Morgan Murray’s Saskatchewan-Based Dirty Birds up for Three Atlantic Book Awards

On Friday evening (April 16th, 2021),  it was announced the satirical novel is a finalist for a remarkable three Atlantic Book Awards, including the APMA Best Atlantic-Published Book Award, the Margaret and John Savage First Book Award for Fiction, and the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award—one of the richest literary prizes in the country with $25,000 going to the winner.

Since its release this past August, Dirty Birds has received rave reviews, with the likes of Scotia Bank Giller Prize winner Will Ferguson comparing it to the work of Kurt Vonnegut, and winner of Canada Reads Lisa Moore calling it a “joyful extravaganza.”

Dirty Birds has also received a number of honours, including being named as a Hot Summer Read by The Globe & Mail, being picked for the CBC Books Reading List for both Fall and Winter 2020, being named to the Canada Reads 2021 Longlist, and a in March it was named a finalist for the prestigious international Foreword Indies Awards in the Humour category.

“I’m still quite dumbfounded by it all,” says Murray from his home near Mabou, NS. “The reception for Dirty Birds has so far exceeded any expectations I had while writing it. I was just hoping it would make my dad laugh,” he says.

Dirty Birds follows the misadventures of Milton Ontario—not to be confused with Milton, Ontario—and his pursuit of fame, fortune, love, and the meaning of life as he moves from his parents’ basement the fictional village of Bellybutton, Saskatchewan to vibrant and bohemian Montreal.

“Things don’t always go Milton’s way,” says Murray. “He’s not particularly talented, nor clever, nor motivated, so he sort of stumbles from one mishap and misadventure to the next, getting himself into all kinds of trouble.”

Murray, who now lives in Cape Breton with his wife, well-known cartoonist Kate Beaton, and their young daughter, grew up on his family’s farm in rural Alberta, but his mother’s side of the family hail from southern Saskatchewan, where Murray’s great-grandparents homesteaded near Riverhurst.

A celebration of all of the Atlantic Book Award finalists will take place during the 2021 Atlantic Book Festival and Awards, taking place online with virtual author events happening May 6 to 12 and a virtual Awards Gala on May 13. More information can be found at

For more information about Morgan Murray, Dirty Birds, and upcoming author events, visit

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