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  • E. D. Morin

It's no surprise that writers spend a lot of time working in isolation (sometimes months or years or even decades on a single project!), so when their project garners an award, it truly is gratifying. This happened on September 16, 2022 at a real, live, in-person Alberta Book Publishing Awards when our publisher, University of Alberta Press, snapped up the Trade Non-Fiction Book of the Year award for Impact. (Of note: the book was also nominated for best book cover design!)

Writers working in isolation is not the whole story, of course. The writers who contributed to this collection of personal essays and poems had to overcome brain injuries to get their words onto the page. Not to mention that "working in isolation" has come to mean a lot more to a whole lot more people in the last couple of years. All in all, it feels important for Impact to get this award. This project was a carefully-crafted collective effort of sourcing, writing, editing, vetting, reviewing, book design and production. As editors, we couldn't be more pleased that women's experiences with concussion is getting this attention.

If you haven't listened yet, I urge you to check out Kinnie Starr and my co-editor Jane Cawthorne's conversation with Shelagh Rogers on CBC Radio's The Next Chapter. The full edited transcript is here. In the episode, Kinnie and Jane speak about loss, ableism, invisibility, shame, and reclaiming identity after concussion and traumatic brain injury.

One of the many powerful things Kinnie says is, "I don't know why that is so common [to try to push through] with injuries that are invisible. I think we feel a tremendous amount of shame and it can propel poor communication. I still feel embarrassed sometimes when my sentences go too long or slow. I'll just cut myself off. That's a shame factor. We should be able to take an extra two and a half minutes to explain our thoughts without feeling embarrassed."

Jane summarizes, "There’s lessons in here for everybody. There’s so much honesty and so much bravery. These women are role models. I feel so honoured to have had the opportunity to work with them So I think there’s a lot more beyond concussion for people who are looking for examples and a roadmap for change."

Kinnie Starr's piece in Impact: Women Writing After Concussion is "I was in the back of a taxi that went into a car that rolled a stop sign". Jane Cawthorne's piece is "Lost".

  • E. D. Morin

Impact: Women Writing After Concussion, the second book I've co-edited with Jane Cawthorne, is making its debut tonight as part of the Toronto Lit Up festival.

I'm so proud of this anthology!

This is not a medical book. It's a literary book about women's lives, about their lived experience in the aftermath of concussion. It fills such an important gap in research that St. Michael's Hospital created a whole study around it.

Come for the pre-show, fifteen minutes early (4:45 pm MDT), and you will catch excerpts of the Impact book trailers. Jane and I produced these with the help of our sensationally talented film editor, Junyeong Kim. Or on YouTube HERE.

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