RELEASE: Holly Hogan wins the 2023 BMO Winterset Award

Mar 14, 2024


March 14, 2024 (St. John’s, NL) – Holly Hogan is the winner of the 2023 BMO Winterset Award for her book, Message in a Bottle: Ocean Dispatches from a Seabird Biologist. The award, which celebrates excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador writing, was presented today at a ceremony at Government House in St. John’s.

The two other finalists were Michael Crummey for The Adversary (Knopf Canada, ON) and William Ping for Hollow Bamboo (HarperCollins, ON).

The BMO Winterset Award, managed by ArtsNL, is a partnership made possible through the generous support from BMO Financial Group, the Sandra Fraser Gwyn Foundation, and Carol Bishop Gwyn, widow of the project’s founder, writer Richard Gwyn, O.C. The prize awarded to the annual winner is $12,500, while the finalists each receive $3,000. It is one of Atlantic Canada’s most lucrative literary prizes.

Message in a Bottle: Ocean Dispatches from a Seabird Biologist (Knopf Canada, ON) is one of 49 works by Newfoundland and Labrador authors (either native-born or resident) that were submitted by publishers from across the country. Books in any genre, published in 2023, were eligible. The jury consisted of writers Mark Callanan, Shelly Kawaja, and Karen Levine.

The BMO Winterset Award honours the memory of Sandra Fraser Gwyn, St. John’s-born social historian and prize-winning author, who did so much to promote a national awareness of the province’s artists. Her husband, journalist and author Richard Gwyn, O.C., established the award in 2000. It is named after the historic house on Winter Avenue in St. John’s where Sandra grew up.

Holly Hogan is a writer and wildlife biologist with a focus on seabirds. During her more than thirty years as a scientist, she has spent about a thousand days at sea conducting avian and marine mammal surveys and providing educational programming with expedition teams. Her work has taken her to the Arctic and Antarctic Oceans, and every latitude in between. She has been interviewed for CBC Radio, appears in a National Film Board series called Ocean School, and provided expertise on seabirds and the impact of marine plastic for the award-winning documentary Hell or Clean Water (2021). Holly is a mother of three and lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland, with her husband, Michael, and an assortment of cats and dogs, depending on the day

Media enquiries:
Charlene Jackson
Communications Officer
(709) 726-2212 ext. 3

The Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council (ArtsNL) is a non-profit Crown agency created in 1980 by The Arts Council Act. Its mission is to foster and promote the creation and enjoyment of the arts for the benefit of all Newfoundlanders and Labradorians. The Council is governed by a volunteer board of 13 appointed by government, reflecting regional representation of the province. This includes 10 professional artists who provide sectoral representation of the arts community; two community representatives (with an interest in the arts); and one representative of the Department of Tourism, Culture, Arts and Recreation (non-voting). ArtsNL receives an annual allocation of $5.2 million from the Government of Newfoundland and Labrador to support a variety of granting programs, program delivery, office administration, and communications. It also seeks support from the public and private sector. It supports the following artistic disciplines: dance, film, multidiscipline, music, theatre, visual art, and writing.




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