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Books Winnipeg author Maurice Mierau wins 2016 Kobzar Literary Award

Maurice Mierau

Andrew Lahodynskyj

Maurice Mierau is the winner of the 2016 Kobzar Literary Award, which honours the best in literature with a Ukrainian-Canadian theme, it was announced Wednesday.

The Winnipeg author was awarded the biennial prize for his 2014 memoir, Detachment: An Adoption Memoir, which chronicles the experience and aftermath of Mierau and his wife's decision to adopt two young boys from Ukraine.

"Mierau's narrative grips our hearts as we enter the complicated world of adoption in Ukraine and confronts the challenges of parenting children as they adapt to a new family in Canada," said Dr. Christine Turkewych, director of literary arts for the Shevchenko Foundation, which funds the prize, in a statement.

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Mierau receives $20,000 while his publisher, Calgary's Freehand Books, receives $5,000.

The other nominees were Grant Buday for his novel The Delusionist; Orest T. Martynowych for The Showman and the Ukrainian Cause: Folk Dance, Film and the Life of Vasile Avramenko; Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch for her historical children's book Underground Soldier; and Stacey Zembrzycki for According to Baba: A Collaborative Oral History of Sudbury's Ukrainian Community.

They each receive $1,500.

This year's jury was composed of authors Karen Connelly, Tamas Dobozy and Shandi Mitchell, a previous winner of the prize; in a statement, they said they were "inspired by the many literary works, histories, life stories, and documentaries that were entered for the prize and grateful for the insights they offered into a cultural and historical tradition that were not necessarily our own."

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