Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour

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The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, also known as the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour or just the Leacock Medal, is an annual Canadian literary award presented for the best book of humour written in English by a Canadian writer, published or self-published in the previous year.[1] The silver medal, designed by sculptor Emanuel Hahn, is a tribute to well-known Canadian humorist Stephen Leacock (1869–1944) and is accompanied by a cash prize of $25,000 (CAD). It is presented in the late spring or early summer each year, during a banquet ceremony in or near Leacock’s hometown of Orillia, Ontario.[1]

The medal is one of the oldest literary prizes in Canada, and is the only one awarded to a work of humour. It has been awarded every year since 1947 with the exception of 1959 when it was reported that no worthy entries had been submitted.[2]


The Stephen Leacock Associates, the non-profit organising body behind the award, was founded in 1946 by a loose group of Leacock’s friends and supporters.[1] Although administered and presented separately, in early years the award was announced as part of the Governor General's Awards announcements,[3][4][5] later moving to a separate announcement.

Each year the Associates’ board of directors appoints a panel of suitable judges from around the country, and also commissions readers who rank and select from submitted works a long list of ten books, which is later narrowed to a short list of three books (previously five). The shortlist is typically announced in early May. In 1990, for the only time in the award's history they did not whittle the initial longlist down to a shortlist, but simply announced a shortlist of ten books which were all considered for the final award.[6]

The cash prize began in 1970, as a $2,500 award co-sponsored by Manulife Insurance and the Hudson's Bay Company. The following decades saw gradual increases in the amount of the prize under a number of sponsors, reaching its current value of $15,000 in 2009, sponsored by the TD Bank Financial Group.[1] As of 2018, both remaining shortlist authors each receive cash prizes of $3,000.

In 1969 the Associates established a quarterly newsletter called The Newspacket to commemorate the centenary of the author’s birth. The publication prints excerpts from nominated books, and is itself a showcase for Canadian humour writing. The Newspacket has been published irregularly in recent years.

In 1977 the group established an annual Student Award for Humour, which honours and encourages young Canadian writers from secondary and post-secondary levels with recognition and cash prizes for the top three.


The Leacock Award is ceremonially led by a past winner or nominee, who holds the honorary title "Mayor of Mariposa".[7] The duties of this position include giving a speech at the awards ceremony, and representing the Leacock Foundation in other public appearances including McGill University's annual Leacock Lecture. Held by Dan Needles until 2018,[7] the position was taken over by Drew Hayden Taylor in 2019 and renamed "Grand Chief of Mariposa" to reflect Taylor's First Nations heritage.

The Medal[edit]

The medal, cast in silver and designed by Canadian sculptor Emanuel Hahn, is two inches (5.08 cm) in diameter and approximately 0.125 inches (.32 cm) thick. It weighs 3.125 ounces (88.59 g).

On the obverse is a profile of Stephen Leacock’s head and the dates of his lifespan (1869–1944). The words "Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal Founded 1946" are worked around the perimeter.

The reverse side features the words "Orillia “The Sunshine Town” Award for Canadian Humour". A jolly face represents the sun resting on waves, and the latitude and longitude of Orillia, Ontario, Canada, appear in small figures at the top. Two small fish swim beneath the waves, and two large mosquitoes are depicted — one on the sun, the other in the water. Below the design, there is room for the winner’s name and date to be inscribed, and below that a small maple leaf emblem.[8]

Winners and nominees[edit]


Year Writer Title Ref.
1947 Harry L. Symons Ojibway Melody [3]
1948 Paul Hiebert Sarah Binks [9]
1949 Angeline Hango Truthfully Yours [4]


Year Writer Title Ref.
1950 Earle Birney Turvey [9]
1951 Eric Nicol The Roving I [9]
1952 Jan Hilliard The Salt Box [9]
1953 Lawrence Earl The Battle of Baltinglass [5]
1954 Joan Walker Pardon My Parka [9]
1955 Robertson Davies Leaven of Malice [9]
1956 Eric Nicol Shall We Join the Ladies? [9]
1957 Robert Thomas Allen The Grass Is Never Greener [9]
1958 Eric Nicol Girdle Me a Globe [9]
1959 No award given [9]


