A book by a former three-time winner and another by an author who’s been shortlisted for the Giller award and the Governor General’s award in the past are among the finalists for the 2014 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.

The Orillia-based Stephen Leacock Associates awards the annual literary prize to the book judged to be the most humorous published in Canada, written by a Canadian, in the previous year. This national award carries a $15,000 cash prize courtesy of TD Bank Group, and the winner also receives a silver Leacock memorial medal. The four runners-up will also receive substantial cash prizes for their efforts.

Cassie Stocks won the medal last year for her novel Dance, Gladys, Dance.

This year’s finalists include Arthur Black, who has won the award three times in the past (1997, 2000 and 2006.) Jane Christmas, a self-professed “jaded single mom,” has been shortlisted for her memoir about becoming a nun late in life. The book is called And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life. Cape Breton author Bill Conall’s The Promised Land marks the second time Mr. Conall has been shortlisted for the Leacock award; he also made the shortlist in 2010. Wayne Johnston’s book Son of a Certain Woman is shortlisted this year. Johnston has Giller and Governor General award nominations on his resumé as well. Steve Smith, aka Red Green, earned a shortlist spot this year for his book Red Green’s Beginner’s Guide to Women.

Five national judges from across Canada and a small committee of readers in Orillia will select the winner, who will be announced at a luncheon April 24 at the Best Western Mariposa Inn.

The Leacock Medal for Humour was first awarded in 1947, three years after the death of the author of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Past Leacock winners include W.O. Mitchell, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, Will Ferguson, Mordecai Richler and Robertson Davies.

For more information, contact Michael Hill, President, Stephen Leacock Associates, at mghill@rogers.com or 705-325-9843

Arthur Black, Fifty Shades of Black http://www.douglas-mcintyre.com/book/fifty-shades-of-black

Jane Christmas, And Then There Were Nuns: Adventures in a Cloistered Life http://www.janechristmas.ca/writing.html

Bill Conall, The Promised Land http://boularderieislandpress.com/store/books-bill-conall/

Wayne Johnston, Son of a Certain Woman http://www.randomhouse.ca/books/227903/the-son-of-a-certain-woman-by-wayne-johnston

Steve Smith, Red Green’s Beginner’s Guide to Women http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/steve-smith/red-greens-beginners-guide-to-women-9780385677639.aspx

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