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Kertes, King and Murray named on Leacock Medal shortlist

ORILLIA, Ont. — The president and board of directors of Stephen Leacock Associates are pleased to announce the shortlist for the 2021 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. In the running for the medal and $15,000 prize are, in alphabetical order by author surname:

“The panel of judges from across the country has selected three finalists from the 77 books that were submitted this year for the Leacock Medal for Humour,” said Leacock Associates president Michael Hill. “After evaluating all the books submitted, these three were deemed to be of high literary quality and the most humorous to be submitted. These books - from a former Leacock medal winner, an RBC Taylor prize winner and a first-time novelist - are worthy of national pride!”

The winner will be announced on Friday, June 4, 2021, by press release and social media. The usual Gala Dinner has had to be cancelled yet again owing to the COVID19 pandemic. The shortlisted authors will be invited to the Gala Weekend festivities in 2022, where they will join the shortlisted authors from 2020 and 2022.

May 3, 2021

Leacock Medal Longlist Revealed!

2021 Long List

The Stephen Leacock Associates are pleased to announce the 2021 long list for the annual Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. Handed-out for the past 74 years, this annual award recognizes excellence in Canadian literary humour. Past winners have included Terry Fallis, Will Ferguson, W.O.Mitchell, Stuart McLean and Mordecai Richler. Board President Michael Hill thanks the national panel of judges and a committee of local readers for their thoughtful recommendations with this “long list.” The three finalists for the award will be named on Monday, May 3, 2021, with the medal winner being announced on Friday, June 4, 2021.

The list of the 10 long-listed books can be found here.

April 19, 2021

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, 2022.

Renewing your membership is a simple process that can be accomplished on-line on our web site 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.  Last year, we introduced Life Memberships for $100 (single person) or $200 (dual membership).

There are many people who have honorary, lifetime or free term memberships.  During the renewal process, the system will tell you if you already have one of these memberships, and, where applicable, will tell you the expiry date.

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 9, 2021

Gala Weekend Festivities Cancelled Again!

The following press announcement was released today:

Cancellation of Gala WeekendGala Weekend Cancellation

ORILLIA, Ont. — The President and Board of Directors of Stephen Leacock Associates regret to 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 for the second year owing to the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, judging of the 77 submitted books will continue, and a long list of 10 and a short list of 3 will be published on the planned dates of Monday, April 19, 2021 and Monday, May 3, 2021 respectively. The winner will be announced on Friday, June 4, 2021.

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, 2022 when their achievements will be belatedly recognized.

75th Anniversary of the Leacock Medal

As 2022 marks the 75th anniversary of the Leacock Medal, the festivities on the Gala Weekend will celebrate not only the finalists and winners for 2020, 2021 and 2022, but also the role that the medal award has played in the careers of many Canadian authors over the past 75 years.  The Gala Weekend promises to be a celebration like no other in our history.

Student Award Competition

The Student Humorous Essay Award for this year will proceed as planned.  The deadline for submissions is April 15, with winners to be announced on May 15, 2021.  For more information, please see the Student Awards page on our web site.

February 15, 2021

Snapchat campaign launched to promote student award

We have launched a Snapchat advertising campaign to run from January 18th to February 15th to advertise the Student Humorous Essay competition for Ontario students from the ages of 14 to 19.  The deadline for submissions is April 15, 2021, and winners will be announced on May 15th.  More details are given on our student awards page.  At the same time, we emailed as many Ontario high schools as possible, and released a press announcement to Ontario local newspapers.  Results from the campaign so far have been encouraging, as visits to the student awards page quadrupled in January compared to the same month last year.  Final results will be measured by the number of essays we receive.

The ad is shown on the right.  Note the smile on Leacock's face!

February 5, 2021

Submissions for the 2021 medal have now been closed

As of the deadline date of December 31, 2020, 77 submissions have been received on-line.  However, we have still to receive and/or process the packages of books for 9 submissions, so the final entry list is not yet complete.  Packages must be postmarked no later than the deadline date.

January 1, 2021

70 books submitted for the 2021 medal so far

As of December 14, 2020, 70 books have been submitted on-line for the 2021 Leacock Medal for Humour.  The deadline for submissions is Thursday, December 31, 2020, by which time the actual books, submission fee and author's bio must be mailed to us, postmarked no later than the deadline date.  So far, 47 packages of books have been received, verified and confirmed.

Don't delay, authors and publishers, get your submissions in as soon as possible!

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 15, 2020

Glasswaters Foundation confirms grants to endowment fund

glasswaters foundationThe Glasswaters Foundation, based in Campbell River, BC, has generously committed to an annual grant of $20,000 a year for five years to the Stephen Leacock Associates endowment fund that is administered by the Community Foundation of Orillia and Area (CFOA).

As a result of the publicity surrounding the recent Leacock Medal fundraising campaign, the arts committee of the Glasswaters Foundation invited Leacock Associates to submit a proposal for funding, which has now been approved.

