Advertisement

Holly Hogan wins N.L. literary award with book about her voyages at sea

Message in a Bottle is a book by Holly Hogan, was declared the winner of the BMO Winterset Award on Thursday.  (Knopf Canada, Dennis Minty - image credit)
Message in a Bottle is a book by Holly Hogan, was declared the winner of the BMO Winterset Award on Thursday. (Knopf Canada, Dennis Minty - image credit)
Message in a Bottle is a book by Holly Hogan, was declared the winner of the BMO Winterset Award on Thursday.
Message in a Bottle is a book by Holly Hogan, was declared the winner of the BMO Winterset Award on Thursday.

Message in a Bottle, a non-fiction book by Holly Hogan, was declared the winner of the BMO Winterset Award on Thursday. (Knopf Canada, Dennis Minty)

Wildlife biologist Holly Hogan has won the 2023 BMO Winterset Award for her non-fiction book Message in a Bottle.

Hogan takes home $12,500 as part of the award that celebrates writing excellence in Newfoundland and Labrador, managed by ArtsNL. The award ceremony was held on Thursday at Government House in St. John's.

Message in a Bottle, Hogan's first book, details the animals she encountered above and below the sea during her 30-year voyage across the ocean, and the threat that plastic left in the waters poses to their existence.

The other two finalists were Michael Crummey for his book The Innocents, and William Ping for his book Hollow Bamboo. But they didn't go home empty-handed: they each won $3,000.

Hogan couldn't make it to the ceremony — she was at sea yet again, off the coast of Nova Scotia. So her fellow finalist, and husband, Crummey, read from a note she had written beforehand.

"I am deeply honored to have been named the winner," Crummey read to the crowd in the ceremony, on Hogan's behalf.

"First and foremost, though, my thanks go to my husband Michael. This book would not have been possible without him. He is one of the wisest, kindest, most generous, handsomest men I've ever known," he read and the crowd responded with cheers and laughter.

Michael Crummey stands in front of the crowd on behalf of his wife, the winner, Holly Hogan, who couldn't attend because she was out working at sea.
Michael Crummey stands in front of the crowd on behalf of his wife, the winner, Holly Hogan, who couldn't attend because she was out working at sea.

Michael Crummey stands in front of the crowd on behalf of his wife, the winner Holly Hogan, who couldn't attend because she was out working at sea. (Heather Barrett/CBC)

Crummy then said he is thrilled that Hogan won, revealing that in the three years he watched her write the book, she wasn't happy.

"It was an incredibly complicated and difficult subject. And she put a ton of work into getting the science right," Crummey said.

"She did a masterful job of that. And I think the reason she persevered is because the subject matter was so important to her."

William Ping, left, and Michael Crummey, 2023 BMO Winterset Award shortlisted finalists. They each won $3,000 for being finalists.
William Ping, left, and Michael Crummey, 2023 BMO Winterset Award shortlisted finalists. They each won $3,000 for being finalists.

William Ping, left, and Michael Crummey, 2023 BMO Winterset Award shortlisted finalists. They each won $3,000 for being finalists. (Heather Barrett/CBC )

The finalists stood to take a group picture with organisers and sponsors of the event.

Ping was among them, holding his award as a finalist.

"It feels great, I must say, to be recognized among talented writers like Michael and Holly," Ping said.

"It means a lot to find a place on that list."

Download our free CBC News app to sign up for push alerts for CBC Newfoundland and Labrador. Click here to visit our landing page.