B. Denham Jolly Wins 2017 Toronto Book Award

B. Denham Jolly wins 2017 Toronto Book Award
B. Denham Jolly wins 2017 Toronto Book Award

Businessman and black rights activist B. Denham Jolly is the winner of the 2017 Toronto Book Award for his memoir In the Black: My Life, published by ECW Press.

“We’re really pleased that Mr. Jolly’s book, In the Black: My Life, has been selected as the winner,” said Vickery Bowles, City Librarian. “The book gives voice to a unique kind of Canadian experience that has historically not been heard. Congratulations to Denham Jolly and all the other finalists.”

Jolly’s memoir was chosen from a list of finalists that included:

  • I Hear She’s a Real Bitch, a memoir by Jen Agg, published by Doubleday Canada
  • Scarborough, a novel by Catherine Hernandez, published by Arsenal Pulp Press
  • Life on the Ground Floor, a memoir by James Maskalyk, published by Doubleday Canada
  • Any Other Way: How Toronto Got Queer, a collection of essays edited by Jane Farrow, John Lorinc, et al., published by Coach House Books

The jury citation noted: “Black rights activist and entrepreneur Denham Jolly should be a household name. With humour and colourful anecdotes, In the Black shines a light on many of the hurdles faced by immigrants trying to make a better life for themselves and their children. From politicians to community leaders, no punches are pulled as Jolly recounts the hurdles that littered his path to business, personal and community success. In the Black recounts Jolly’s journey from a happy boyhood in Jamaica to business success in Toronto publishing Contrast and founding FLOW 93.5, Canada’s first Black-owned radio station.”

“Denham Jolly’s autobiography is a quintessentially Canadian success story,” said Councillor Michael Thompson (Ward 37 Scarborough Centre), Chair of the City’s Economic Development Committee. “His memoir reveals how the lessons of his childhood in Jamaica enabled him to have an enduring and inspiring influence on Toronto’s business and cultural communities.”

More information on his book is available at ecwpress.com/products/in-the-black.

What the judges said…