HORVATH, Polly




Author Tags: Kidlit & Young Adult

Polly Horvath of Metchosin is a National Book Award winner for The Canning Season, winner of a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for The Tolls, and a three-time recipient of the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Award for Everything on a Waffle in 2002, The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane in 2008 and My One Hundred Adventures in 2009. She has also received the Newbery Honor for Everything on A Waffle, the Mr. Christie Book Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award. In 2013 she was shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for One Year in Coal Harbour (Groundwood Books), which later won the sixth annual Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize [See Press Release below]

In her acceptance speech for the Bolen Prize, she recalled: “I knew a writer years ago who was, as many of us are when we start out, really really poor. He didn't mind. No one chains you to your typewriter. But he missed egg rolls. He loved them. Couldn't afford them. Tough toenails. A couple of years passed and then it happened. He went to his mailbox and there was a letter from a publisher saying they wanted to publish his book. He floated out in a daze, drifted down the street until he stumbled into the first Chinese restaurant he could find. He said, eggs rolls! Keep them coming!

“Mother Theresa said none of us can do great things but all of us can do small things with great love. I think you're lucky if you get to do the small thing you love and you're luckier still if, in there, you get a few egg roll moments.”

The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane is about two cousins who are sent to live with an aloof, scholarly uncle and his eccentric house staff following the deaths of the children's parents. Written from four different characters' perspectives, it has been described as "a moving meditation on loss and finding family in the most unlikely places."

Everything on a Waffle is a blend of life and food, with accompanying recipes. Eleven-year-old Primrose Squarp has hair the colour of carrots in an apricot glaze and the recipe to prove it. Although Primrose never doubts the return of her lost-at-sea parents, she often seeks refuge with Miss Bowzer, dispenser of common sense and good advice and owner of ‘The Girl on the Red Swing’ restaurant.

The Pepins and Their Problems is a comic novel about a wacky Canadian family. The Vacation is an account of a wacky road trip taken by Henry and his quarrelsome aunts Magnolia and Pigg after his mother leaves the United States to be a missionary in Africa. The crabby aunts and Henry visit Virginia Beach, the Everglades and Oklahoma, encountering eccentric characters.

Polly Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan. She went to college in Toronto and lived in New York and Montreal before settling on southern Vancouver Island with her husband Arnie Keller and their daughters, Emily and Rebecca. She began to write stories at age eight. “I began wanting to do to nine books about a character, from childhood to 90s," she has told a reviewer. "The voice that came to me was that of a 91-year-old lady looking back on her life, and I’m intrigued by the idea of taking someone through a life.” My One Hundred Adventures (Groundwood, 2008) and Northward to the Moon (Groundwood, 2010) concern the same family of characters, so more volumes are expected.

BOOKS:

An Occasional Cow
No More Cornflakes
The Happy Yellow Car
When the Circus Came to Town
The Trolls
Everything on a Waffle (Groundwood, 2001) 0-88899-442-7
The Canning Season
The Pepins and Their Problems (Groundwood, 2004). Illustrated by Marylin Hafner.
The Vacation (Groundwood, 2005)
The Corps of the Bare-Boned Plane (Groundwood, 2007) 0-88899-851-1
My One Hundred Adventures (Groundwood, 2008)
Northward to the Moon (Groundwood, 2010)
One Year in Coal Harbour (Groundwood 2012)

[BCBW 2013] "Kidlit"

Horvath wins Bolen Prize
Press Release (2013)



At the Victoria Book Prize Society awards gala, two Greater Victoria authors were recognized for their literary achievement.

Stephen Reid, author of A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden (Thistledown Press),
won the tenth annual City of Victoria Butler Book Prize; and Polly Horvath,
author of One Year in Coal Harbour (Groundwood Books), won the sixth annual Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize. Colin Holt of Bolen Books
presented Horvath with a cheque for $5,000. Mayor Dean Fortin and Brian
Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies Ltd. presented the $5000 prize to Al
Forrie of Thistledown Press, Reid’s publisher.

In Horvath’s One Year in Coal Harbour, Primrose Squarp is back! The wise
and curious heroine of the Newbery Honor Book Everything on a Waffle is
facing another adventure-filled year in Coal Harbour. Primrose’s parents
are safe at home, having once been lost at sea. But now other people and
places that Primrose loves are in precarious circumstances. Through a
year of turmoil, Primrose is undaunted as she tries to save what matters to
her.

