Vancouver Zeitgeist
Reflections on Vancouver, British Columbia and other topics, related or not


“A dystopia
whose time has come”

2021 Stephen Leacock award celebrates
the courage and humility of Canadian journalism

You Can’t Say That


May 25, 2021, Orillia, ON: Although not unprecedented, this year’s Stephen Leacock award departs from usual practice to honour a humorous book. But taking an approach that’s fictional and funny doesn’t preclude serious realism: You Can’t Say That portrays the integrity of Canadian institutions, especially journalism, amid overwhelming adversity.

This is the story of Mackenzie Taylor Mitchell, a Toronto Star crusader for justice who comes face-to-face (almost!) with absolute evil. Whether they’ve encountered her in media or elsewhere, readers will quickly recognize Mackenzie as that Canadian archetype who takes a brave, selfless stand even as a crisis of hate threatens her country. Labelled “a dystopia whose time has come,” this novella depicts Canada’s fearless fourth estate standing on guard.

You Can’t Say That affirms the strengths, values and common sense that continue to build a more perfect society that’s an inspiration to the world.

“Real satire has become alien to Canadian literature but, as many of the contest’s previous winning books show, so has humour,” noted Paula Hiebert, a new addition to the Leacock jury. “So this year’s selection leaves one big question open to conjecture: What might Stephen Leacock have thought?”

Readers can decide for themselves. Click here for an advance copy of You Can’t Say That.

How’s my blogging?