The Whistler Independent Book Awards 2020 Judges

Gail Anderson DargatzFinalists’ Judge for Fiction

Gail Anderson Dargarz has been published worldwide in English and in many other languages in more than fifteen territories. Her latest book, The Spawning Grounds, was released in September 2016 and is her first literary novel since the 2007 bestseller Turtle Valley. The Cure for Death by Lightning, met with terrific acclaim and was a finalist for the prestigious Giller Prize. This international bestseller also won the UK’s Betty Trask Award, the BC Book Prize for Fiction and the VanCity Book Prize, and was a finalist for the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award.  Gail’s second novel, A Recipe for Bees, was again a finalist for the Giller Prize and was nominated for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. A Rhinestone Button was also a bestseller and Gail’s first book, The Miss Hereford Stories, was a finalist for the Leacock Medal for Humour. The Spawning Grounds was nominated for the Sunburst Award, recognizing Canadian literature of the fantastic, as well the Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award. The novel was also short-listed for the Canadian Author’s Association literary award for fiction.

Darcie Friesen HossackFinalists’ Judge for Fiction

Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and, for eleven years, wrote food memoir for various western Canadian newspapers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the 2011 Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize and the 2012 OLA Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. She is at work on the second draft of a novel, Strange Fruit, which marries Seventh-day Adventists into the Mennonite homescapes for which she’s already known.

JJ LeeFinalists’ Judge for Non-fiction

JJ Lee is a well-known author, journalist and broadcaster. In 2014, he hosted the CBC radio show, Head to Toe (now available in podcast). His fashion and personal essays are published in ELLE Canada. His memoir piece, “ELLE First: You are beautiful”, tied for Gold at the 2011 National Magazine Award for Best Short Feature. His debut book, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the BC Book Prize Huber Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Literary Non-Fiction. It was longlisted for the 2018 Canada Reads.

Sue Oakey-BakerFinalists’ Judge for Non-fiction

Sue Oakey Baker is a teacher, guide, painter and a writer and holds degrees in French Literature and Language Education.  Her photographs and writing have been published in Pique Newsmagazine, the Alpine Club of Canada Gazette and the  Canadian Alpine Journal. Her memoir, Finding Jim, was published in 2013 by Rocky Mountain Books.