Announcing the 2017 PWAC Award winners

PWAC presented its annual writing and service awards along with two special awards at the Awards Gala Banquet held May 19, 2017.

The two special awards included the newly established President's Award to honour contributions to PWAC that go well beyond the call of duty and the rarely bestowed Lifetime Membership Award.

The PWAC Annual Awards for writing include the Barbara Novak Award, the Best Feature Article Award, the Best Short Article Award. Annual service awards include the Editor of the Year Award, the Lawrence Jackson Award, and PWAC's Regional Volunteer Awards.

 Writing awards

Barbara Novak Award for Excellence in Humour and/or Personal Essay Writing

2017 winner: Kelly S. Thompson for her essay "Strip, Reveal and Sex Appeal" published in the Caitlin Press anthology Boobs: Women explore what it means to have breasts.

The Barbara Novak Award for Excellence in Humour and/or Personal Essay Writing was established by PWAC to honour the memory of the late Barbara Novak, a long-time member and contributor to PWAC. The Novak family judges the entries and endows the award. PWAC is grateful to the Novak family for their support and participation.

Best Feature Article Award


  • Mark Cardwell for "Davie Shipyard on Rising Tide" published in The Montreal Gazette.
  • Mark Cardwell for "King of Clicks" published in Canadian Grocer.
  • Vivien Fellegi for "Books Behind Bars" published in The United Church Observer.
  • donalee Moulton for "Dark Days" published in OHS Canada.
  • donalee Moulton for "The slippery slopes of attack and defense" published in Forensic Accounting and Fraud.
  • Roberta Staley for "Oral History" published in Trek.

2017 winner: Mark Cardwell for "King of Clicks".

Runner-up (tie): donalee Moulton for "Dark Days" and Roberta Staley for "Oral History".

Best Short Article Award


  • Mark Cardwell for "Cardboard vs. Containers" published in Canadian Grocer.
  • Vivien Fellegi for "Holocaust Regeneration" published in Now Magazine.
  • Vivien Fellegi for "Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Iran, continues to inspire" published online and in print by Canadian Immigrant.
  • Lisa McLean for "Where Lobsters Live" published in Ontario Farmer.
  • donalee Moulton for "U.S. banks join push for shell company transparency" published in The Bottom Line.
  • Nancy Painter for "Sister Survivors" published in Forward.

2017 winner: Vivien Fellegi for "Marina Nemat, author of Prisoner of Iran, continues to inspire".

Runner-up: Lisa McLean for "Where Lobsters Live".

Service awards

Editor of the Year Award

The 2017 Editor of the Year is Karl Low, of The Voice Magazine, which is produced for, and funded by, the Athabasca University (Edmonton, AB) Student Union Karl exemplifies all that an editor should be: a mentor, approachable, on-point with language and grammar, and above all, genuinely interested in and supportive of writers.

Nominations for this award are submitted by PWAC members to the PWAC Board of Directors. 

Lawrence Jackson Outstanding Achievement Award

The 2017 Award was presented to Veronica Leonard (pictured below, left, with President's Award winner Dale Kerr). Veronica is the former Ontario Regional Director and currently serves as PWAC’s Membership Coordinator. Prior to moving to Ontario, Veronica was very active in PWAC’s Atlantic region. During her long-association Veronica Leonard and Dale Kerrwith PWAC, Veronica has given unstintingly of her time and expertise.  She has served as a communications consultant for three federal government departments and has developed a freelance writing career that spans numerous thematic areas such as entrepreneurship, travel, wine, new Canadians, education, human resources and disabilities.  She is currently a travel blogger for Bay of Quinte Tourism and

Prior to the 1998 AGM, PWAC recognized outstanding contributions to the association through its Special Achievement Award. Following the passing of a much loved and respected former President, Lawrence Jackson, the award was renamed in his honour.

 2017 PWAC Regional Volunteer Award winners

  • donalee Moulton, Atlantic Region
  • Julie Barlow, Quebec Region
  • Karen Luttrell, Ontario Region
  • Lynda Philippsen, BC Region

PWAC survives and thrives thanks to the efforts of our solid corps of volunteers. To recognize this important work, PWAC annually presents a Volunteer Award for each region. Volunteers who best exemplify dedication to the Association are nominated from within their chapter. These awards are presented by the Regional Directors for each region as representatives of the National Board of Directors.

