Saskatchewan Book Awards

Last night at Conexus Arts Centre the 17th annual Saskatchewan Book Awards gala was held. Book of the Year honours were captured by Margaret Hryniuk and Frank Korvemaker for their lushly illustrated Legacy of Stone: Saskatchewan's Stone Buildings (Coteau Books).

Other big winners included Wilfred Burton and Anne Patton, who received three awards (Publishing, First People's Publishing and First People's Writing) for Dancing in My Bones (Gabriel Dumont Institute); and Trevor Herriot, who garnered two awards (Non-Fiction and Regina Book) for Grass, Sky, Song: Promise and Peril in the World of Grassland Birds (HarperCollins). Connie Gault, meanwhile, captured the Fiction prize for Euphoria: A Novel (Coteau Books).

For a complete list of winners in the 14 categories visit www.bookawards.sk.ca

Pick of the Day: Grey Cup

Not technically in Regina, but half the city's probably in Calgary for the game, and it is on TV, so what the hell.

At the beginning of the week, the Riders were nine-point underdogs. Since then, the point spread's held steady. For a title game, that's pretty big. It's hard to argue with bettors though. It's not that the Riders are a bad team, far from it. While they had their ups and downs this year, they definitely exceeded even the most optimistic fan's expectations. Montreal, though, has been dominant all season long. They come into the game healthy, and as their 56-18 evisceration of the B.C. Lions last week would seem to indicate, they are playing at a very high level.

From a distance, it might seem like we're in for a repeat of 1997. That year, the Riders finished third, but with QB Reggie Slack running with authority, they were able to sneak past Calgary and Edmonton in the West semi-final and final. By that point, though, Slack was pretty banged up, and the Riders were no match for the Doug Flutie-led Toronto Argonauts who prevailed 47-23 in the Grey Cup in Edmonton.

The result could be the same this year, I suppose. As a team, Montreal is certainly on par with the Argos. But whereas the Riders' '97 Grey Cup appearance might be classed a fluke, this year's team deserves to be in Calgary as West division champions. Darian Durant has matured greatly as a QB this season, and as a team, the Riders are playing much better football than they were Aug. 21 when they lost to the Alouettes 34-25 in Montreal. That extends beyond the offence too. Special teams, led by returner Jason Armstead, have stepped up, and the defence was dominant in the last two games against the potent Calgary Stampeders offence.

Add in a boisterous pro-Rider crowd, and a tendancy Montreal's exhibited over the last number of years of not always playing their best football in the title game, and Riders just might have a shot.

Game time on TSN is 5:30 p.m. And for those of you who aren't big into football, Canuck indie rockers Moneen are at the Exchange tonight with Passenger Action and Sights & Sounds. Here's the video for Moneen's "Hold That Sound" off their 2009 album The World I Left Behind. (YouTube)

As well, head-bangers Municipal Waste, backed up by The Accused, are at Riddell Centre. Here's the video for "Sadistic Magician"off their 2008 album The Art of Partying. (YouTube)

Ed. Note: the Municipal Waste gig has been cancelled. The Moneen show, though, is still a go.