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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 30, 2016
Canadian Excellence


2006: Francis Chalifour

The information below is adapted from the news release issued in 2006

After, published by Tundra Books, is an autobiographical story that narrates the painful journey of a 15-year-old boy in the year following his father’s suicide. Author Francis Chalifour is the winner of the 2006 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction.

After uses a powerful and personal narrative to draw readers into the confused, angry and guilt-ridden mind of a grieving teenaged boy who is trying to understand his father’s suicide and the resulting changes in his young life.

“I am honoured to be the recipient of this award, and to be among the other nominees,” said Chalifour. “I hope this book will help people dealing with this difficult issue that is suicide. When someone close to you dies in this way, it is very sad and you can feel a lot of guilt.”

“After is deeply moving,” said Judith Miller, an award judge and associate professor of English language and literature at Renison College at the University of Waterloo. “Chalifour finds an interesting way to talk about his experiences. We enjoyed the lyricism of his language and his strong sense of character.”

“It was a pleasure and a privilege for us to have Edna Staebler with us right up until she died,” continued Miller, discussing the fact that Staebler judged the 2006 submissions, and the winner was selected before Staebler’s death on September 12, 2006 in her 101st year. “She took pride, and we took pleasure, in the fact that she never lost her sense of what was a good piece of writing. She was very much a part of the conversation.”

Kathryn Wardropper, administrator of the award, echoed Miller’s sentiments. “This book award was Edna’s major passion. She had a real connection with the authors.” Wardropper was pleased to have the opportunity to talk about the future of the award with Staebler, and takes comfort in knowing that Staebler approved of the award’s future direction.

Chalifour was born and raised in Quebec and now lives in Toronto, where he teaches social sciences. He has a master’s degree in education from the University of Ottawa, where he specialized in the influence of the mourning process on children’s learning. Chalifour has been writing for most of his life, and has published novels and articles in both French and English.

Other Publications by Francis Chalifour:

  • Call Me Mimi (2008)
  • Zoom Papaye (2002)

The shortlist for the 2006 Edna Staebler Award also included:

  • Up North by Lisa Rochon,
  • Dragonslippers: This is What an Abusive Relationship Can Look Like by Rosalind B. Penfield,
  • The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed by John Vaillant,
  • Loss of Faith: How the Air-India Bombers Got Away with Murder by Kim Bolan.