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Heidi L. M. Jacobs Wins Leacock Medal!

The board of Stephen Leacock Associates is pleased to announce that Heidi Jacobs is the winner of the 2020 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour for her novel Molly of the Mall: Literary Lass and Purveyor of Fine Footwear, published by NeWest Press.  The award of the medal is accompanied by a prize of $15,000. 

Heidi L.M. Jacobs was born and raised in Edmonton. While attending the University of Alberta, she worked in a wide variety of retail jobs, including selling shoes. She is currently the English and History Librarian at the University of Windsor.

The two runners-up, Amy Spurway (for her novel CROW, published by Goose Lane Editions) and Drew Hayden Taylor (for his play Cottagers and Indians, published by Talonbooks) will each receive a prize of $3,000.

The board congratulates all the winners for their splendid efforts.  

Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the medal and cash prizes will not be awarded at the usual Gala Dinner but will be mailed to the winners.  The authors' achievements will be celebrated instead at next year's Gala Dinner, in 2021.

June 5, 2020

Jacobs, Spurway and Taylor named on Medal shortlist

The Stephen Leacock Associates board of directors is pleased to announce the shortlist for this year’s Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour.
In the running for the medal and $15,000 prize are (in alphabetical order by author surname):

Heidi L.M. Jacobs was born and raised in Edmonton. While attending the University of Alberta, she worked in a wide variety of retail jobs, including selling shoes. She is currently the English and History Librarian at the University of Windsor.




Amy Spurway was born and raised on Cape Breton Island, where, at the age of eleven, she landed her first writing and performing gigs with CBC Radio.  She has worked as a freelance writer, communications consultant, editor, and performer.




An Ojibway from the Curve Lake First Nation in Ontario, Drew Hayden Taylor is an award-winning playwright, a journalist/columnist (appearing regularly in several Canadian newspapers and magazines), short-story writer, novelist, television scriptwriter, and has worked on numerous documentaries exploring the Native experience.

“Our panel of judges has selected three finalists from the 84 books that were submitted this year,” said Leacock Associates president Michael Hill. “It’s a gruelling process to read and evaluate all those books and come up with three that merit being named to a ’short’ list. The Leacock Associates thank the readers for their time, effort and expertise.”

The medal winner will be announced on Friday, June 5, 2020, by press release and social media.

May 1, 2020

Leacock Medal Longlist Announced

The Board of Directors of Stephen Leacock Associates is pleased to announce its 2020 long list for the 73rd Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. 

Board President Michael Hill has thanked the Canadian panel of judges from all across Canada and the committee of local readers for their recommendations. 

The full list of the eleven authors and their book titles is given here.  Normally, there are ten books on the list, but this year two books tied for the last place.

April 19, 2020

Gala Weekend Festivities Cancelled!

The following press announcement was released today:

Cancellation of Gala Weekend

ORILLIA, Ont. — The President and Board of Directors of Stephen Leacock Associates regretfully announce that the Gala Weekend activities at which the winner of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour is named have had to be cancelled owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, judging of the 84 submitted books will continue, and a long list of 10 and a short list of 3 will be published on the planned dates of Sunday, April 19, 2020 and Friday, May 1, 2020 respectively. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 5, 2020.

The medal and prize money will be awarded as usual, and the winner and other shortlisted authors will be invited to attend the Gala Weekend in June, 2021 when their achievements will be belatedly recognized.

Cancellation of Student Award Competition

The Board also regrets the necessity of cancelling the Student Humorous Essay Award for this year owing to the disruption to the school year caused by the pandemic . Entries received so far will be returned to their authors and their entry fees will be refunded.

March 30, 2020

Please renew your membership for the coming year!

Our membership year runs from April 1 to March 31 of the following year.   When you renew now, your membership will be paid up until March 31, 2021.

Renewing your membership is a simple process that can be accomplished on-line on our web site.  You can view the instructions by clicking on the following link:

You may pay using a credit or debit card, or by sending us a cheque.  Membership costs a mere $10 per person per year.  This year, we are introducing Life Memberships for $100 (single person) or $200 (dual membership)

When renewing on-line, please update your profile to let us know of any way in which you can participate in the running of our organization.  We welcome your skills and any help we can get. We also welcome any additional donations you may include, and (as we are a charity) will issue tax receipts for any donations $25 and over.

Anyone who is not yet a member and wishes to join us can fill in our on-line membership application form at this link:

March 5, 2020

Final entry count is 84!

