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- National award recognizes the most humorous book written by a Canadian and published in Canada - ORILLIA, ON, April 1 /CNW/ - Award-winning children's author Sheree Fitch, renowned crime writer William Deverell and former University of Toronto political science professor Jack MacLeod are among the 2009 finalists who were announced today for the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour. The Orillia-based Stephen Leacock Association awards the annual literary prize to the English-language book judged to be the most humorous one published in Canada, by a Canadian, in the previous year. This national award includes a $15,000 cash prize courtesy of TD Bank Financial Group and the silver Leacock Memorial Medal. This year, for the first time ever, each of the four runners-up will also receive a cheque for $1500 for their efforts thanks also to TD. Terry Fallis won the medal in 2008 for his book The Best Laid Plans, marking the first time a self-published novel had ever won this prestigious award. "The Leacock Memorial Award has recognized Canadian literary talent for more than 50 years. Given the steady stream of hilarious, homegrown work being written, we think it's here to stay and we're proud to support it," said Jamie Collins, District Vice President, TD Canada Trust. "Our community giving efforts include several reading programs however one of the most effective ways to increase literacy levels is by simply enjoying a good book. We share in the excitement of this award with the finalists." This year's finalists include William Deverell for his book Kill All the Judges. No newcomer to award recognition, Mr. Deverell won the 2006 Arthur Ellis Award, the 1997 Hammett Prize for literary excellence in crime writing and the $50,000 Seal Award for his first novel back in 1979. Poet and children's author Sheree Fitch also made the Leacock Award shortlist with her book titled Kiss the Joy As It Flies, a bittersweet and irreverent look at dying. Mark Leiren-Young's portrait of small-town British Columbia, as seen through the eyes of a rookie newspaper reporter, is chronicled in Never Shoot A Stampede Queen. Jack MacLeod's novel Uproar offers a humorous story which touches on serious issues at the same time that it makes you laugh. In the Land of the Long Fingernails is the unusual title of Charles Wilkins' memoir about his summer job as a gravedigger back in 1969. Six judges from across Canada and a group of 11 readers from the local community will select the winner, to be announced April 30, 2009 at the Stephen Leacock Museum in Orillia, Ontario. The Leacock Medal for Humour was first awarded in 1947, three years after the death of the author of Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town. Past Leacock winners include W.O. Mitchell, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, Roch Carrier, Mordecai Richler and Robertson Davies. For further information: Michael Hill, Director, Stephen Leacock Association, (705) 325-9843,; Gregory Harrison, TD Bank Financial Group, (416) 308-8597,

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