Biblioasis is thrilled to share that Ordinary Wonder Tales by Emily Urquhart (November 1, 2022) has been announced as a finalist for the 2023 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction! You can check out the full shortlist here

The 2023 jury citation for Ordinary Wonder Tales:

Emily Urquhart’s collection of essays about folklore, storytelling, and wonder weaves its own magic as it draws the reader deep into the heart of imagination and possibility. From a haunting childhood encounter to a deeply moving exploration of dementia, Ordinary Wonder Tales delights in the knowledge that the world can be both real and imagined. As we read, we discover that no trauma in a person’s life ever sets them fully apart. Rather, human tragedies are endlessly absorbed and transformed by the wonder tales we share to bring us back to the fullness of life.

“Everyone at Biblioasis is thrilled for Emily,” says Dan Wells, publisher of Biblioasis. “Ordinary Wonder Tales has been a favourite of everyone here at Biblioasis since its publication, a collection open to the everyday magic of everyday life, a book lyrical, meditative, humane and profound. It’s a delightful gathering of essays, and we’re thrilled that the Weston jury felt similarly about it.”

This is the fourth of Biblioasis’ books to be nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction. Reaching Mithymna by Steven Heighton was nominated in 2020, The Great Escape by Andrew Steinmetz was nominated in 2013, and Why Not? Fifteen Reasons to Live by Ray Robertson was nominated in 2011.

The Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction was first awarded in 1997. It is given annually for excellence in the category of literary nonfiction, which includes essays, history, biography, memoir, commentary, and criticism. The winning book demonstrates a distinctive voice, as well as a persuasive and compelling command of tone, narrative, style, and technique. This award has been sponsored by The Hon. Hilary M. Weston since 2011 and is funded this year by the Hilary and Galen Weston Foundation. Beginning in 2023, the prize purse has increased from $60,000 to $75,000. The winner will be announced at the Writers’ Trust Awards on November 21.

Order your copy of Ordinary Wonder Tales here!


Shortlisted for the 2023 Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction

“This book is magical in every sense of the term.”—Amanda Leduc, author of The Centaur’s Wife and Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space

A journalist and folklorist explores the truths that underlie the stories we imagine—and reveals the magic in the everyday.

Photo Credit: Andrew Trant

“I’ve always felt that the term fairy tale doesn’t quite capture the essence of these stories,” writes Emily Urquhart. “I prefer the term wonder tale, which is Irish in origin, for its suggestion of awe coupled with narrative. In a way, this is most of our stories.” In this startlingly original essay collection, Urquhart reveals the truths that underlie our imaginings: what we see in our heads when we read, how the sight of a ghost can heal, how the entrance to the underworld can be glimpsed in an oil painting or a winter storm—or the onset of a loved one’s dementia. In essays on death and dying, pregnancy and prenatal genetics, radioactivity, chimeras, cottagers, and plague, Ordinary Wonder Tales reveals the essential truth: if you let yourself look closely, there is magic in the everyday.


Emily Urquhart is a journalist with a doctorate in folklore. Her award-winning work has appeared in LongreadsGuernica, and The Walrus and elsewhere, and her first book, Beyond the Pale: Folklore, Family, and the Mystery of Our Hidden Genes, was shortlisted for the Kobo First Book Prize and the BC National Award for Canadian Nonfiction. Her most recent book, The Age of Creativity: Art, Memory, my Father and Me, was listed as a top book of 2020 by CBC, NOW Magazine and Quill & Quire. She is a nonfiction editor for The New Quarterly and lives in Kitchener, Ontario.




Try No to Be Strange by Michael Hingston (September 13, 2022) has been reviewed by Robert J. Wiersema in the Toronto Star. The review was posted online on September 16, 2022. Check out the full review here.

Wiersema writes,

“That spirit, the tongue-in-cheek mock seriousness of the whole endeavour, and the playfulness of its participants, is a keen factor in Try Not to Be Strange. The book is a delightful reading experience, utterly unexpected and unlike anything you are likely to read this year.”

Try Not to Be Strange was also reviewed by Kevin Hardcastle in Quill and Quire on September 16, 2022. Check out the full review here.

Hardcastle writes,

Try Not to Be Strange is a passionate and skillfully written exploration of an extraordinary world and those who search for such places to get to the heart of what stories really mean. Hingston’s thirst for deeper knowledge is palpable, and it illuminates what the kingdom might really stand for.”

Grab your copy of Try Not to Be Strange here!



A Factotum in the Book Trade by Marius Kociejowski (April 26, 2022) has been reviewed in the Literary Review of Canada by Jessica Dunn Wolfe. The article, “Whims and Longings” was published online on September 12, 2022. Read the full article here.

