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Laurier books shortlisted for Speaker’s Book Award
Two books with ties to Wilfrid Laurier University were shortlisted for the inaugural Speaker’s Book Award, a program initiated by MPP Dave Levac, speaker of the Legislative Assembly of Ontario and a Laurier alumnus. The Speaker’s Book Award recognizes authors who explore the diverse culture and rich history of Ontario.
Brice Balmer, assistant professor at the Waterloo Lutheran Seminary, is co-author of the shortlisted book, Persistent Poverty: Voices from the Margins. Balmer and his co-authors, Jamie Swift and Mira Dineen, attended the awards reception March 19.
“Receiving a silver medal as a finalist in the first Ontario Speaker’s Book Award was deeply fulfilling,” said Balmer. “The award came in the halls where legislators debate the issues in our book. Though I have often been in those halls, on that night it felt like the voices of the marginalized in Persistent Poverty have actually been heard in a place where changes can occur.”
Persistent Poverty is an analysis of poverty in Ontario from the voices of the many peoples caught in the welfare system, as well as a social audit to understand how policies affect people. Balmer says that too many Ontario residents dismiss the important work of the legislature in policies, regulations and procedures, and that there needs to be more discussion that supports and challenges the political process.
Also in attendance at the awards reception was former Principal/Vice-President of Laurier’s Brantford campus, Leo Groarke, whose book, Reinventing Brantford: A University Comes Downtown, was another of the 15 shortlisted books.
Groarke guided Laurier Brantford through its first decade, a period in which the campus grew from 39 students and one building in 1999 to 16 buildings and nearly 2,400 students ten years later. He also played a lead role in establishing successful partnerships with the city, the county, community groups, Aboriginal communities, and other post-secondary educational institutions.
For more information about the Speaker’s Book Award, visit the award’s webpage.