I have been forced to lie, prevaricate and otherwise conceal the truth for the last three weeks or so, ever since I found out that I had, indeed, won the award I was shortlisted for.
Just in case you’ve forgotten, one of the other shortlisted authors was Margaret Atwood. Even to be on the same shortlist was an achievement, I figured. To win? A mindblower, indeed.
Yet here I am, with David, and with my sister Carla, and flowers, and a plaque that says that Elizabeth Creith, author of Shepherd in Residence, has won the Louise de Kiriline Lawrence Award for non-fiction, for excellence in Northern Ontario Literature.
It was a wonderful evening! The dinner was excellent – the rare roast beef and fresh, creamy horseradish was particularly delightful. Every table was equipped with a box of Lego bricks (ours had all the fittings to build a tractor, barn, cow and dog!). Is that a great ice-breaker, or what?
Then the awards – for libraries, and librarians and writers. The Rainy River Library comes first to mind. They put together six circulating kits for birdwatching, including binoculars, reference material and checklists. The kits have been well-used by the community. Librarians were honoured for completing courses to improve their qualifications, and of course the writers were honoured for their writing.
There were flowers. There were plaques. I was so hoping to have something to take to my day job to remind me what my real work is, and the plaque is just the ticket. Yes, there was a monetary award, too, which is also lovely. Best of all was to hear the reactions to my (very brief) reading from “Shepherd”. So many people had farm or animal stories of their own that related to my encounter with Tex, the fearsome king of Ballylough Castle.
And the hotel was able to accommodate Sky with a room that opens onto a courtyard. She even got to hang out with some other dogs.
I’m so pleased with the reaction to “Shepherd”, with being shortlisted, and with – gasp! – winning. I’ve always said that a life in art needs to be self-rewarding, but now and again the universe hands out these treats to tell you you’re not alone, not working in a vacuum, that your work reaches and touches others. And that is a wonderful thing.
And even if I’m a liar, hey – I’m a storyteller. Lying is practically my stock-in-trade!