Year Writer Title Ref.
1960 Pierre Berton Just Add Water and Stir [9]
1961 Norman Ward Mice in the Beer [9]
1962 W. O. Mitchell Jake and the Kid [9]
1963 Donald Jack Three Cheers for Me [10]
1964 Harry J. Boyle Homebrew and Patches [9]
1965 Gregory Clark War Stories [9]
1966 George Bain Nursery Rhymes to be Read Aloud by Young Parents with Old Children [9]
1967 Richard J. Needham Needham's Inferno [9]
1968 Max Ferguson And Now...Here's Max [9]
1969 Stuart Trueman You're Only as Old as You Act [9]


Year Writer Title Ref.
1970 Farley Mowat The Boat Who Wouldn't Float [9]
1971 Robert Thomas Allen Children, Wives and Other Wild Life [9]
1972 Max Braithwaite The Night We Stole the Mountie's Car [9]
1973 Donald Bell Saturday Night at the Bagel Factory [9]
1974 Donald Jack That's Me in the Middle [10]
1975 Morley Torgov A Good Place to Come From [9]
1976 Harry J. Boyle The Luck of the Irish [9]
1977 Ray Guy That Far Greater Bay [9]
1978 Ernest Buckler Whirligig [11]
1979 Sondra Gotlieb True Confections [12]


Winners and shortlisted candidates of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
Year Writer Title Ref.
1980 Donald Jack Me Bandy, You Cissie [10]
1981 Gary Lautens Take My Family...Please! [13]
1982 Mervyn Huston Gophers Don't Pay Taxes [14]
1983 Morley Torgov The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick [15]
Aislin Stretch Marks [15]
John Duffie Duffie's Unimportance of Being Earnest
Allan Fotheringham Malice in Blunderland
Stuart Trueman Don't Let Them Smell the Lobsters Cooking
1984 Gary Lautens No Sex Please...We're Married [16]
Donald Jack Me Too [17]
Eric Nicol Canadide
Paul Quarrington Home Game
Leon Rooke Shakespeare's Dog
Paul St. Pierre Smith and Other Events
1985 Ted Allan Love Is a Long Shot [18]
Joan Finnigan Laughing All the Way Home [18]
John MacLachlan Gray Dazzled!
Don Lemna A Visit from Mr. Lucifer
Ted Stone Hailstorms and Hoop Snakes
Armin Wiebe The Salvation of Yasch Siemens
1986 Joey Slinger No Axe Too Small to Grind [19]
Charles Gordon The Governor General's Bunny Hop [20]
Sondra Gotlieb Wife Of...
Ray Guy This Dear and Fine Country
T. P. Millar Who's Afraid of Sigmund Freud
Paul Quarrington The Life of Hope
1987 W. P. Kinsella The Fencepost Chronicles [21]
Christie Blatchford Spectator Sports [21]
Allan Edmonds Living It Up and Down
Allan Fotheringham Capitol Offenses
Murray Malcolm Armchair Will: The Musings of a Man of Leisure
Eric Nicol The U.S. or US?
1988 Paul Quarrington King Leary [22]
Arthur Black Back to Black [22]
Lesley Choyce An Avalanche of Ocean
Jack Hodgins The Honorary Patron
Robin Skelton The Parrot Who Could
1989 Joseph Kertes Winter Tulips [23]
Christie Blatchford Close Encounters [23]
Alison Gordon The Dead Pull Hitter
David McFadden A Trip Around Lake Ontario
Edward O. Phillips Hope Springs Eternal
Kent Thompson Married Love


