Professor Ted Barris shares Libris Award with astronaut Chris Hadfield
Centennial College journalism professor and author Ted Barris has won this year’s Libris Non-Fiction Award along with Canadian astronaut Chris Hadfield. Barris won for his ambitious historical account, The Great Escape: A Canadian Story, while Hadfield won for his book, An Astronaut's Guide to Life On Earth. Barris was on hand to collect his award presented at the Libris gala in Toronto on June 2.
“Through nearly 40 years as a professional writer and 17 books, I have received applause and praise from the Canadians whose lives and accomplishments I’ve tried to capture in print,” he said. “Thanks to this Libris Award, now the acclaim comes to the word-pictures I've created, their accuracy and their style. I am humbled and proud at the same time.” Barris acknowledged his editor, publisher (Dundurn), book retailers, his relatives and his extended Centennial College family for their support.
Despite the popular Hollywood movie of the same name, The Great Escape is not an American story. It’s a Canadian story – thanks to Barris’s extensive research and interviews with veterans of World War II. The tunnel planner, three of the four principal excavators, the chief of security, one of the intelligence chiefs, one of the forgery chiefs, the organizers of the sand disposal team, the duty pilot and the custodian of the secret shortwave radio inside Stalag Luft III were all Canadian. Professor Barris set the record straight when he was a guest on Peter Mansbridge’s interview program last fall.
The Libris Awards honour the outstanding achievements made by Canadian authors and editors, sales reps and distributors, booksellers and publishers. Winners are nominated and voted on by members of the Canadian bookselling community, using such criteria as media attention, strong sales and increased traffic to bookstores. The Orenda by Joseph Boyden won Fiction Book of the Year and best author.