Wolfe writes,

A Factotum in the Book Trade displays the prose style of someone who takes inordinate delight in the unlikely conjunctions afforded by such places. Kociejowski pinpoints the joys of bookstores for readers and booksellers both, while sketching a miscellany of the personalities he has encountered throughout his career.”

Grab your copy of A Factotum in the Book Trade here!


Querelle of Roberval (August 2, 2022) by Kevin Lambert, trans. by Donald Winkler, has been shortlisted for the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize! The shortlist was announced at 10 am ET on September 14, 2022. You can read the full shortlist here.

The judges’ citation for the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize:

“Kevin Lambert’s fearless novel is a profane, funny, bleak, touching, playful, and outrageous satire of sexual politics, labour, and capitalism. In ecstatic and cutting prose, it gleefully illuminates both the broad socio-political tensions of life in a Quebec company town and the intimate details of sex, lust, loneliness, and gay relationships in such a place. Like its central character, the book is brash, beautiful, quasi-mythic, and tragic. Most improbably, for all its daring and provocation, Querelle of Roberval is lyrically, even tenderly written.”

Querelle of Roberval has also been reviewed by Aaron Obedkoff in the Literary Review of Canada. The review was published online on September 12, 2022. You can read the full review here.

Obedkoff calls Lambert

“a skilled examiner of depravity … Lambert’s excavation into the depths of desire and provocation is as thrilling as it is disturbing, as beautiful as it is revolting. This is a difficult balance to manage, yet it may well be the key to his success.”

Pick up your copy of Querelle of Roberval here!


Big Men Fear Me by Mark Bourrie (October 18, 2022) has been reviewed in the October issue of the Literary Review of Canada by Dave Marks Shribman. The review is online as of September 12, 2022. Check out the full review here.

Shribman writes,

“Mark Bourrie’s remarkable—and long overdue—biography of one of the most consequential and least remembered Canadians of the past century. … Bourrie toiled for years to resurrect [George McCullagh], but, I’m glad to say, he did not wipe away the carbuncles, boils, and blisters. His portrait of a man who once was among Canada’s most powerful figures is, to choose two apt terms, both melancholy and masterly.”

Big Men Fear Me was also included by Nathaniel G. Moore in the Miramichi Reader’s ‘Fall Preview Part Two’! The list was published on September 5, 2022. Check out the full preview here.

Moore writes,

“If you love Mad Men and Netflix biopics about ruthless tie-wearing maniacs, if you’re wanting the fourth wall to come crashing down on a discussion about class and poverty … you’ll probably need to pick up [Big Men Fear Me] from Biblioasis.”

Order your copy of Big Men Fear Me here!


This Time, That Place: Selected Stories by Clark Blaise (October 18, 2022) has been reviewed in the Literary Review of Canada. The review was published in print on September 12, 2022.

An excerpt from the review,

“The adolescent yo-yo takes many forms in This Time, That Place (Biblioasis), which recalls an old cigar box filled with undated and often cryptic postcards. […] Individually or as a group, these loosely linked stories will reward multiple readings.”

Grab your copy of This Time, That Place here!


Emily Urquhart, author of Ordinary Wonder Tales (November 1, 2022), has been interviewed by Joan Sullivan in the The Newfoundland Quarterly! The interview was published on September 16, 2022. Read the full interview here.

Urquhart says in the interview,

“Our most personal fears, the worries that visit us in our waking night hours, are not new. We feel as if they are specific to us and our lives but once you regain some of your logic in the daylight hours, you can turn to the wisdom in the world’s great folklore bank and discover a story that might help you to understand your most confusing and difficult fears, or, if not understand these fears, at least let you know that you aren’t alone.”

Ordinary Wonder Tales was also included by Nathaniel G. Moore in the Miramichi Reader’s ‘Fall Preview Part Two’! The list was published on September 5, 2022. Check out the full preview here.

Moore writes,

Ordinary Wonder Tales will have readers conjuring up memories of their first encounters with fairy tales, fables, and storytelling … if you’re compelled to imagine the mysterious forgotten worlds of imagination, of fables and possibilities … pick up [this book].”

Order your copy of Ordinary Wonder Tales here!


Shimmer by Alex Pugsley (May 17, 2022) was reviewed in the Miramichi Reader. The review was published online on September 11, 2022. Read the full review here.

Heidi Greco writes,

“His greatest gift as a writer is, I believe, his ability to carry dialogue … a brave departure from the highly-praised Aubrey McKee.

Pick up your copy of Shimmer here!


Pauline Holdstock‘s forthcoming novel, Confessions With Keith (September 20, 2022) was featured as an editor’s fall pick on 49th Shelf! The article was published online on September 14, 2022.

You can read the full article here.

Pick up your copy of Confessions With Keith here!