This Hidden Thing, a novel by Dora Dueck, has been named the McNally Robinson Book of the Year.
Dueck is the author of two books and many articles, stories, poems, essay and reviews. She has served as editor of the MB Herald, the publication of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches.
“If you are surprised, so am I,” said Dueck in her acceptance speech. “I’m happy to be in the company of these wonderful writers.” Dueck, who lives in Winnipeg, also paid tribute to local booksellers McNally Robinson for their dynamic support of Winnipeg’s literary community.
This Hidden Thing is a “humane and fully satisfying depiction of times, places [and] communities,” according to jurors Joan Barfoot, Trevor Cole and Richard Lebrun. Elsewhere, the jury for the Margaret Laurence Award for Fiction, for which This Hidden Thing was shortlisted, describes Dueck’s novel as “a testament to the pleasure of pure storytelling.”
Dueck’s novel follows almost the entirety of the life of Maria Klassen, a young Mennonite woman who immigrates to Manitoba in the 1920s. Maria works for a prosperous family while navigating the intricate experience of life in a new country. The story examines the powerful themes of silence and hiddenness within the Mennonite community, as well as offering realistic portrayals of passion, poverty, war, and family – the everyday experiences of an ordinary yet remarkable woman.
Dueck's novel is the first published by CMU Press, an academic publishing initiative of Canadian Mennonite University, Winnipeg, Man. The announcement was made at the Manitoba Book Awards held April 17, 2011 at the Franco-Manitoban Cultural Centre in St. Boniface.
The Manitoba Book Awards are organized annually by the Manitoba Writers' Guild (MWG) and the Association of Manitoba Book Publishers (AMBP). The award, sponsored by McNally Robinson Booksellers. is awarded each year to the author of the English-language book by a Manitoba author that is judged the best-written by a jury comprised of writers, scholars, publishers, and journalists. The prize carries with it a cash value of $5,000.
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