May 31st, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 22
Local author recognized
Rick Gillis recognized at the 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Pass Herald Contributor
The 11th Annual National Indie Excellence Awards (NIEA) has recognized “The Boy Who Couldn’t Die”, a novel by Rick Gillis of Lethbridge and formerly of the Crowsnest Pass, in the category of fiction as a finalist in this year’s competition.

This prestigious national award is open to all English language books in print from small, medium, university, self and independent publishers.

The National Indie Excellence Awards exist to help establish independent publishing as a strong and proud facet of the publishing industry. Recognizing authors that put their heart and soul into their work, the NIEA is a champion of self-publishers and the small, independent presses that go the extra mile to produce books of excellence in every aspect. Established in 2007, the NIEA competition is judged by experts from all aspects of the book industry, including publishers, writers, editors, book cover designers and professional copywriters.

Winners and finalists are determined based on “overall excellence of presentation - a synergy of form and content.”
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“The Boy Who Couldn’t Die” is a fiction novel based on some factual background.

It all seems humorously idyllic; young boys growing up in the 1950s and 60s in a string of small rural communities in a high mountain pass in Southwestern Alberta. Coal and lumber were king, which meant prosperity and family life flourished. Then there were the boys themselves, particularly young Ricky Callaghan, with a penchant for trouble and often-dangerous mischief. The litany of misdeeds is told through Ricky’s older sister, Kathryn.

But there’s something not quite right about the telling, a strange and disquieting other-worldliness that permeates these anecdotes, surfacing from time to time as a reminder that this story is something more than a sisterly reminiscence.
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Kathryn’s journal, as it turns out, serves to set the stage for a deeper and more troubling story, a story of love, loss, pain and how we as humans deal with the tragedies that can often befall us. The result is a story that will elicit a smile or an open belly laugh in one moment, then tears the next.

“We are proud to announce the winners and finalists whose books truly embody the excellence that this award was created to celebrate, and we salute you all for your fine work,” says Ellen Reid, founder of the NIEA.

Gillis’s book is available at the Crowsnest Pass Public Art Gallery and at the Crowsnest Pass Museum. It is also available at in both hard copy and Kindle versions.
For more information visit
May 31st, 2017 ~ Vol. 87 No. 22
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