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September 15, 2009
Celebrating 35 years of the Toronto Book Awards - Mayor David Miller announces 2009 finalists
Mayor David Miller announced the five finalists of the 2009 Toronto Book Awards today at the Toronto Reference Library, honouring authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. The shortlist nominees’ books represent a unique view of Toronto and made a great impression on the jury members.

The finalists for the 2009 Toronto Book Awards are
• Austin Clarke for his novel, More, published by Thomas Allen Publishers
• Anthony De Sa, for his story collection, Barnacle Love, published by Anchor Canada
• Maggie Helwig, for her novel, Girls Fall Down, published by Coach House Books
• Mark Osbaldeston, for his history book, Unbuilt Toronto, published by Dundurn Press, and
• Charles Wilkins, for his non-fiction book, In the Land of Long Fingernails, published by Viking Canada.

This year marks the 35th anniversary of the Toronto Book Awards which also coincides with the City’s 175th anniversary celebration. Established by Toronto City Council in 1974, the Toronto Book Awards honour authors of books of literary or artistic merit that are evocative of Toronto. The annual awards offer $15,000 in prize money. Each finalist will receive $1,000 and the winning author receives the remaining prize money.

"I want to congratulate all of this year's Toronto Book Awards shortlisted authors," said Mayor Miller. "Over the past 35 years, these awards have showcased our city's diverse community through words and images that tell Toronto’s dynamic story. I encourage all Torontonians to join me in reading all of this year’s shortlisted books and experience our great city through the eyes of these authors."

“The Toronto Book Awards, like the Toronto Public Library, celebrate books, culture and the wonderfully diverse city in which we live,” said City Librarian Jane Pyper. “The Library is so pleased to be partnering with the City of Toronto to promote and raise awareness of this unique literary award, and to engage Torontonians in an exploration of their city through these evocative and compelling books.”

The City of Toronto and the Toronto Public Library are challenging Torontonians to “get a new read on Toronto” with many opportunities for the community to embrace and explore this year’s shortlisted books.

The shortlisted authors, along with past Toronto Book Award finalists and winners, will read from their books at the 20th anniversary of The Word On The Street book and magazine fair. The event takes place on Sunday, September 27 in the City of Toronto Tent at Queen’s Park.

There is also a group reading by the shortlisted authors at Toronto Public Library’s newly renovated Bloor/Gladstone Branch at 7 p.m. on Wednesday, October 7. The nominated authors will be on hand to read and sign copies of their work.

The winner of the 2009 Toronto Book Awards will be announced on Thursday, October 15 at the Toronto Reference Library. Members of the public are encouraged to come out and celebrate at the evening gala, hosted by CBC’s Matt Galloway.

The 2009 Toronto Book Awards Committee is made up of volunteer members, Alexander Greer, Brian Jantzi, Angela Rebeiro, Sarah Rotering and Karen Tisch. For more information about the awards and what the jury members said, visit

Toronto Public Library is the world’s busiest urban public library system. Every year, more than 16 million people visit the Library’s 99 branches and borrow more than 30 million items. To learn more about Toronto Public Library, visit or call Answerline at 416-393-7131.

Toronto is Canada's largest city and sixth largest government, and home to a diverse population of about 2.6 million people. It is the economic engine of Canada and one of the greenest and most creative cities in North America. Toronto has won numerous awards for quality, innovation and efficiency in delivering public services. 2009 marks the 175th anniversary of Toronto's incorporation as a city. Toronto's government is dedicated to prosperity, opportunity and liveability for all its residents.

Media contacts:
RoseMarie Demarco, City Clerk’s Office, 416-392-8191,
Michaela Cornell, Toronto Book Awards Publicist, 647-274-6112,
Tina Srebotnjak, Manager, Program Development, Toronto Public Library, 416-393-7098,



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