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Bassler book claims writer’s prize

Dr. Gerhard Bassler Dr. Gerhard Bassler’s Vikings to U-Boats: The German Experience in Newfoundland and Labrador was named the winner of the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador 2007 Heritage and History Book Award. The award was announced during an Atlantic Book Awards reading in St. John’s May 15.

“I’m very excited about winning this award,” said Dr. Bassler, adding he was especially pleased to have made a contribution to the history and heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador that looks into a previously unexplored part of our culture and society.

Mark Callanan, president of the Writers’ Alliance, pointed out the value of works like Dr. Bassler’s.

“The artistic preservation of our history and heritage is a noble undertaking,” said Mr. Callanan. “Where we come from, what we have done and been – these are the precedents that define us as a culture. Writers like Gerhard Bassler, by acting as keepers of our history and heritage, are integral to the development of this province; we congratulate him on his work and thank the Historic Sites Association for sponsoring this award.”

The award was presented by Joan Ritcey, vice-chair of the Historic Sites Association, which sponsors the award. The judges for this award were Lori Savory and JoAnne Soper-Cook.

Dr. Bassler is professor emeritus in the Department of History and has written extensively on German-speaking migrations to Newfoundland/Labrador and Canada. He is also the author of Sanctuary Denied, Alfred Valdmanis and the Politics of Survival and is currently completing a book on post-Second World War German migrations to Canada.

Vikings to U-Boats also won the 2007 Rogers Cable Non-fiction Award last spring.

Sponsored by the Historic Sites Association and administered by the Writers’ Alliance of Newfoundland and Labrador, the Heritage and History Book Award is awarded to a work of fiction, non-fiction, poetry, or children’s/young adult literature that exemplifies excellence in the interpretation of the history and heritage of Newfoundland and Labrador. The Historic Sites Association sponsors this award as a way to demonstrate appreciation for those writers whose exploration of their culture and heritage has shaped their writing.

The Heritage and History Book Award was first presented in 2004 and is awarded annually. The winner receives a $250 cash prize. Past award winners include talented authors Michael Crummey, Maura Hanrahan, and Robin McGrath. Currently, the shortlist is selected from among those books submitted to the Newfoundland and Labrador Book Awards.