Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour
The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, also known as the Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour or just the Leacock Medal, is an annual literary award presented for the best book of humour written in English by a Canadian writer, published or self-published in the previous year. 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 $15,000 (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.
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.
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. Although administered and presented separately, in early years the award was announced as part of the Governor General's Awards announcements, 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.
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. 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". 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, 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, 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.
Winners and nominees
|1947||Harry L. Symons||Ojibway Melody|||
|1948||Paul Hiebert||Sarah Binks|||
|1949||Angeline Hango||Truthfully Yours|||
|1951||Eric Nicol||The Roving I|||
|1952||Jan Hilliard||The Salt Box|||
|1953||Lawrence Earl||The Battle of Baltinglass|||
|1954||Joan Walker||Pardon My Parka|||
|1955||Robertson Davies||Leaven of Malice|||
|1956||Eric Nicol||Shall We Join the Ladies?|||
|1957||Robert Thomas Allen||The Grass Is Never Greener|||
|1958||Eric Nicol||Girdle Me a Globe|||
|1959||No award given|||
|1960||Pierre Berton||Just Add Water and Stir|||
|1961||Norman Ward||Mice in the Beer|||
|1962||W. O. Mitchell||Jake and the Kid|||
|1963||Donald Jack||Three Cheers for Me|||
|1964||Harry J. Boyle||Homebrew and Patches|||
|1965||Gregory Clark||War Stories|||
|1966||George Bain||Nursery Rhymes to be Read Aloud by Young Parents with Old Children|||
|1967||Richard J. Needham||Needham's Inferno|||
|1968||Max Ferguson||And Now...Here's Max|||
|1969||Stuart Trueman||You're Only as Old as You Act|||
|1970||Farley Mowat||The Boat Who Wouldn't Float|||
|1971||Robert Thomas Allen||Wives, Children and Other Wild Life|||
|1972||Max Braithwaite||The Night We Stole the Mountie's Car|||
|1973||Donald Bell||Saturday Night at the Bagel Factory|||
|1974||Donald Jack||That's Me in the Middle|||
|1975||Morley Torgov||A Good Place to Come From|||
|1976||Harry J. Boyle||The Luck of the Irish|||
|1977||Ray Guy||That Far Greater Bay|||
|1979||Sondra Gotlieb||True Confections|||
|1980||Donald Jack||Me Bandy, You Cissie|||
|1981||Gary Lautens||Take My Family...Please!|||
|1982||Mervyn Huston||Gophers Don't Pay Taxes|||
|1983||Morley Torgov||The Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick|||
|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|||
|Donald Jack||Me Too|||
|Paul Quarrington||Home Game|||
|Leon Rooke||Shakespeare's Dog|||
|Paul St. Pierre||Smith and Other Events|||
|1985||Ted Allan||Love Is a Long Shot|||
|Joan Finnigan||Laughing All the Way Home|||
|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|||
|Charles Gordon||The Governor General's Bunny Hop|||
|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|||
|Christie Blatchford||Spectator Sports|||
|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|||
|Arthur Black||Back to Black|||
|Lesley Choyce||An Avalanche of Ocean|||
|Jack Hodgins||The Honorary Patron|||
|Robin Skelton||The Parrot Who Could|||
|1989||Joseph Kertes||Winter Tulips|||
|Christie Blatchford||Close Encounters|||
|Alison Gordon||The Dead Pull Hitter|||
|David McFadden||A Trip Around Lake Ontario|||
|Edward O. Phillips||Hope Springs Eternal|||
|Kent Thompson||Married Love|||
|1990||W. O. Mitchell||According to Jake and the Kid|||
|Arthur Black||That Old Black Magic|||
|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|||
|Maurice Henrie||The Mandarin Syndrome|||
|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|||
|Eliza Clark||Miss You Like Crazy|||
|W. P. Kinsella||Box Socials|||
|1993||John Levesque||Waiting for Aquarius|||
|Margaret Atwood||Good Bones|||
|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|||
|Arthur Black||Black by Popular Demand|||
|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|||
|Aislin and Hubie Bauch||Put Up or Shut Up|||
|Gail Anderson-Dargatz||The Miss Hereford Stories|||
|Des Kennedy||Wild About Gardening|||
|Susan Musgrave||Musgrave Landing|||
|1996||Marsha Boulton||Letters from the Country|||
|Allan Abel||Flatbush Odyssey|||
|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|||
|David Eddie||Chump Change|||
