Pajama Press is pleased to announce that Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has been shortlisted for the 2015 Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People.
This Young Adult novel, set in Canada and Anatolia during World War I, uses a compelling love story to explore two difficult and significant historical events: the internment of so-called enemy aliens in Canada, and the Armenian Genocide. Skrypuch, the granddaughter of a World War I internee, conducted extensive research into history that had not been brought to light in 100 years.
Ali and Zeynep, the novel’s protagonists, are betrothed Anatolian teenagers caught by circumstances that threaten to separate them forever. While Ali has found passage to a better life in Canada, war breaks out in 1914; he is declared an enemy alien and sent to an internment camp. Meanwhile, left behind in a country plunged into war and revolution, Zeynep is determined to stay alive and—despite the impossible odds—cross a continent and an ocean to find Ali again. First, though, she must find a way to save her Christian Armenian neighbours from the horrors of the Armenian Genocide.
Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch is the multi-award winning author of more than a dozen historical picture books, chapter books, and juvenile and young adult novels, including three other novels about the Armenian genocide: The Hunger, Nobody’s Child, and Daughter of War. Her first work of narrative non-fiction, Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War, won the Red Cedar Information Book Award, was an OLA Red Maple Honour Book, and was nominated for the Hamilton Literary Award. It was followed in 2012 by One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way, winner of the 2014 OLA Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award. In 2008, in recognition of her outstanding achievement in the development of the culture of Ukraine, Marsha was awarded the Order of Princess Olha, which was bestowed upon her personally by the president of Ukraine. Marsha lives in Brantford, Ontario.
The Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People is administered annually by the TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre. Established in memory of children’s author and historian Geoffrey Bilson, it awards $5,000.00 to the Canadian author of an outstanding work of historical fiction for children or young adults. The winner will be announced at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre Awards Gala in Toronto on November 18th.