Shelstad and Whishaw Nominated for Crime Writers of Canada Award

TouchWood Editions is delighted to announce that Sam Shelstad, author of Citizens of Light, and Iona Whishaw, author of the Lane Winslow Mystery Series, have been nominated for the Best Crime First Novel and Whodunit Award for Best Traditional Mystery respectively. The Crime Writers of Canada have revealed the shortlists for the 2023 Awards of Excellence across 10 categories. Winners will be announced on Thursday, May 25, 2023. Stay tuned for the exciting results!

This is the first award nomination for Citizens of Light, a bleakly madcap, noir anti-thriller reminiscent of Twin Peaks and the work of Ottessa Moshfegh and early Kate Atkinson. Shelstad has contributed to McSweeney’s Internet TendencyThe New Quarterly and Joyland, and has been praised by fellow Canadian authors Sheila Heti, Gary Barwin, Terry Fallis, Amy Jones, and Naben Ruthnum. Citizens of Lights received a rave review from the Toronto Star saying, “Shelstad’s lucid writing ensures that the book’s balancing act of tones, which pirouettes between raucous humour and high-wire tension, never becomes a morass of unconsolidated elements.” Sam Shelstad will be appearing at the upcoming MOTIVE Crime & Mystery Festival in Toronto on June 4, 2023.

This is Whishaw’s first nomination for a Crime Writers of Canada Award and it has been seven years and nine more books since her first novel in the Lane Winslow series, whose main character is loosely based on her mother who served as a spy in WWII and was a firecracker feminist ahead of her time. Whishaw published A Killer in Kings Cove (book #1), in October 2016 and launched To Track a Traitor (book #10), on April 25, 2023 to a live audience in Vancouver at Book Warehouse on Main St. and was joined on stage by bestselling author Eve Lazarus. Following that, she toured Vancouver Island, visiting independent bookshops signing copies and presenting at events for fans dedicated to the series, which has now sold over 115,000 copies in all formats.

Whishaw’s novels are set in the post-WWII era, a time rife with racism, sexism and xenophobia, but her approach to the subjects through a historical fiction lens is “never preachy or pedantic, and [she] continues to use her murder mysteries to explore the limitations on women’s lives and freedom that were contemporary to the period,” writes Kerry Clare, author of Waiting for a Star to Fall. Whishaw has received praise from fellow authors, Ian Hamilton, Sam Wiebe, Genevieve Graham, and Alan Hlad, among others, and has interviewed mystery genre icons like J.A. Jance, Donna Leon and Ann Cleeves. Her most recent novel, To Track a Traitor, recently received a starred review in Publishers Weekly, praising Whishaw for her “smooth transitions between a dizzying number of locations, time periods, and points of view, all while shepherding the narrative to an immensely satisfying conclusion.”

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