All book submissions for the 2020 Leacock Medal have now been received, some having been in transit for several days.  The final count is 84, which is the largest number of entries we have ever received.  The list can be found here.

January 21, 2020

62 and Counting!

62 books have now been submitted for the 2020 Leacock Medal.  Only two weeks left!  Hurry, before time runs out!

December16, 2019

Keep submitting those books! 

We have now received 45 books for the 2020 Leacock Medal.  Our deadline for submissions is December 31, 2019, so there are only four weeks left!  Don't delay!

Keep track of the books received so far by clicking here.  Interested in submitting a book?  Then see the rules for entry and submission instructions.

December 3, 2019

New President and Board Member for Stephen Leacock Associates

Michael HillAt our Annual General Meeting on November 3, the appointment of Michael Hill as President of Stephen Leacock Associates was approved by the members in attendance.  Michael had previously served as our president for several years up until 2016.  He is well known as the former artistic director of the Mariposa Folk Festival, and recently wrote a history of the festival.  Michael replaces Nathan Taylor, to whom the Board is very grateful for his efforts for the Associates over the past three years despite trying circumstances. Nathan will still continue to be a board member.

The members also approved the appointment of Daphne Mainprize as a new board member.  Daphne was formerly the curator of the Leacock Museum. She has retired to Orillia after serving in several capacities for other organizations.  Daphne will be heading up an important initiative, about which more information will be published later.

We welcome both Michael and Daphne and look forward to benefitting from their contributions.

November 4, 2019

Students - Do you want to win cash prizes?

Stephen Leacock Associates is re-instating the students’ humour competition for humorous stories or humorous personal memoirs for those between 14 and 19 years. They may be students in public, separate, private or home school situations in Ontario.

There will be cash prizes for the authors of the three winning student essays. More details will be published shortly.

See our Student Award page for the Entry Conditions and examples of essays by previous winners.

The three winners will be honoured at the Laugh With Leacock Night, the Friday of The Leacock Gala Weekend, June 5, 2020. There they will read their pieces and receive their cash awards. In addition, each will receive a Gift Certificate towards a humour book of their choice from Manticore Books who will be onsite that evening. As well, they will hear excerpts from the books of the three finalists for The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour and get to meet these and other professional authors.

Please spread the word about this more-than-worthwhile competition!  FYI: There is a module on Humour writing on our website here.

Inquiries may be made to

November 1, 2019

Book entries are coming in!

So far, we have received 14 book entries for the 2020 Leacock Medal.  Keep track of the books received so far by clicking here.  Interested in submitting a book?  Then see the rules for entry and submission instructions.

October 5, 2019

AGM will be held on November 3, 2019

The Board of Stephen Leacock Associates will hold its annual general meeting November 3, 2019 at Swanmore Hall, on the Leacock Museum grounds.

For more than 70 years, the Leacock Associates have awarded the annual Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, along with a $15,000 cash prize, for the best Canadian book of humour. It is the only national award of its kind in Canada.

Members of the public are welcome to attend the annual general meeting, the public session of which will commence at 3 p.m.

October 3, 2019

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2020 Leacock Medal

Authors and publishers are encouraged to send in their entries now for the 2020 Leacock Medal for Humour.  Details about the submission rules and process are given on our Leacock Medal Award page.  The deadline is December 31, 2019.  The list of entries received so far is given here.

September 19, 2020

Cathal Kelly wins 2019 Leacock Medal

At a packed awards dinner on June 8, Cathal Kelly won out against the other shortlisted authors to win the Leacock Medal for Humour for 2019 for his book Boy Wonders (published by Doubleday Canada).  Over the course of a hilarious evening hosted by former winner Ian Ferguson as master of ceremonies, diners were treated to several exhibitions of humour by former winners of the medal, as well as Cathal himself, all sewn together by Ian's wit.  

The virtues of each book were amusingly extolled by Terry Fallis (for Ali Bryan's The Figgs), John Levesque (for Mark Critch's Son of a Critch) and Joe Kertes (for Cathal Kelly's Boy Wonders).  Another highlight of the evening was the introduction of Drew Hayden Taylor as the new Mayor (or Grand Chief) of Mariposa, following in the footsteps of Dan Needles who retired last year.  Drew proved himself to be a worthy successor with his amusing anecdotes.

Diners left at the end of the evening sated with food and wit.

Gala Dinner Photo

Mark Critch, Cathal Kelly and Ali Bryan after the award winner was announced.

June 8, 2019


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