Lissa Wolsak wins $4,000 bpNichol Chapbook Award


Celebrating 30 years of recognizing excellence in Canadian poetry chapbooks


TORONTO – November 14, 2015 – The Meet the Presses Collective announced today that Lissa Wolsak (Vancouver, British Columbia) has won the 2015 bpNichol Chapbook Award for Of Beings Alone: The Eigenface, published by Nomados Press. This is the richest annual literary award for a poetry chapbook.

The prize was awarded at the 2015 Indie Literary Market, held at the Tranzac Club in Toronto. The Market is a curated event that introduces the public to independent literary publishers and authors of books, chapbooks, magazines, broadsheets, and recordings that are largely not available in bookstores. Though Wolsak was unable to attend in person, friend and poet David Dowker accepted the $4,000 prize on her behalf. Here’s an excerpt from her acceptance speech:

“In 1988 I twice heard bpNichol indirectly call my name. I was spellbound by both his performances. Poetry was to become my lasting love and my entire future’s immersion. My wholehearted and warmest gratitude to Meet the Presses Collective, for this splendid acknowledgement and gift!”

Thanks to a generous annual donation from Toronto writers Brian Dedora and Jim Smith, the publisher of the winning work, Nomados Press, also received $500. Here is a quote from their acceptance speech:

“Nomados Literary Publishers is tremendously proud that Lissa Wolsak is receiving the bp Nichol Chapbook Award this year. We are very honoured to have helped this book into the world, and constantly grateful that the bpNichol Chapbook Award continues to encourage micropublishers like us across Canada to extend the map of the real, and to enhance and enlarge the very existence of a vibrant and unorthodox Canadian writing.”

Judges Alice Burdick (Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia) and Karl Jirgens (Windsor, Ontario) chose the prize finalists from 68 submissions from across the country. This year’s other shortlisted poets are:

Nelson Ball, A Gathering (BookThug)

Jason Christie, Cursed Objects (above/ground press)

Phil Hall, Notes from Gethsemani (Nomados Press)

Ben Ladouceur, Lime Kiln Quay Road (above/ground press)

Matt Rader, I Don’t Want to Die Like Frank O’Hara (baseline press)

Of Wolsak’s winning collection, the judges remarked: “This is a wonderfully lucid narrative that takes the reader through the web of perception. Wolsak’s delicate precise language shapes the text – and leads us through both solid and sense worlds. Such a strange and effective articulation of the mysteries of existence.”

About the Prize:

Awarded annually since its establishment in 1985, the bpNichol Chapbook Award goes to the author of the best poetry chapbook – a collection of no more than 48 pages – published in Canada in the previous year. The award is named in honour of the late poet, novelist, and micropress publisher bpNichol, who was the original co-judge of the award 30 years ago.

About Meet the Presses:

Meet the Presses is a volunteer literary collective devoted to organizing public events showcasing the work of independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. The Collective is proud to administer the bpNichol Chapbook Award each year, supporting those who make the artistic choice to publish in chapbook form.

More information can be found at and


Media contact: Susannah Ames, or 647-991-5349