Dartmouth Book Awards

DARTMOUTH BOOK AWARDS

Margaret & John Savage
First Book Award (Nonfiction)

The Margaret & John Savage First Book Award (Nonfiction) is awarded annually to an outstanding debut book of nonfiction by a Nova Scotia author published in the preceding year that has contributed to the understanding of Nova Scotia and its peoples. It was first awarded in 2004 as the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award. In 2018, this original award was split into two awards, one for fiction titles and one for nonfiction titles.

Past Winners

2024

Winner

Karen Pinchin
Karen Pinchin, Kings of Their Own Ocean: Tuna, Obsession, and the Future of our Seas
(Knopf)

Finalist

Brandon Doucet
About Canada: Dental Care
(Fernwood Publishing)

Finalist

Heather Fegan
Gutsy: Living My Best Life with Crohn’s Disease and Ulcerative Colitis
(Nimbus Publishing)

2023

Winner

Mandy Rennehan
The Blue Collar CEO: My Gutsy Journey from Rookie Contractor to Multi-Millionaire Construction Boss
(HarperCollins)

Finalist

Kate Beaton
Ducks: Two Years in the Oil Sands
(Drawn & Quarterly)

Finalist

Martha Paynter
Abolition to Abortion: Reproductive Health and Justice in Canada
(Fernwood Publishing)

2022

Winner

Joanne Gallant
A Womb in the Shape of a Heart: My Story of Miscarriage and Motherhood
(Nimbus Publishing)

Finalist

Susan MacLeod
Dying for Attention: A Graphic Memoir of Nursing Home Care
(Conundrum Press)

Finalist

Don Oliver
A Matter of Equality: The Life’s Work of Senator Don Oliver
(Nimbus Publishing)

2021

Winner

Garry Leeson
The Dome Chronicles
(Nevermore Press)

Finalist

Tyler LeBlanc
Acadian Driftwood: One Family and the Great Expulsion
(Goose Lane Editions)

Finalist

Carol Taylor
Capturing Crime
(New World Publishing)

2020

Winner

Gemma Hickey
Almost Feral
(Breakwater Books)

Finalist

Lois Legge
Wounded Hearts: Memories of the Halifax Protestant Orphans’ Home
(Nimbus Publishing)

Finalist

Allison Watson
Transplanted: My Cystic Fibrosis Double-Lung Transplant Story
(Nimbus Publishing)

2019

Winner

Mark Critch
Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir
(Viking Canada)

Finalist

Lezlie Lowe
No Place To Go: How Public Toilets Fail Our Private Needs
(Coach House Books)

Finalist

RC Shaw
Louisbourg or Bust: A Surfer’s Wild Ride Down Nova Scotia’s Drowned Coast
(Pottersfield Press)

2018

Winner

Jen Powley
Just Jen: Thriving Through Multiple Sclerosis
(Fernwood Publishing)

Finalist

Pauline Dakin
Run, Hide, Repeat: A Memoir of a Fugitive Childhood
(Viking Canada)

Finalist

Aaron Williams
Chasing Smoke: A Wildfire Memoir
(Harbour Publishing)

Prior to 2018, the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award (Nonfiction) was known simply as the Margaret & John Savage First Book Award, for which both fiction and nonfiction titles were eligible.

2017

Winner

Erin Wunker
Notes from a Feminist Killjoy: Essays on Everyday Life
(Book*hug Press)

Finalist

James McLeod
Turmoil, as Usual: Politics in Newfoundland and Labrador and the road to the 2015 Election
(Creative Book Publishing)

Finalist

Charlie Rhindress
I’m Not What I Seem: The many stories of Rita MacNeil's life
(Formac Publishing)

2016

Winner

Sarah Mian
When The Saints
(HarperCollins)

Finalist

Gerard Doran
A Stroke in Time
(Flanker Press)

Finalist

Janet Maybee
Aftershock: The Halifax Explosion and the Persecution of Pilot Francis Mackey
(Nimbus Publishing)

2015

Winner

Megan Gail Coles
Eating Habits of the Chronically Lonesome
(Creative Book Publishing / Breakwater Books)

Finalist

Vivien Shotwell
Vienna Nocturne
(Doubleday Canada)

Finalist

Alan Doyle
Where I Belong: Small Town to Great Big Sea
(Doubleday Canada)

2014

Winner

Charlotte R. Mendel
Turn Us Again
(Fernwood Publishing)

Finalist

Janet E. Cameron
Cinnamon Toast and the End of the World
(Hachette Books Ireland)

Finalist

Stephen Law
Tailings of Warren Peace
(Fernwood Publishing)

2013

Winner

Keir Lowther
Dirty Bird
(Tightrope Books)

Finalist

Nicole Dixon
High-Water Mark
(The Porcupine's Quill)

Finalist

Lesleyanne Ryan
Braco
(Breakwater Books)

2012

Winner

Riel Nason
The Town That Drowned
(Goose Lane Editions)

Finalist

Heather Jessup
The Lightning Field
(Gaspereau Press)

Finalist

Michael Murphy
A Description of the Blazing World
(Freehand Books)

2011

Winner

Alexander MacLeod
Light Lifting
(Biblioasis)

Finalist

Kate Evans
Where Old Ghosts Meet
(Breakwater Books)

Finalist

Jerry Lockett
Captain James Cook in Atlantic Canada: The Adventurer & Map Maker's Formative Years
(Formac Publishing)

2010

Winner

Shandi Mitchell
Under This Unbroken Sky
(Penguin Group Canada)

Finalist

Greg Malone
You Better Watch Out: A Memoir
(Knopf Canada)

Finalist

Binnie Brennan
Harbour View
(Quattro Books)

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