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Kyp Harness Wins 2017 ReLit Award for Debut Novel


Posted: Monday, July 16, 2018 at 4:40pm

As reported at CBC Books, the recipients of this year’s ReLit Awards, identifying top titles from Canada’s independent publishers, were announced on July 13th. Kyp Harness's debut novel Wigford Rememberies (Nightwood Editions, $19.95) has won the 2017 ReLit Award for Best Novel. Other winners include Bad Things Happen by Kris Bertin in the short fiction category and All the Gold Hurts My Mouth by Katherine Leyton for poetry.

Known as Canada's "pre-eminent literary prize recognizing independent presses.” (The Globe & Mail), the winners each receive a special ReLit ring designed by Newfoundland artist Christopher Kearney.

Wigford is a small town in rural Southwestern Ontario, home to a cast of recurring characters: Buzz, a drunk-driving father of two; his wife, who should have married Bert Walmsley instead; Happy Henry, a devout, socially inept apostle who loves to play the organ; Elmer, a stroke survivor. Wigford Rememberies tells this community's stories through an impressionistic series of vignettes. 

Kyp Harness is a versatile artist. He is a musician who has written and recorded 200 songs on 13 independent recordings. Ron Sexsmith called him “one of the finest songwriters on the planet” and the Calgary Straight said of his work: “I won't mince words: Right now, Kyp Harness is the most vital, essential Canadian singer-songwriter out there.” His second novel, The Abandoned, will be published in the fall by Nightwood Editions. He lives in East York (Toronto).