Special awards

President's Award

The President's Award was established this year to honour contributions to PWAC that go well beyond the call of duty, often at a personal or professional cost. This award is not an annual award and the recipient selection is at the discretion of the standing PWAC President. In 2017, two awards were presented:

  • Dale Kerr, PWAC's outgoing Treasurer. Even in the best of times, the Treasurer's job goes unappreciated. When Dale undertook this role in 2015, it was far from the best of times. Through diligent, hard work, she brought order to our financial records and turned our negative net worth into a positive. She has been an excellent steward of PWAC's financial affairs, and has spent time on PWAC business when she should have been attending to her companies and her family.
  • George Butters, PWAC's Technical Director. George rescued our digital assets (especially and in 2015 and 2016 when they were in disarray and has provided PWAC with solid technological infrastructure when we needed it the most. He dealt with two hacks that took our websites down, while bringing our membership database into the 21st century, rescuing us from "Excel Hell". He often gave preference to PWAC over his other paid work, and did so while coping with family illnesses.

Lifetime Membership Award

On very rare occasions, the PWAC Board of Directors will express its appreciation to an exceptional member through the awarding of a lifetime membership, a prestigious gift for its rarity and symbolism.

The 2017 award was presented to Kathe Lieber and marks only the third time in PWAC history that this award has been bestowed.

Kathe Lieber (pictured centre, below, with Prairies and the North Regional Director Doreen Pendgracs (left) and new President Christine Peets (right)) has been a PWAC member since 1982 and has attended every PWAC Conference, or AGM as she calls them, since 1984. She has been instrumental in organizing Conference traditions which include after-hours social activities such as mangled Shakespeare, other literary offerings and the PWAC troubadours.

Doreen Pendgracs, Kathe Lieber and Christine PeetsKathe has served in numerous leadership roles through the years including National President and Quebec Regional Director, and has been a long-time volunteer editor of PWAC newsletters. Most recently, she served as Past President of the National Board of Directors (2015-17) and as PWAC's Nominating Officer for 2015/16 and 2016/17. She is currently a member of the Communications Committee.

Kathe's contribution as Past President been vital. She provided continuity and a historical perspective during PWAC's rebuilding, offering sage counsel and guidance when it was needed.

A writer, editor, and translator working in French and English for a wide roster of clients, Kathe is also a member of Editors Canada, but says that PWAC is her “tribe.”

 Acknowledgments and Thanks

PWAC would like to acknowledge the work and efforts of those involved in the 2017 judging process for the Best Short Article and Best Feature Article awards.

Thanks go out to Alex Roslin for his work in coordinating the judging process and to the individual judges themselves who kindly gave of their time to select the finalists, winners and runners-up.

Alex is a former president of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting and an award winning writer. His investigative and writing awards include three Canadian Association of Journalists (CAJ) prizes for investigative reporting, a gold prize in the National Magazine Awards (NMAs) and nine nominations for CAJ awards and NMAs.  He is also a former president of the Canadian Centre for Investigative Reporting and an award-winning writer. He is the author of the book Police Wife: The Secret Epidemic of Police Domestic Violence, whose first edition won the Arlene Book Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors and was nominated for four other international book awards.”

Best Short Article Judges

  • Janice LaDuke: Janice is a reference librarian, writer, leader of creative writing workshops and owner/manager of Black Cat Books in Lennoxville, QC.
  • Christopher ParĂ©: Christopher is director of communications for Humane Society International/Canada and a widely-published freelance writer.
  • Brian Gabrial: Brian is an associate professor in the Department of Journalism at Concordia University. He is the author of The Press and Slavery in America, 1791–1859 The Melancholy Effect of Popular Excitement published by University of South Carolina Press.

Best Feature Article Judges

  • Ann Davidson: Ann was a regular contributor to The Montreal Gazette's West Island edition op-ed column for seven years and worked for years in community development. She is now the primary writer for The Brome County News, a weekly supplement of The Sherbrooke Record.
  • Morris Karp: Morris was an investigative producer at CBC-TV's The Fifth Estate for 25 years. He retired from the CBC in 2016 and took an editing position with a magazine devoted to outdoor living in Manitoba and Northern Ontario.
  • Julia Rohan: Julia was a runner-up in the CBC-Quebec Writers' Federation Short Story Contest in 2002 and was published in an anthology by VĂ©hicule Press the same year. In 2016, she completed her third book of the Weaverworld fantasy trilogy.

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