The COVID-19 pandemic weighed heavily on the 2022 Canadian Atheist awards, forcing me to scale some things back, and do some things differently. Nevertheless, I’d say it all worked out!
The Canadian Atheist awards are a very informal, just-for-fun annual awards given out by me, Indi, Canadian Atheist’s managing editor. There are no actual prizes of any sort; even the statuette is just 3D render. It’s just a way to give some recognition and love to people who I think deserve it.
This year, due to the pandemic, the awards had to be scaled back quite a bit. Normally, a list of nominees is announced in each category, and then, a week or two later, the winners are announced. This year, I didn’t have time to do justice to the nominees, so I opted to simply go direct to announcing the winners.
Another change this year was in the Person of the Year category. “Traditionally”—insofar as something can be a “tradition” after only 4 or 5 years—I would consider reader input in selecting both nominees and the final winner, but the ultimate decision would be my own. It was almost always the case that my decision matched the readers’ choice anyway, but, still, I would reserve the last word for myself. This year, we got such overwhelming reader input, that I decided to flip the script, and simply defer to the readers’ will. Thus, this year’s Person of the Year is unique among all previous winners, in that they are the first truly readers’ choice Person of the Year.
So let’s get to the summary of the results.
This year’s Canadian Atheist awards had two categories:
Each category is summarized below.
Story of the Year
The 2022 Story of the year was awarded to the news or cultural story that captured the most interest or had the most impact among Canadian atheists in 2021.
Because this award was for a story in itself, and not any telling of that story – so not a particular piece written by particular journalists – there is no actual recipient of the award.
The 2022 Story of the Year was:
- Churches defying public health measures
Honourable mentions included:
- Anti-Muslim violence
- The Catholic Church and residential schools
- Québec’s Bill 21
- Christian celebrity sex pests
Person of the Year
The 2022 Person of the year was awarded to the person who Canadian Atheist readers thought had greatest positive impact in Canadian secularism, humanism, atheism and freethought in 2021. The winner did not necessarily need to be Canadian, or atheist, but it helped.
The 2022 Person of the Year was:
- Martin Frith
… and on to 2023!
I thought the logistics of running the 2021 awards was tough… I completely underestimated just how bad things could get!
The pandemic is allegedly “ending”, according to our governments—in defiance of what health experts are saying—which means that businesses that suffered slowdowns are abruptly ramping up… and that affected me; I’ve been working 6-day weeks almost non-stop since the end of last year. With no spare time whatsoever, I just wasn’t able to put in the time researching dozens of nominees.
Luckily, there was another option. There has always been reader input in the awards—with suggestions for both nominees and winners—but this year there was more input than ever. For the first time, I decided to simply defer to our readers, and let them choose the winners. And, I think it worked out well!
So… what does the future hold? Well, I really do like having the readers choose nominees and winners, but I’m not sure we get enough suggestions to support an entirely separate readers’ choice category. That would be awesome: having both a category where I research nominees and winners our readers would never think of… and a category where the readers get to make the call. Can we do it? It’s definitely something I will be looking into next year.
Other than that, I guess we’ll see how things shake out in 2023! The Canadian Atheist awards are nothing if not flexible.
And yes, by saying all that, I am confirming that there will be a 2023 Canadian Atheist awards. What form they will take, I can’t say. But they will happen.
Look forward to it!