Winners and shortlisted candidates of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
Year Writer Title Ref.
1990 W. O. Mitchell According to Jake and the Kid [24]
Arthur Black That Old Black Magic [6]
Don Hunter Spinner's Inlet
W. P. Kinsella The Miss Hobbema Pageant
Susan Musgrave Great Musgrave
Dan Needles Letters from Wingfield Farm
Eric Nicol Dickens of the Mounted
Paul Quarrington Whale Music
Paul St. Pierre Chilcotin and Beyond
Larry Zolf Scorpions for Sale
1991 Howard White Writing in the Rain [25]
Maurice Henrie The Mandarin Syndrome [25]
Roy MacGregor Quantity Time
W. O. Mitchell Roses Are Difficult Here
Morley Torgov St. Fab's Day
1992 Roch Carrier Prayers of a Very Wise Child [26]
Eliza Clark Miss You Like Crazy [26]
W. P. Kinsella Box Socials
1993 John Levesque Waiting for Aquarius [27]
Margaret Atwood Good Bones [27]
Marni Jackson The Mother Zone
Joey Slinger If It's a Jungle Out There, Why Do I Have to Mow the Lawn?
1994 Bill Richardson Bachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast [28]
Arthur Black Black by Popular Demand [28]
Charles Gordon How Not to Be Too Bad
Peter Gzowski Canadian Living
W. O. Mitchell The Black Bonspiel of Wullie MacCrimmon
1995 Josh Freed Fear of Frying and Other Fax of Life [29]
Aislin and Hubie Bauch Put Up or Shut Up [29]
Gail Anderson-Dargatz The Miss Hereford Stories
Des Kennedy Wild About Gardening
Susan Musgrave Musgrave Landing
1996 Marsha Boulton Letters from the Country [30]
Allan Abel Flatbush Odyssey [30]
W. P. Kinsella The Winter Helen Dropped By
Eve McBride Dandelions Help
Bill Richardson Bachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast Pillow Book
1997 Arthur Black Black in the Saddle Again [31]
David Eddie Chump Change [31]
Des Kennedy The Garden Club
Bill Richardson Bachelor Brothers' Bedside Companion
Miriam Toews Summer of My Amazing Luck
1998 Mordecai Richler Barney's Version [32]
Paul Quarrington The Boy on the Back of the Turtle [32]
Sandra Shamas A Trilogy of Performances
Carol Shields Larry's Party
Antanas Sileika Buying on Time
1999 Stuart McLean Home from the Vinyl Cafe [33]
Wayne Johnston The Colony of Unrequited Dreams [33]
Sean Kane Virtual Freedom
Robert Kroetsch The Man from the Creeks
Pete McCormack Understanding Ken


Winners and shortlisted candidates of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
Year Writer Title Ref.
2000 Arthur Black Black Tie and Tales [34]
Herb Curtis Luther Corhern's Salmon Camp Chronicles [34]
David Eddie Housebroken: Confessions of a Stay-at-Home Dad
Gordon Kirkland Justice Is Blind, and Her Dog Just Peed in my Cornflakes
Alan R. Wilson Before the Flood
2001 Stuart McLean Vinyl Cafe Unplugged [35]
Linwood Barclay Last Resort [35]
Lynn Coady Play the Monster Blind
Bob Collins Out Standing in their Field: The Rural Adventures of Hap & Edna
Allan Stratton The Phoenix Lottery
2002 Will Ferguson Generica [36]
David Arnason King Jerry [37]
Ian Ferguson and Will Ferguson How to Be a Canadian (Even If You Already Are One)
Charles Gordon The Grim Pig
Bill Richardson Waiting for Gertrude
2003 Dan Needles With Axe and Flask: A History of Persephone Township From Pre-Cambrian Times to the Present [38]
Sondra Gotlieb Dogs, Houses, Gardens, Food and Other Addictions [39]
Ian McGillis A Tourist's Guide to Glengarry
Robert G. Nielsen Athlete's Foot, or How I Failed at Sports
Morley Torgov Stickler and Me
2004 Ian Ferguson Village of the Small Houses: A Memoir of Sorts [40]
Michel Basilières Black Bird [40]
George Bowering Stone Country
Stuart McLean Vinyl Cafe Diaries
Patricia Pearson Playing House
2005 Will Ferguson Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw [41]
Arthur Black Black and White and Read All Over [42]
Bob Collins Summer of Wonder
Susan Juby Miss Smithers
Gordon Kirkland Never Stand Behind a Loaded Horse
2006 Arthur Black Pitch Black [43]
Joe Campbell Take Me Out to the Ball Game [44]
Gordon Kirkland When My Mind Wanders It Brings Back Souvenirs
Dan Needles Wingfield's Hope: More Letters from Wingfield Farm
William Weintraub Crazy About Lili
2007 Stuart McLean Secrets from the Vinyl Cafe [45]
Douglas Coupland jPod [46]
Des Kennedy The Passionate Gardener
Ryan Knighton Cockeyed
Neil McKinnon Tuckahoe Slidebottle
2008 Terry Fallis The Best Laid Plans [47]
Douglas Coupland The Gum Thief [47]
Will Ferguson Spanish Fly
Scott Gardiner King John of Canada
Ron Wood And God Created Manyberries
2009 Mark Leiren-Young Never Shoot a Stampede Queen: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo Country [48]
William Deverell Kill All the Judges [48]
Sheree Fitch Kiss the Joy as It Flies
Jack MacLeod Uproar
Charles Wilkins In the Land of Long Fingernails


