The City of Calgary announced the three authors shortlisted for the $5,000 cash award in April 2018. The prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book of fiction, poetry, non-fiction, children’s literature or drama published in the preceding year. Lambert was announced as the winner on June 13, 2018.
Writing the book
While in the middle of working on another book in 2013-14, Lambert started moving furniture with Darwin’s Moving, a residential moving company in Calgary, to help pay the bills. “It was during that time that I got the idea to write a book about the moving industry and use it as a way to explore class divides,” he says.
“Darwin’s moving has a pretty good clientele of well-to-do people from the oil industry, executives, CEOs and professional athletes,” he explains. “Meanwhile, the movers tend to be the lowest rung amongst skilled labourers and on the opposite end of the socioeconomic spectrum.”
In his book, Lambert uses the moving company to bring attention to the stark contrast between the wealthy and the poor in Calgary and many other Canadian cities. “The moving industry is a bridging of a divide in a much-divided society in an intimate way that you don’t see very often. That struck me as something worth exploring,” he says.
“Once I had the idea to do it, I needed to ask Darwin [Schulz] for his permission, which he gave readily,” Lambert reports. “I was worried he would see it as a liability. I wanted to write an honest book about his guys and their backgrounds. They’re often former criminals, sometimes violent guys and sometimes they use drugs on the job.”