautifully written story echoed by thoughtful, clear and appealing design and production,” wrote the jury. “Regionally targeted events and media were cleverly executed. This novel meets and even exceeds the highest standards of Canadian fiction, marking a great achievement for publisher that will undoubtedly be further admired and recognized as its readership continues to grow into the future.”

The Beginning of Print Culture in Athabasca Country, by Patricia Demers, and translated by Naomi McIlwraith and Dorothy took home the night’s Scholarly & Academic Book Award.

“Given the highly specialized content, the publisher took a risk to ensure that the material was well presented; the choice to use print rather than digital publication demonstrates a commitment to high-quality scholarship and dissemination,” wrote the jury. “The physical book was thoughtfully produced: the various texts are clear and cleanly presented, and the translation and transliterations will help readers appreciate the subject and context of Alberta’s early print culture. This is an all-around excellent book, worthy of this award.”

To top off the award-filled night, U of A Press was named publisher of the year for its “commitment to—and achievement in—every area considered by this award: editorial, design, production, promotion, marketing, sales, service to clients and service to the community.”

“This press tackled an ambitious and courageous catalogue, ranging from fiction from the Canadian canon and original poetry through literary criticism to cultural theory, history and language learning, and even sport with its compass always pointing west, with its nets always cast for a broad readership, and with spectacular results,” wrote the jury.

Linda Cameron, director of the U of A Press, says her team is profoundly honoured by the recognition the press, its authors and books received at the awards gala.

“The variety of genres represented by the press’s published books demonstrate our commitment to publishing scholarship and books that bridge the gap between the academy and the general reader,” said Cameron. “We are also happy to include poetry and short stories and creative nonfiction on our list, as these creative works inform our sense of our place in society.”