Winners and shortlisted candidates of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
Year Writer Title Ref.
2010 Will Ferguson Beyond Belfast: A 560-Mile Walk Across Northern Ireland on Sore Feet [49]
Kathryn Borel Corked [50]
Glen Chilton The Curse of the Labrador Duck
Bill Conall The Rock in the Water
William Deverell Snow Job
2011 Trevor Cole Practical Jean [51]
Todd Babiak Toby: A Man [51]
Terry Fallis The High Road
David Rakoff Half Empty
Steve Smith Red Green's How to Do Everything
2012 Patrick deWitt The Sisters Brothers [52]
Rupinder Gill On the Outside Looking Indian [53]
Susan Juby The Woefield Poultry Collective
Shari Lapena Happiness Economics
Robyn Michele Levy Most of Me
2013 Cassie Stocks Dance, Gladys, Dance [54]
Terry Fallis Up and Down [55]
Jonathan Goldstein I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow
Andrew Kaufman Born Weird
William Whitehead Words to Live By
2014 Bill Conall The Promised Land [56]
Arthur Black Fifty Shades of Black [56]
Jane Christmas And Then There Were Nuns
Wayne Johnston The Son of a Certain Woman
Steve Smith Red Green's Beginner's Guide to Women
2015 Terry Fallis No Relation [57]
Aaron Bushkowsky Curtains for Roy [57]
Alan Doyle Where I Belong: Small Town to Great Big Sea
Zarqa Nawaz Laughing All the Way to the Mosque
Robert Wringham A Loose Egg
2016 Susan Juby Republic of Dirt [58]
Terry Fallis Poles Apart [59]
Sarah Mian When the Saints
2017 Gary Barwin Yiddish for Pirates [60]
Amy Jones We're All in This Together [60]
Drew Hayden Taylor Take Us to Your Chief and Other Stories
2018 Jennifer Craig Gone to Pot [61]
Laurie Gelman Class Mom [62]
Scaachi Koul One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter
2019 Cathal Kelly Boy Wonders [63]
Ali Bryan The Figgs [64]
Mark Critch Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir


Winners and shortlisted candidates of the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour
Year Writer Title Ref.
Heidi L. M. Jacobs Molly of the Mall: Literary Lass and Purveyor of Fine Footwear [65]
Amy Spurway Crow [65]
Drew Hayden Taylor Cottagers and Indians
Thomas King Indians on Vacation [66]
Joseph Kertes Last Impressions [67]
Morgan Murray Dirty Birds
Rick Mercer Talking to Canadians [68]
Mark Critch An Embarrassment of Critches [69]
Dawn Dumont The Prairie Chicken Dance Tour
Wayne Johnston Jennie's Boy [70]
Susan Juby Mindful of Everything [71]
Zarqa Nawaz Jameela Green Ruins Everything