|Des Kennedy||The Garden Club|||
|Bill Richardson||Bachelor Brothers' Bedside Companion|||
|Miriam Toews||Summer of My Amazing Luck|||
|1998||Mordecai Richler||Barney's Version|||
|Paul Quarrington||The Boy on the Back of the Turtle|||
|Sandra Shamas||A Trilogy of Performances|||
|Carol Shields||Larry's Party|||
|Antanas Sileika||Buying on Time|||
|1999||Stuart McLean||Home from the Vinyl Cafe|||
|Wayne Johnston||The Colony of Unrequited Dreams|||
|Sean Kane||Virtual Freedom|||
|Robert Kroetsch||The Man from the Creeks|||
|Pete McCormack||Understanding Ken|||
|2000||Arthur Black||Black Tie and Tales|||
|Herb Curtis||Luther Corhern's Salmon Camp Chronicles|||
|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|||
|Linwood Barclay||Last Resort|||
|Lynn Coady||Play the Monster Blind|||
|Bob Collins||Out Standing in their Field: The Rural Adventures of Hap & Edna|||
|Allan Stratton||The Phoenix Lottery|||
|David Arnason||King Jerry|||
|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|||
|Sondra Gotlieb||Dogs, Houses, Gardens, Food and Other Addictions|||
|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|||
|Michel Basilières||Black Bird|||
|George Bowering||Stone Country|||
|Stuart McLean||Vinyl Cafe Diaries|||
|Patricia Pearson||Playing House|||
|2005||Will Ferguson||Beauty Tips from Moose Jaw|||
|Arthur Black||Black and White and Read All Over|||
|Bob Collins||Summer of Wonder|||
|Susan Juby||Miss Smithers|||
|Gordon Kirkland||Never Stand Behind a Loaded Horse|||
|2006||Arthur Black||Pitch Black|||
|Joe Campbell||Take Me Out to the Ball Game|||
|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|||
|Des Kennedy||The Passionate Gardener|||
|Neil McKinnon||Tuckahoe Slidebottle|||
|2008||Terry Fallis||The Best Laid Plans|||
|Douglas Coupland||The Gum Thief|||
|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|||
|William Deverell||Kill All the Judges|||
|Sheree Fitch||Kiss the Joy as It Flies|||
|Charles Wilkins||In the Land of Long Fingernails|||
|2010||Will Ferguson||Beyond Belfast: A 560-Mile Walk Across Northern Ireland on Sore Feet|||
|Glen Chilton||The Curse of the Labrador Duck|||
|Bill Conall||The Rock in the Water|||
|William Deverell||Snow Job|||
|2011||Trevor Cole||Practical Jean|||
|Todd Babiak||Toby: A Man|||
|Terry Fallis||The High Road|||
|David Rakoff||Half Empty|||
|Steve Smith||Red Green's How to Do Everything|||
|2012||Patrick deWitt||The Sisters Brothers|||
|Rupinder Gill||On the Outside Looking Indian|||
|Susan Juby||The Woefield Poultry Collective|||
|Shari Lapena||Happiness Economics|||
|Robyn Michele Levy||Most of Me|||
|2013||Cassie Stocks||Dance, Gladys, Dance|||
|Terry Fallis||Up and Down|||
|Jonathan Goldstein||I'll Seize the Day Tomorrow|||
|Andrew Kaufman||Born Weird|||
|William Whitehead||Words to Live By|||
|2014||Bill Conall||The Promised Land|||
|Arthur Black||Fifty Shades of Black|||
|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|||
|Aaron Bushkowsky||Curtains for Roy|||
|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|||
|Terry Fallis||Poles Apart|||
|Sarah Mian||When the Saints|||
|2017||Gary Barwin||Yiddish for Pirates|||
|Amy Jones||We're All in This Together|||
|Drew Hayden Taylor||Take Us to Your Chief and Other Stories|||
|2018||Jennifer Craig||Gone to Pot|||
|Laurie Gelman||Class Mom|||
|Scaachi Koul||One Day We'll All Be Dead and None of This Will Matter|||
|2019||Cathal Kelly||Boy Wonders|||
|Ali Bryan||The Figgs|||
|Mark Critch||Son of a Critch: A Childish Newfoundland Memoir|||
|Heidi L. M. Jacobs||Molly of the Mall: Literary Lass and Purveyor of Fine Footwear|||
|Drew Hayden Taylor||Cottagers and Indians|||
- "Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour" at The Canadian Encyclopedia.
- 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
- "Prof. Lower's History Gets Vice-Regal Award". Winnipeg Tribune, April 19, 1947.
- "Win Governor General's Awards in Annual Literary Contest". Ottawa Journal, June 11, 1949.
- "Governor General's Awards Announced for Two Authors". Ottawa Journal, May 23, 1953.
- "Long short-list for Leacock award". Toronto Star, April 3, 1990.
- "Barwin takes home humour award". Orillia Packet and Times, June 10, 2017.
- "Stephen Leacock Associates". leacock.ca. Retrieved 2018-01-06.
- "Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". Memorial University of Newfoundland Literary Awards in Canada 1923-2000.
- "Backstage". The Globe and Mail, May 10, 1980.
- "Buckler win Leacock Award". The Globe and Mail, May 12, 1978.
- "Gotlieb wins humor award". The Globe and Mail, May 11, 1979.
- "Physicians hold annual council". The Globe and Mail, May 8, 1981.