Kathy Smail, Executive Director of the Glasswaters Foundation, said "We at glasswaters value the arts and recognize the necessity of humour in these difficult times.  We’re pleased to contribute to securing the future of the Leacock Award."

Michael Hill, President of Stephen Leacock Associates, commented "Our organization is so grateful to the Glasswaters Foundation. After several years of financial insecurity - that frankly threatened the continuation of the Leacock Medal for Humour - having such a group generously donate to our endowment fund helps to keep the award not only afloat but flourishing".

We thank the Glasswaters Foundation for its very generous support.  The Leacock endowment fund was set up last year by two local benefactors, Jim Dykes and Chris Hazel, with the aim of building it up eventually to the point of generating sufficient income to support the Leacock Medal awards in their entirety.

November 4, 2020

Students - You can win a cash prize!

We are reinstating the students’ humour competition in 2021 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. Because the competition was cancelled in 2020 owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, we are honouring entries from students who missed out, even if they have gone on to post-secondary education.

There will be cash prizes for the authors of the three winning student essays. First prize is $1,000, second prize is $700, and third prize is $300.

The student award prizes are sponsored by the Dunkley Charitable Foundation.

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

The three winners will be honoured at the Meet the Authors Night, the Friday of The Leacock Gala Weekend, June 4, 2021. There they will read their pieces and receive their cash awards. Two commemorative certificates will be given each student, noting their accomplishment - one for themselves and one for their school.  In addition, each will receive a Gift Certificate towards a humour book of their choice from Manticore Books who will be onsite that evening. They will also 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

October 24, 2019

Dunkley Foundation to sponsor Leacock Medal

The Stephen Leacock Associates Board of Directors is pleased to announce that the Dunkley Charitable Foundation has generously stepped forward to sponsor the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour award and its associated student essay competition for the next five years.

 Brad and Sara Dunkley, trustees of the Foundation, said that as native Orillians they were keen to ensure that the award receives the financial backing that it deserves.  Brad won the student essay competition in 1993, and fondly remembers attending the Gala Award Dinner where John Levesque received that year's Medal, and Harry Boyle entertained guests with his speech as the Mayor of Mariposa.

Brad and Sara Dunkley

 Michael Hill, President of Stephen Leacock Associates, said that the Stephen Leacock Associates has always been a non-profit group funded by outside sources. Thanks to those generous funders, we have been able to award monetary prizes to our great humour writers over the past 73 years.  After three years without a sponsor, the Dunkley Foundation's generous support of the award is very welcome, and the consistent funding will enable the Associates to further develop the Leacock Medal award and student competition.

 The sponsorship agreement came about as a result of the publicity surrounding the recent fundraising campaign, and will be reviewed by both parties in 2025 with a view to renewing it for another five years.

 Stephen Leacock Associates thanks all those generous donors who have contributed to the fundraising campaign over the last two months.  The proceeds of the campaign will now be used to shore up our financial reserves, and will enable us to explore other potential initiatives such as funding a writer-in-residence program and regular humour nights to maintain awareness of the award.

October 15, 2020

AGM set for November 8, 2020

The Board of Stephen Leacock Associates will hold its annual general meeting on Sunday, November 8, 2020 using the Zoom online meeting software.  Members of Stephen Leacock Associates and members of the public are welcome to attend the AGM, the public session of which will commence at 3 p.m.  Anyone wishing to attend the meeting should contact the Associates at to register no later than Friday, November 6, 2020.  Registrants will be emailed the link to the meeting and instructions on how to use Zoom.

October 8, 2020

Submissions are being accepted for the 2021 Leacock Medal

Authors and publishers are encouraged to send in their entries now for the 2021 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

October 8, 2020

Heidi Jacobs makes her acceptance speech

Finally, a month after the event, we have a short video of Heidi's acceptance speech that she made on a flying visit to Orillia in August.

September 20, 2020

Fundraising campaign kicks off for Leacock Medal

Fundraising Campaign ButtonFor the past three years, the Leacock Medal has lacked a major sponsor, and the prizes for those years have been funded out of reserves.  Those reserves are now running low, and are barely sufficient to fund the awards for 2021.  Consequently, the board of Stephen Leacock Associates has decided to launch a multi-pronged fundraising campaign to obtain both short-term and long-term funding.  The initial thrust will be a crowd-funding campaign that launches today on the FundRazr platform at

While we pursue longer-term financing through sponsorship and grants, the aim of the FundRazr campaign is to shore up our finances in the short term.  Our ultimate aim is to achieve self-financing for the Medal by building on the endowment fund that was established last year by generous donations from local benefactors.

The FundRazr campaign will reach out to the literary community, publishers, authors and the general public to spread the word about the difficulties we are in, and to encourage donations to keep the medal alive beyond 2021.

The board members are confident that with the help of the literary community and the public the Leacock Medal will survive for many more years.

August 17, 2020

Heidi Jacobs "presented" with Leacock Medal!