  1. ^ a b c d "Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour" at The Canadian Encyclopedia.
  2. ^ Bourgeois-Doyle, Dick, What’s So Funny?: Lessons from Canada’s Leacock Medal for Humour Writing. General Store Publishing House, 2015. ISBN 978-1-77123-342-2. p.57
  3. ^ a b "Prof. Lower's History Gets Vice-Regal Award". Winnipeg Tribune, April 19, 1947.
  4. ^ a b "Win Governor General's Awards in Annual Literary Contest". Ottawa Journal, June 11, 1949.
  5. ^ a b "Governor General's Awards Announced for Two Authors". Ottawa Journal, May 23, 1953.
  6. ^ a b "Long short-list for Leacock award". Toronto Star, April 3, 1990.
  7. ^ a b "Barwin takes home humour award". Orillia Packet and Times, June 10, 2017.
  8. ^ "Stephen Leacock Associates". Retrieved 2018-01-06.
  9. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z "Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". Memorial University of Newfoundland Literary Awards in Canada 1923-2000.
  10. ^ a b c "Backstage". The Globe and Mail, May 10, 1980.
  11. ^ "Buckler win Leacock Award". The Globe and Mail, May 12, 1978.
  12. ^ "Gotlieb wins humor award". The Globe and Mail, May 11, 1979.
  13. ^ "Physicians hold annual council". The Globe and Mail, May 8, 1981.
  14. ^ "Leacock winner plays a shopworn theme". The Globe and Mail, May 13, 1982.
  15. ^ a b "Torgov wins 1983 Leacock Medal". The Globe and Mail, April 29, 1983.
  16. ^ "Lautens wins award". The Globe and Mail, May 11, 1984.
  17. ^ "Six finalists for Leacock Medal". The Globe and Mail, April 13, 1984.
  18. ^ a b "Montrealer Ted Allan wins Leacock award for 'Long Shot' novel". The Gazette, April 18, 1985.
  19. ^ "The Star's Slinger wins humor award". Toronto Star, April 18, 1986.
  20. ^ "Star's Slinger up for humor prize". Toronto Star, April 11, 1986.
  21. ^ a b "B.C.'s Kinsella wins Leacock humor award". Toronto Star, April 24, 1987.
  22. ^ a b "Third time lucky for Leacock winner". Ottawa Citizen, April 29, 1988.
  23. ^ a b "Leacock award 'stuns' winner". Toronto Star, May 30, 1989.
  24. ^ "Mitchell wins Leacock Award". Toronto Star, April 19, 1990.
  25. ^ a b "Howard White wins Leacock". The Gazette, May 7, 1991.
  26. ^ a b "Carrier's Prayers are answered with Leacock prize"]. The Gazette, April 29, 1992.
  27. ^ a b "Hamilton writer wins Leacock humor award". Toronto Star, May 4, 1993.
  28. ^ a b "Richardson wins Leacock prize". Ottawa Citizen, April 26, 1994.
  29. ^ a b "Montreal writer wins humor award". Toronto Star, May 4, 1995.
  30. ^ a b "Broadcaster Boulton wins Leacock prize". Toronto Star, April 25, 1996.
  31. ^ a b "Arthur Black wins award for humour: Radio host, author honoured for book". Ottawa Citizen, May 1, 1997.
  32. ^ a b "Mordecai Richler wins Leacock humour award". The Globe and Mail, April 16, 1998.
  33. ^ a b "McLean wins Leacock award". Calgary Herald, April 22, 1999.
  34. ^ a b "Arthur Black nabs last laugh - again". Kingston Whig-Standard, April 20, 2000.
  35. ^ a b "Literature: Stuart McLean wins Leacock award, again". Kingston Whig-Standard, April 20, 2001.
  36. ^ "Calgary writer wins Leacock award". The Globe and Mail, April 18, 2002.
  37. ^ "Charles Gordon nominated for Leacock". Ottawa Citizen, March 20, 2002.
  38. ^ "Wingfield creator wins Leacock medal". The Globe and Mail, April 24, 2003.
  39. ^ "And the nominees are ...". Ottawa Citizen, March 30, 2003.
