by BK Munn

The winners of the 2021 Doug Wright Awards were announced in an online event Saturday night. This is the second year the Awards have been presented in this format since the Covid-19 shutdown began last year, and this year’s ceremony made many references to the ongoing pandemic, including cartoonist David Collier presenting the winner of the Pigskin Peters Award while getting vaccinated at a clinic in Hamilton. Besides Collier, the ceremony included many guest appearances, including the return of “the Bob Hope of Canadian comics award shows,” Don McKellar (as host), cartoonist Dustin Harbin (in a tribute to Annie Koyama, retiring as publisher from Koyama Press), and Margaret Atwood (presenting the Best Book Award). 

This was the 17th annual version of the Awards, named for cartoonist Doug Wright, creator of the long-running Canadian comic strip Doug Wright’s Family. Wright’s widow Phyllis Wright, an early supporter of the Awards, was also honoured in the event. Also honoured was cartoonist Fred Kelly (1921-2005), inducted into the Giants of the North Hall of Fame for his 1940s comics creations, including the superhero Mr. Monster.

This year’s judges included Steven W. Beattie, Claudia Dávila, Jenn Haines, Paul G. Hammond, Brett Lamb, Shauna McCabe, Sylvia Nickerson, Emily Pohl-Weary, Sarah Sawler, Jonathan Valelly and Frank Viva.

You can view the entire ceremony below. Here are the nominees and winners:

The Doug Wright Award for best book
Lonely Boys, S. Bédard (Pow Pow Press) —WINNER
Familiar Face, Michael DeForge (Drawn & Quarterly)
Constantly, GG (Koyama Press)
Paul at Home, Michel Rabagliati (Drawn & Quarterly)
Wendy, Master of Art, Walter Scott (Drawn & Quarterly)

The Nipper: The Doug Wright Award for emerging talent
Adam de Souza, A Gleaming No. 2 (Self-published)
Kimberly Edgar, The Space In Between (Self-published)
Courtney Lober, We Don’t Go Through the Angelgrass I (Self-published)
Veronica Post, Langosh & Peppi: Fugitive Days (Conundrum Press) —WINNER
Shannon M. Reeves, Restless Bones (Gytha Press)

The Pigskin Peters: The Doug Wright Award for best small- or micro-press book
The Noiseless Din, Scott Carruthers (Popnoir Editions) –WINNER
The Desecration, Scott Carruthers and Sally McKay (Self-published)
A Gleaming No. 2, Adam de Souza (Self-published)
The Space In Between, Kimberly Edgar (Self-published)
Awkward Pause, Ryan Harby (Renegade Arts Entertainment)

The Egghead: The Doug Wright Award for best kids’ book
A Slug Story, Mandi Kujawa, Hana Kujawa, Claude St. Aubin, and Lovern Kindzierski (Renegade Arts Entertainment) –WINNER
The Little Ghost Who Was a Quilt, Riel Nason and Byron Eggenschwiler (Tundra Books)
Okay, Universe: Chronicles of a Woman in Politics, Valérie Plante and Delphie Côté-Lacroix (Drawn & Quarterly)
Grandmother School, Rina Singh and Ellen Rooney (Orca Book Publishers)
Swift Fox All Along, Rebecca Thomas and Maya McKibbin (Annick Press)