Heidi in front of Leacock HomeOn her way to Algonquin Park, Heidi Jacobs, the winner of this year's medal, and her husband Dale stopped off in Orillia.  Jay Fallis, one of our Leacock Associates board members, took the opportunity to persuade her to be "presented" with the medal in front of the Leacock Museum.  Owing to the COVID-19 pandemic, the Gala Award Dinner was not held in June this year, so Heidi has missed out on being recognized so far for her achievement. 

There were a few problems on the way to making this happen.  First and foremost was the fact that the medal stocks are stored in a bank vault in a temporarily-closed bank branch, and are not accessible in order to engrave one with Heidi's name.  For the presentation, one held in the Leacock Museum that was originally presented to Will Ferguson (which is a story in itself) was borrowed for the day.  Secondly, because of COVID, no-one could shake hands with Heidi, so this was a photo event only.  Heidi kindly made a short acceptance speech which we have recorded and will publish in a few days.

Despite the lack of hoopla, we applaud Heidi's achievement and send her our heartfelt congratulations.

August 15, 2020

Submissions are now being accepted for the 2021 Leacock Medal

Authors and publishers are encouraged to send in their entries now for the 2021 Leacock Medal for Humour.  Details about the submission rules and process are given on our Leacock Medal Award page.  The deadline is December 31, 2020. 

August 3, 2020

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


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2020 Fundraising Campaign Donors

The donors listed below each contributed $100 or more to our August/September/October on-line fundraising campaign. We are very grateful to all of you (including people who donated lesser amounts) for your support of the Leacock medal.

Anonymous Ramara, ON
Richard Eedy St. Mary's, ON
Jonathon Tait Barrie, ON
Lesley Holland Toronto, ON
Christina Perry Conception Bay South, NL
Valerie McDonald Toronto, ON
Kit Dobson Calgary, AB
Anonymous Bracebridge, ON
Margaret Atwood Toronto, ON
Leslie Dobson Orillia, ON
John Frankel Toronto, ON
Derek Ford Orillia, ON
David Wimsett Kentville, NS
Sheila Burvill Ottawa, ON
Anonymous Dunrobin, ON
Anonymous London, ON
David Eastaugh Toronto, ON
Karla Tremblay Toronto, ON
Verla Hall Orillia, ON
Peter Babiak Vancouver, BC
Anonymous Toronto, ON
Nickle Family Foundation Calgary, AB
Dick and Wendy Johnston Orillia, ON
William Greenizan Toronto, ON
Ted Tiffany Midland, ON
Steve Skurka Toronto, ON
Mary Lou Fallis Port Hope, ON
Michael Mallinson Toronto, ON
June Maresca Markham, ON
Gilbert Storey Richmond Hill, ON
Joan Dejesus Georgetown, ON
R Bruce MacKeen Guysborough, NS
Mauer Chiarello Toronto, ON
Melanie Hazell Toronto, ON
Peter Nosalik Waterloo, ON
Anonymous Toronto, ON
Graham Yeates Kitchener, ON
Edwin and Margaret Johnson London, ON
Susan Grant Orillia, ON
Anonymous Hafford, SK
Grant Dickson Toronto,ON
Donnajean Jefferies Orillia, ON
Anonymous Calgary, AB
Barbara Bissonette Washago, ON
Richard (Dick) Bourgeois-Doyle OTTAWA, ON
Drew Taylor Curve Lake, ON
Douglas Gibson Toronto, ON
Lynn Murray and Bob Gauldie Orillia, ON
Anonymous Windsor, ON
Marion Reidel Guelph, ON
Andrew Lam Toronto, ON
Daniel Byers Orillia, ON
Anne Kallin Orillia, ON
Joe and Pat Dell'Aquila Cambridge, ON
Judy Millar Calgary, AB
Derek Ford Orillia, ON
William Tweed Toronto, ON
Anonymous Vancouver, BC
Terry Toews Swift Current, SK
Marian Robinson North Bay, ON
Anonymous Eston, SK
Beverley Slopen Toronto, ON
Caged Element Inc. Etobicoke, ON
Karleen Bradford Orillia, ON
Anonymous Bristol, UK
Janie Chang Vancouver, BC
Sandra Thomson Nanaimo, BC
Lynda Simmons Burlington, ON
Christopher Cameron Campbellford, ON
Christine Barbetta Toronto, ON
Peggy Bereza Victoria, BC
Vivian Carter Unionville, ON
Kenneth Drope Keswick, ON
Wendy and Fred Fallis Coldwater, ON
Elsa Lam Toronto, ON
Susan Juby Nanaimo, BC
Anonymous Orillia, ON
Doris McLean Orillia, ON
William Deverell Pender Island, BC
Jodie Schaefer Barrie, ON
Mark Lefebvre Waterloo, ON
Jay Fallis Orillia, ON
Terry Fallis Toronto, ON
Words Indeed Publishing Toronto, ON
Sue Mallinson Orillia, ON
David Mallinson Orillia, ON