Jurors for the Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize Leslie Hudson, librarian,
Freda Nobbs, bookseller and writer Beryl Young had this to say about the
winning entry, “Woven throughout are glimpses of just what it means to be
alive, of how to discern what you truly value and cherish, how to find
beauty, even when it’s wrapped in anger and pain. Brimming with wit, imagination, and insight, One Year in Coal Harbour is at once contemporary and timeless.”

Polly Horvath is one of the most highly acclaimed authors writing today.
Her books include The Canning Season (winner of the National Book
Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award), Everything on a Waffle (a
Newbery Honor Book, an ALA Notable Book and winner of the Mr. Christie's Book Award and the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize),
The Trolls (a National Book Award finalist), My One Hundred Adventures
(a School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, a Booklist Editors'
Choice, a Kirkus Reviews Best Children's Book of the Year and winner of a NAPPA Gold Award and the Sheila A. Egoff Children's Literature Prize),
and Northward to the Moon (an Oprah's Book Club Kids' Reading List
selection and winner of a Parents' Choice Gold Award). Her next book,
Lord and Lady Bunny: Detectives Extraordinaire! will be published in
February 2014.

The other finalists were Sarah N. Harvey for Three Little Words and Kit
Pearson for And Nothing But the Truth.

In his collection of essays, A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden, Reid has
created an affecting book about growing old in prison. He grapples with
issues such as the painful separation of family and friends and the nature
of addiction. Jurors for the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize writer George
Fetherling, academic/editor Laurie Ricou, and librarian Michelle Whitehead
had this to say of the winning book: “Framed by a sharply observed,
imaginatively speculative, and risky exploration of beachcombing, Stephen
Reid’s A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden is a prison ethnography taut with
wit and humanity.”

Stephen Reid began writing in 1984 while serving a 21-year prison
sentence for his role as a member of the “Stopwatch Gang." He has written
a novel, Jackrabbit Parole, as well as articles and essays in a variety of
journals, magazines and newspapers. He has taught creative writing,
worked as a youth counselor, and served on boards for the John Howard
Society, Prison Arts Foundation, PEN Canada, Spirit of the People and the
Journal of Prisoners on Prisons. Reid is married to writer Susan Musgrave.

The other finalists were C.P. Boyko for Psychology and Other Stories
(Biblioasis), Christina Johnson-Dean for The Life and Art of Ina D.D.
Uhthoff, (Mother Tongue) Lorna Crozier for The Book of Marvels: A
Compendium of Everyday Things (Greystone) and Bill Gaston for The
World. (Hamish Hamilton).

The 10-year anniversary gala, held at the Union Club was emceed by Jo-
Ann Roberts of CBC’s “All Points West.” Janet Marie Rogers, Poet Laureate for the City of Victoria, opened the evening with a reading from her recent work. Founders of the Victoria Book Prize Society Bess Jillings, Robert Kennedy, Richard Olafson, Dennis Reid, Stephen Scobie, and Jim Munro were on hand to celebrate 10 years of celebrating local writers as
were many previous winners.

Founded in 2004, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize is a partnership
between the City of Victoria and Brian Butler of Butler Brothers Supplies.
The Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize was founded in 2008 and is funded by Bolen Books. This year’s sponsors include the Union Club, Greater Victoria Public Library, the Magnolia Hotel and Spa, CBC Radio, Island Blue Print, and Thrifty Foods.

The Victoria Book Prize Society establishes the policy and criteria for the prizes, appoints the juries, and administers the competitions. For more information visit www.victoriabookprizes.ca.

[October 2012]

One Year in Coal Harbour (Groundwood Books)
Article (2013)



If asked to name one of the winningest authors of B.C., few people would know to include Polly Horvath, this year’s recipient of Victoria’s sixth annual Bolen Books Children’s Book Prize, for One Year in Coal Harbour (Groundwood Books).

The Metchosin kidlit author has quietly won a National Book Award for The Canning Season, a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for The Tolls, three Sheila A. Egoff Children’s Literature Awards, the Newbery Honour, the Mr. Christie Book Award and the CLA Young Adult Book Award.

One Year in Coal Harbour was also shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award.

In her acceptance speech, Horvath noted,“Mother Theresa said none of us can do great things but all of us can do small things with great love. I think you’re lucky if you get to do the small thing you love [writing].” Polly Horvath grew up in Kalamazoo, Michigan, attended college in Toronto and lived in New York and Montreal before settling on southern Vancouver Island.