CMU Press is pleased to announce that Dora Dueck’s novel This Hidden Thing has been named the McNally Robinson Book of the Year, as announced at the Manitoba Book Awards held April 17, 2011 at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre in St. Boniface.
This Hidden Thing is the first novel to be published by CMU Press, which is an academic publishing initiative of Canadian Mennonite University.
“If you are surprised, so am I,” said Dueck in her acceptance speech. “I’m happy to be in the company of these wonderful writers.” Dueck, who lives in Winnipeg, also paid tribute to local booksellers McNally Robinson for their dynamic support of Winnipeg’s literary community.
This Hidden Thing is a “humane and fully satisfying depiction of times, places [and] communities,” according to jurors Joan Barfoot, Trevor Cole , and Richard Lebrun. Elsewhere, the jury for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, for which This Hidden Thing was shortlisted, describes Dueck’s novel as “a testament to the pleasure of pure storytelling.”
Dueck’s novel follows almost the entirety of the life of Maria Klassen, a young Mennonite woman who immigrates to Manitoba in the 1920s. Maria works for a prosperous family while navigating the intricate experience of life in a new country. The story examines the powerful themes of silence and hiddenness within the Mennonite community, as well as offering realistic portrayals of passion, poverty, war, and family – the everyday experiences of an ordinary yet remarkable woman.
The Manitoba Book Awards are organized annually by the Manitoba Writers’ Guild (MWG) and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers (AMBP). This Hidden Thing was nominated for the Book of the Year Award alongside Curiosity by Joan Thomas, A Cycle of the Moon by Uma Parameswaran, Out of Grief Singing: A Memoir of Motherhood and Loss by Charlene Diehl, and Walking to Mojácar by Di Brandt. The award is sponsored by McNally Robinson Booksellers. It is awarded each year to the author of the English-language book by a Manitoba author that is judged the best-written by a jury comprised of writers, scholars, publishers, and journalists. The prize carries with it a cash value of $5,000.
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