Winner of the 2014 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction visits Laurier

The Oil Man and the Sea

Arno Kopecky has won the 2014 Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction for The Oil Man and the Sea: Navigating the Northern Gateway (Douglas & McIntyre).

Award receptions to honour Kopecky were held Nov. 13 at Laurier’s Waterloo and Brantford campuses. The book is available for checkout from Laurier's Aboriginal Student Centre Resource Library on the Waterloo campus.

In The Oil Man and the Sea, Kopecky and photographer Ilja Herb spend 12 weeks sailing the treacherous coastal passages of the Great Bear Rainforest, slated to become a busy oil tanker route for the proposed Northern Gateway pipeline, which would transport bitumen from the Alberta oil sands to the British Columbia coast. Along the way, the novice sailors spend time with local residents, including many First Nations members, listening to their concerns about the pipeline and how it will affect their way of life, and the rainforest’s fragile ecosystem.

Part investigative journalism and part environmental travelogue, the story puts a human face on a complicated and controversial issue.

Established and endowed by award-winning author Edna Staebler, the Edna Staebler Award for Creative Non-Fiction is administered by Wilfrid Laurier University, the only university in Canada to bestow a nationally recognized literary award. The $10,000 award encourages and recognizes Canadian writers for a first or second work of creative non-fiction that includes a Canadian locale and/or significance.