Calgary authors Ali Bryan and Deborah Willis shortlisted for $25,000 humour prize

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Two Calgary authors have landed on the shortlist for the 2024 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

Ali Bryan’s Coq, and Deborah Willis’ Girlfriend on Mars are two of the three finalists for the prestigious award. Patrick deWitt’s The Librarianist is the also on the shortlist. The award, which comes with a $25,000 prize, is named after writer and humourist Stephen Leacock, who wrote CanLit classics such as Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town in the early 20th Century. The shortlist was announced on Tuesday three weeks after a longlist of 11 books was announced.

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Author Ali Bryan. Photo by Phil Crozier jpg

The award will be presented Saturday, June 22 at the Leacock Medal Gala Dinner in Toronto.

Bryan’s Coq, published by Calgary’s Freehand Books, is a tragicomedy about a family embarking on a disastrous trip to Paris as a memorial for their mother. Bryan first introduced the family in her 2013 debut, Roost.

Willis’ Girlfriend on Mars is a satire about a woman who wins the opportunity to live on Mars through a reality-TV program. It was published by Hamish Hamilton Canada, an imprint of Penguin Random House Canada. Willis  works as an editor for Freehand Books.

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