Nelson Ball wins $4,000 bpNichol Chapbook Award

November 19, 2016


Celebrating more than 30 years of recognizing excellence in Canadian poetry chapbooksbpNicholChapbookAwardLogo

TORONTO (November 19, 2016) – The Meet the Presses collective announced today that Nelson Ball of Paris, Ontario, has won the 2016 bpNichol Chapbook Award for his Small Waterways, published by Apt. 9 Press ( The $,4000 prize, the richest annual award for a poetry chapbook, was presented at the 2016 Indie Literary Market, held this year at Trinity-St. Paul’s Centre in Toronto.

A testament to the quality of Ball’s chapbook is the fact that Small Waterways completely sold out, long before it won this award. But readers eager to experience the prize-winning effort will find almost all its poems in Ball’s newest paperback collection, Chewing Water, from Mansfield Press.

Though Ball, who has been publishing his poetry for six decades, was unable to attend in person, Apt. 9 Press publisher Cameron Anstee accepted the $4,000 prize on his behalf at the Meet the Presses Indie Literary Market. The prize money is donated annually by an anonymous benefactor.

Nelson Ball wrote in his speech:

This award has extra resonance for me because Barrie Nichol was a friend and (we) were both small pressers in the 1960s and 70s.

An additional $500 is donated annually by Toronto writers Brian Dedora and Jim Smith and is assigned to the publisher of the winning work.

This year’s chapbook award judges Alice Burdick (Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia) and Hoa Nguyen (Toronto, Ontario) chose the prize finalists from 68 submissions from across the country.

Of Nelson Ball’s winning collection, the judges remarked:

Small Waterways sees Nelson Ball at his crystalline finest. His small poems are deep and clear oceans of observation, sorrow, humour, and thought. Here he shines as the master of minimalism in Canada. Compressed and powerful, quotidian and enormous, his poems contain worlds.

This year’s other shortlisted poets are:

Klara du Plessis  Wax Lyrical  (Anstruther Press
Marilyn Irwin The Blue, Blue There (Apt. 9 Press
Lillian Necakov The Lake Contains an Emergency Room (Apt. 9 Press
Christine Stewart  The Odes  (Nomados Literary Publishers

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 collective devoted to organizing public events showcasing the work of independent publishers of fiction, poetry, and creative non-fiction. Its annual Indie Literary 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. The collective is proud to administer the bpNichol Chapbook Award each year, supporting those who make the artistic choice to publish in chapbook form.

For more information (including full text of speeches) and interview opportunities, contact:

 Beth Follett at    or    Nicholas Power at  

More information can be found at and