- "Leacock winner plays a shopworn theme". The Globe and Mail, May 13, 1982.
- "Torgov wins 1983 Leacock Medal". The Globe and Mail, April 29, 1983.
- "Lautens wins award". The Globe and Mail, May 11, 1984.
- "Six finalists for Leacock Medal". The Globe and Mail, April 13, 1984.
- "Montrealer Ted Allan wins Leacock award for 'Long Shot' novel". The Gazette, April 18, 1985.
- "The Star's Slinger wins humor award". Toronto Star, April 18, 1986.
- "Star's Slinger up for humor prize". Toronto Star, April 11, 1986.
- "B.C.'s Kinsella wins Leacock humor award". Toronto Star, April 24, 1987.
- "Third time lucky for Leacock winner". Ottawa Citizen, April 29, 1988.
- "Leacock award 'stuns' winner". Toronto Star, May 30, 1989.
- "Mitchell wins Leacock Award". Toronto Star, April 19, 1990.
- "Howard White wins Leacock". The Gazette, May 7, 1991.
- "Carrier's Prayers are answered with Leacock prize"]. The Gazette, April 29, 1992.
- "Hamilton writer wins Leacock humor award". Toronto Star, May 4, 1993.
- "Richardson wins Leacock prize". Ottawa Citizen, April 26, 1994.
- "Montreal writer wins humor award". Toronto Star, May 4, 1995.
- "Broadcaster Boulton wins Leacock prize". Toronto Star, April 25, 1996.
- "Arthur Black wins award for humour: Radio host, author honoured for book". Ottawa Citizen, May 1, 1997.
- "Mordecai Richler wins Leacock humour award". The Globe and Mail, April 16, 1998.
- "McLean wins Leacock award". Calgary Herald, April 22, 1999.
- "Arthur Black nabs last laugh - again". Kingston Whig-Standard, April 20, 2000.
- "Literature: Stuart McLean wins Leacock award, again". Kingston Whig-Standard, April 20, 2001.
- "Calgary writer wins Leacock award". The Globe and Mail, April 18, 2002.
- "Charles Gordon nominated for Leacock". Ottawa Citizen, March 20, 2002.
- "Wingfield creator wins Leacock medal". The Globe and Mail, April 24, 2003.
- "And the nominees are ...". Ottawa Citizen, March 30, 2003.
- "Ian Ferguson wins Leacock humour award". The Globe and Mail, April 22, 2004.
- "Will Ferguson wins second Leacock humour medal". The Telegram, April 24, 2005.
- "Black shortlisted for Leacock award". Victoria Times-Colonist, April 6, 2005.
- "Arthur Black wins third Leacock humour prize". The Globe and Mail, April 20, 2006.
- "Five Canadian finalists named for Leacock Medal of Humour". Sudbury Star, March 31, 2006.
- "He's funny. Seriously." The Telegram, April 20, 2007.
- "Five finalists named for Stephen Leacock medal". Winnipeg Free Press, March 31, 2007.
- "Self-published novel by Terry Fallis wins Leacock award". CBC News, April 30, 2008.
- "Mark Leiren-Young wins Leacock Medal for humour". The Globe and Mail, April 30, 2009.
- "Will Ferguson wins Leacock". Ottawa Citizen, May 2, 2010.
- "Five in running for Leacock". Vancouver Sun, April 2, 2010.
- "Leacock award goes to Ontario writer". Victoria Times-Colonist, April 29, 2011.
- "Patrick deWitt wins Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". The Globe and Mail, April 27, 2012.
- "Stephen Leacock Award 2012 Shortlist". CBC Books.
- "Cassie Stocks wins Stephen Leacock Award". CBC Arts, April 25, 2013.
- "The authors on the shortlist for the Stephen Leacock Medal are no April Fools". CBC Books, April 2, 2013.
- "Bill Conall wins 2014 Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". CBC News, April 24, 2014.
- "Terry Fallis wins second Leacock Medal for No Relation". Quill & Quire, April 30, 2015.
- "Nanaimo author wins Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". CTV Vancouver Island, June 12, 2016.
- "Two-time Leacock Medal winner Terry Fallis shortlisted for 2016 prize". CTV News, May 6, 2016.
- "Hamilton author Gary Barwin wins Leacock Medal for Humour for Yiddish for Pirates". CBC Hamilton, June 12, 2017.
- "B.C.-based author Jennifer Craig wins Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour". The Globe and Mail, June 10, 2018.
- "Scaachi Koul, Laurie Gelman and Jennifer Craig shortlisted for 2018 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour". CBC Books, May 2, 2018.
- "Cathal Kelly wins Leacock Medal". Quill & Quire, June 10, 2019.
- "Memoirs by Critch, Kelly named alongside Ali Bryan novel on Leacock shortlist". Quill & Quire. 2019-05-06. Retrieved 2019-06-06.
- Ryan Porter, "Shortlist announced for Stephen Leacock Medal". Quill & Quire, May 4, 2020.