The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour's Hilarious Record of Overlooking Women

Posted on the 02 April 2015 by Jennifervillamere
Stephen Leacock Medal Humour's Hilarious Record Overlooking WomenThe short list for this year's Stephen Leacock Award was announced yesterday. A woman made the shortlist! Zarqa Nawaz' s Laughing All The Way to the Mosque is in the running. But what chance does she have of winning? If gender is an indicator, not much.

What is the Stephen Leacock Award?

The Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour is presented annually to the writer of the year's best Canadian humor book written in English. Established in 1947, it's one of our country's oldest literary prizes and it's the only one awarded for humour.
The award is a tribute to Canadian humourist Stephen Leacock whose work is so awesome and I am so passionate about it that one time I stole this record from my high school library:

The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour's hilarious record of overlooking women

I'm not just bitching about inequality, I'm passionate about this guy and his award.

How often do women win the award?

Not often. Women have won 6 times in the 67 years the awards have been bestowed. (They didn't award it in '59. They dealt out a super burn to nominees instead by reporting there weren't any worthy candidates.)
The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour's hilarious record of overlooking women

I know what you're thinking: Well, the award's been around since '47. Times were different then, they probably didn't give an award to a woman 'til like, the '60s or '70s and now things are naturally evening out.

Check out this chart

The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour's hilarious record of overlooking women

There was 1 female winner in the '40s, 2 in the '50s, 1 in the '70s, 1 in the '90s and we had one in 2013. That means that there were 0 female winners in the entire decades of the '60s, '80s or '00s.
The Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour's hilarious record of overlooking women

I'm not disputing the quality of the winners

The award seems custom made for the work of Stuart McLean, who has won 3 times. Arthur Black is another deserving winner who has taken the award 3 times. Robertson Davies, Pierre Berton, Farley Mowat, Mordecai Richler — these are not just authors, they are Canadian icons, and all have rightfully won the award.
But when the winners are this gender lopsided, we've got to administer a serious fucking side eye to the process.
I mean, I don't doubt that the Russians love Putin, but when 146 per cent of the Russian electorate turns out for the parliamentary elections, we take a closer look, right?
That's all I want. Let's just take a closer look from now on.

For your perusal, here is this year's short list plus a list of all past winners. Add them to your reading list. There are some real gems here. No time to read them all? Pick up the Penguin Anthology Of Canadian Humour, by Stephen Leacock Award winner Will Ferguson.

The 2015 short list

  • Curtains For Roy by Aaron Bushkowsky
  • Where I Belong by Alan Doyle
  • No Relation by Terry Fallis
  • Laughing All The Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz
  • A Loose Egg by Robert Wringham

Past winners of the Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour

YearAuthorBook Title

1947Harry L. SymonsOjibway Melody

1948Paul HiebertSarah Binks

1949Angeline HangoTruthfully Yours

1950Earle BirneyTurvey

1951Eric NicolThe Roving I

1952Jan HilliardThe Salt Box

1953Lawrence EarlThe Battle of Baltinglass

1954Joan WalkerPardon My Parka

1955Robertson DaviesLeaven of Malice

1956Eric NicolShall We Join the Ladies?

1957Robert Thomas AllenThe Grass Is Never Greener

1958Eric NicolGirdle Me a Globe

1959No award given

1960Pierre BertonJust Add Water and Stir

1961Norman WardMice in the Beer

1962W. O. MitchellJake and the Kid

1963Donald JackThree Cheers for Me

1964Harry J. BoyleHomebrew and Patches

1965Gregory ClarkWar Stories

1966George BainNursery Rhymes to be Read Aloud by Young Parents with Old Children

1967Richard J. NeedhamNeedham's Inferno

1968Max FergusonAnd Now...Here's Max

1969Stuart TruemanYou're Only as Old as You Act

1970Farley MowatThe Boat Who Wouldn't Float

1971Robert Thomas AllenWives, Children and Other Wild Life

1972Max BraithwaiteThe Night We Stole the Mountie's Car

1973Donald BellSaturday Night at the Bagel Factory

1974Donald JackThat's Me in the Middle

1975Morley TorgovA Good Place to Come From

1976Harry J. BoyleThe Luck of the Irish

1977Ray GuyThat Far Greater Bay

1978Ernest BucklerWhirligig

1979Sondra GotliebTrue Confections

1980Donald JackMe Bandy, You Cissie

1981Gary LautensTake My Family...Please!

1982Mervyn J. HustonGophers Don't Pay Taxes

1983Morley TorgovThe Outside Chance of Maximilian Glick

1984Gary LautensNo Sex Please...We're Married

1985Ted AllanLove Is a Long Shot

1986Joey SlingerNo Axe Too Small to Grind

1987W. P. KinsellaThe Fencepost Chronicles

1988Paul QuarringtonKing Leary

1989Joseph KertesWinter Tulips

1990W. O. MitchellAccording to Jake and the Kid

1991Howard WhiteWriting in the Rain

1992Roch CarrierPrayers of a Very Wise Child

1993John LevesqueWaiting for Aquarius

1994Bill RichardsonBachelor Brothers Bed and Breakfast

1995Josh FreedFear of Frying and Other Fax of Life

1996Marsha BoultonLetters from the Country

1997Arthur BlackBlack in the Saddle Again

1998Mordecai RichlerBarney's Version

1999Stuart McLeanHome from the Vinyl Cafe

2000Arthur BlackBlack Tie and Tales

2001Stuart McLeanVinyl Cafe Unplugged

2002Will FergusonGenerica

2003Dan NeedlesWith Axe and Flask: A History of Persephone Township From Pre-Cambrian Times to the Present

2004Ian FergusonVillage of the Small Houses: A Memoir of Sorts

2005Will FergusonBeauty Tips from Moose Jaw

2006Arthur BlackPitch Black

2007Stuart McLeanSecrets from the Vinyl Cafe

2008Terry FallisThe Best Laid Plans

2009Mark Leiren-YoungNever Shoot a Stampede Queen: A Rookie Reporter in the Cariboo

2010Will FergusonBeyond Belfast: A 560-Mile Walk Across Northern Ireland on Sore Feet

2011Trevor ColePractical Jean

2012Patrick deWittThe Sisters Brothers

2013Cassie StocksDance, Gladys, Dance

2014Bill ConallThe Promised Land

Stephen Leacock Medal Humour's Hilarious Record Overlooking Women

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