05/27/2015 09:01 EDT | Updated 05/27/2016 05:59 EDT

Oprah Winfrey faces off against UVic professor for audiobook award

A few years ago University of Victoria professor Calvin Sandborn tried in vain to appear on Oprah to promote his new book — now he's going head-to-head with the talkshow host for an audiobook award in New York.

"I emailed and phoned but it was pretty hard to communicate with her at that point...I think I will be able to do it now," said Sandborn.

Sandborn's book, Becoming the Kind Father: A Son's Journey, is nominated for an Audie award in the personal development category, alongside Oprah Winfrey's What I Know For Sure and four other titles. 

The book examines how his relationship with his alcoholic father made him angry and resentful in many of his personal relationships, and how he was able to change through decades of intense self-examination.

"My dad was an angry guy and I had followed in his footsteps and I was doing what a lot of men hide my heart and to have contempt for my own authentic feelings, and basically to cry bullets instead of tears, and instead of that I learned I had vulnerable feelings, [and] it is OK to have them," said Sandborn.

'I won't die if I cry'

Sandborn says writing the book provided an outlet to explore himself and how it affected people those closest to him.

"I can feel emotions, pass through them and as a man I won't die if I cry. In fact, that builds more authentic relationships for the people that I love in my life."

While Sandborn isn't going to be able to attend the ceremony on Thursday in person, he does have one request if he ever meets Oprah.

"I'd just like her to endorse my book really. She sells a lot of books."

To hear the the full interview, listen to the audio labelled UVIC professor faces off against Oprah