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Wilfrid Laurier University Leaf
September 27, 2016
Canadian Excellence


1993: Elizabeth Hay

The information below is adapted from the news release issued in 1993

Elizabeth Hay of Ottawa is the winner of the second prize in the 1993 Edna Staebler Award for The Only Snow in Havana, published in September 1992 by Cormorant Books Inc. in Dunvegan, Ont.

Judith Miller, one of the members of the preliminary judging committee and a professor of literature at Renison College at the University of Waterloo, says creative non-fiction is not a new form but the interesting trend in the genre is toward the personal essay presented with adventurous and idiosyncratic twists. "Today it is the bravery of those twists that is remarkable," she says.

Miller adds that the winning authors have shaped their writing to be faithful to their actual experiences and thoughts.

The Only Snow in Havana is a reflection on Hay's own life interwoven with her exploration of Canada's history while she lived outside the country. Hay, who now teaches creative writing at the University of Ottawa, went to Mexico in 1984 and travelled in Latin America for a year and a half. In 1986, she moved with a man she met there to Salem, Mass., and then to New York City before returning to Canada in 1992.

"Winning this award gives me a sense of vindication about the kind of writing I do," says Hay, adding hers is not a type readily classified. "It's heartening."

The Only Snow in Havana is the second in a trilogy including Crossing the Snow Line (1989) and Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York (1993).

Other Publications by Elizabeth Hay:

  • Late Nights on Air (2007)
  • Garbo Laughs (2003)
  • A Student of Weather (2000)
  • Small Change (1997)
  • Captivity Tales: Canadians in New York (1993)
  • Crossing the Snow Line (1989)

For more information visit Elizabeth Hay's website.