Nelson’s Jennifer Craig wins Leacock award

Craig suffered a stroke before the ceremony and is currently in hospital

Jennifer Craig of Nelson has won the Leacock Medal for Humour, given annually to Canada’s best piece of book-length humour, for her novel, Gone to Pot. The award, given on Saturday in Orillia, Ontario, comes with a $15,000 prize.

But it wasn’t all good news for Craig.

She had a stroke the day before the award ceremony. She and the other two short-listed contenders, Laurie Gelman and Scaachi Koul, were getting ready to meet Orillia’s mayor at a dinner, but Craig ended up in the hands of paramedics and then in the hospital, from where the Star interviewed her on Tuesday.

“I am thrilled to bits. And I’m not in great shape,” she said.

Craig, who is 84, said she is experiencing some balance problems but expects to recover from that. She’s hoping to return to Nelson soon.

She did not get a chance to go on a number of outings for the contenders, or attend the award event.

“But my daughter did,” Craig said. “She’s the one who had all the fun.”

Craig’s daughter Juliet is at her bedside these days and gave the acceptance speech on her mother’s behalf.

“I would not exactly call it fun,” Juliet told the Star. “I was thrilled and so excited and proud of her that she won, but I was a bit of a wreck due to lack of sleep and high stress. It was the most nervous public speaking I have ever done, never mind it had to be funny in a room full of humourists. So there was no pressure there at all.”

Craig says her acceptance speech would have been about all the reasons why it is ridiculous that old age is referred to as the golden years, and about how her publisher took extreme amounts of time to make decisions about whether or not to publish the book.

“So I wrote back asking if they publish posthumously, because in your ‘golden years’ you don’t have months and months to just throw away.”

Craig has some advice for older aspiring writers, spoken in her characteristic feisty style despite her illness.

“I started creative writing in 1994, when I was 60. So when people are old or think they are old, they shouldn’t just say forget it, they should do what they want to do. There is a lot you can do. I would like to encourage that. It’s time we showed those youngsters what life is all about.”

Gone to Pot, set in Nelson, is about a grandmother who has fallen on hard times and takes up growing pot as a livelihood.

Related: Nelson author shortlisted for humour award (May 2018)



bill.metcalfe@nelsonstar.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

Just Posted

What’s Up: Things to see and do on Family Day

There’s plenty of fun to be had across the West Kootenay this coming long weekend!

Call a foul on cancer with the Pink Whistle Campaign

Local basketball referees are raising money for cancer research

Man found dead identified as Andreas Pittinger

Pittinger was known locally for hosting a radio show

Biologists discover another female calf in depleted South Purcell Mountain Caribou herd

Calf will be moved to Revelstoke maternity pens, then released

Man seriously hurt after police shooting near Nelson

Incident has been reported to provincial police watchdog

Trudeau’s principal secretary, Gerald Butts, resigns amid SNC-Lavalin furor

Butts categorically denies the accusation that he or anyone else in the PMO improperly pressured former attorney general Jody Wilson-Raybould

Lost a ring? This B.C. man will find it for you

Chris Turner founded The Ring Finders, an international directory of metal detector hobbyists

Poverty coalition has high hopes for B.C. poverty reduction strategy

Funding allocation expected to be released with 2019 budget

East Kootenay mine deaths prompt safety initiatives

Teck produces educational video, introduces new procedures after contractor drowns at Fording River

‘How did we get here?’: B.C. mom of transplant recipient worries about measles outbreaks

Addison, 7, cannot get a live vaccine because she has a heart transplant

NDP Leader Jagmeet Singh calls for public inquiry over SNC-Lavalin questions

Vancouver member of Parliament Jody Wilson-Raybould resigned from cabinet last week

Canadian airlines waiting for guidance from Ottawa over X gender option

Major U.S. airlines said they will change their process so passengers can identify themselves along non-binary lines

Moose Hide campaign takes message to Canadian schools

Campaign launches new K-12 education platform

‘Violent’ B.C. man wanted on Canada-wide warrant

Prince George man with ties to Vernon sought by police

Most Read