  40. ^ a b "Ian Ferguson wins Leacock humour award". The Globe and Mail, April 22, 2004.
  41. ^ "Will Ferguson wins second Leacock humour medal". The Telegram, April 24, 2005.
  42. ^ "Black shortlisted for Leacock award". Victoria Times-Colonist, April 6, 2005.
  43. ^ "Arthur Black wins third Leacock humour prize". The Globe and Mail, April 20, 2006.
  44. ^ "Five Canadian finalists named for Leacock Medal of Humour". Sudbury Star, March 31, 2006.
  45. ^ "He's funny. Seriously." The Telegram, April 20, 2007.
  46. ^ "Five finalists named for Stephen Leacock medal". Winnipeg Free Press, March 31, 2007.
  47. ^ a b "Self-published novel by Terry Fallis wins Leacock award". CBC News, April 30, 2008.
  48. ^ a b "Mark Leiren-Young wins Leacock Medal for humour". The Globe and Mail, April 30, 2009.
  49. ^ "Will Ferguson wins Leacock". Ottawa Citizen, May 2, 2010.
  50. ^ "Five in running for Leacock". Vancouver Sun, April 2, 2010.
  51. ^ a b "Leacock award goes to Ontario writer". Victoria Times-Colonist, April 29, 2011.
  52. ^ "Patrick deWitt wins Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". The Globe and Mail, April 27, 2012.
  53. ^ "4 women on short list for Stephen Leacock Medal". CBC News, April 2, 2012.
  54. ^ "Cassie Stocks wins Stephen Leacock Award". CBC Arts, April 25, 2013.
  55. ^ "The authors on the shortlist for the Stephen Leacock Medal are no April Fools". CBC Books, April 2, 2013.
  56. ^ a b "Bill Conall wins 2014 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". CBC News, April 24, 2014.
  57. ^ a b "Terry Fallis wins second Leacock Medal for No Relation". Quill & Quire, April 30, 2015.
  58. ^ "Nanaimo author wins Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". CTV Vancouver Island, June 12, 2016.
  59. ^ "Two-time Leacock Medal winner Terry Fallis shortlisted for 2016 prize". CTV News, May 6, 2016.
  60. ^ a b "Hamilton author Gary Barwin wins Leacock Medal for Humour for Yiddish for Pirates". CBC Hamilton, June 12, 2017.
  61. ^ "B.C.-based author Jennifer Craig wins Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". The Globe and Mail, June 10, 2018.
  62. ^ "Scaachi Koul, Laurie Gelman and Jennifer Craig shortlisted for 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour". CBC Books, May 2, 2018.
  63. ^ "Cathal Kelly wins Leacock Medal". Quill & Quire, June 10, 2019.
  64. ^ "Memoirs by Critch, Kelly named alongside Ali Bryan novel on Leacock shortlist". Quill & Quire. 2019-05-06. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
  65. ^ a b Ryan Porter, "Shortlist announced for Stephen Leacock Medal". Quill & Quire, May 4, 2020.
  66. ^ "Thomas King wins $15,000 Stephen Leacock Medal for humour writing". The Globe and Mail, June 4, 2021.
  67. ^ Cassandra Drudi, "Shortlist announced for Stephen Leacock medal". Quill & Quire, May 3, 2021.
  68. ^ "Rick Mercer wins the Leacock Medal for Humour for memoir ‘Talking to Canadians’". Toronto Star, September 17, 2022.
  69. ^ "Missing woman among nominees for Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour". Toronto Star, August 3, 2022.
  70. ^ "Wayne Johnston wins 2023 Stephen Leacock Medal". Quill & Quire, September 18, 2023.
  71. ^ "‘Little Mosque on the Prairie’ creator among finalists for Leacock Medal for Humour". Toronto Star, August 1, 2023.

External links[edit]