Sunday, May 13, 2012

Canadian Short Fiction - Danuta Gleed Literary Award

The Danuta Gleed Literary Award celebrates the best first collections of short fiction in the English language by Canadian writers. It is sponsored by the Writer's Union of Canada and was initiated by John Gleed in honour of his late wife to promote and celebrate the short fiction literary form.

Recent winners include Greedy Little Eyes (M) by Billie Livingston and Wax Boats (M) by Sara Roberts.

Starting from a crop of 36 collections, the judges have selected the following 5 titles as finalists for this year's award:

This Will Be Difficult to Explain: and other stories (M)
by Johanna Skibsrud

With this collection of wise, querying stories, Giller Prize winner Johanna Skibsrud introduces us to an astonishing array of characters, showing us through their eyes what even they cannot see and uncorking minor epiphanies in the middle of the most unremarkable days. This Will Be Difficult to Explain takes readers from South Dakota to Paris to Japan, into art galleries, foreign apartments, farms and beach hotels, and shows us the liberating bewilderment of characters who come face-to-face with what they didn't know they didn't know. Youth confronted with the mutterings of old age, restlessness bounded by the muddy confines of a back-yard garden, the callow hope coming up against the exigencies of everyday life - these are life-defining moments that weave through everyday lives of Skibsrud's characters.” - publisher

Not Anyone's Anything (M)
by Ian Williams

“Ian Williams's Not Anyone's Anything is a trio of trios: three sets of three stories, with three of those stories further divided into thirds. Mathematical, musical, and meticulously crafted, these stories play profoundly with form, and feature embedded flash cards and musical notations, literal basements, and dual narratives, semi-detached. Roaming through Toronto and its surrounding suburbia, Williams's characters wittily and wryly draw attention to the angst and anxieties associated with being somewhere between adolescence and more-than-that. They are disastrously ambitious, performing amateur surgery or perfecting Chopin; they are restless and bored, breaking into units of new subdivisions hoping for a score; they continually test the ones they love, and, though every time feels like the last time, they might be up for one more game. “ - publisher

Copernicus Avenue (M)
by Andrew J. Borkowski

""You will never know what really happened to Lech or any of us. We mean nothing by it, darling. It is a silent agreement we all have with ourselves, that nothing will ever make us prisoners again, not even memory."

Set primarily in the neighbourhood of fictional Copernicus Avenue, Andrew Borkowski's debut collection of short stories is a daring, modern take on life in Toronto's Polish community in the years following World War II. Featuring a cast of young and old, artists and soldiers, visionaries and madmen, the forgotten and the unforgettable, Copernicus Avenue captures, with bold and striking prose, the spirit of a people who have travelled to a new land, not to escape old grudges and atrocities, but to conquer them." - publisher

And Also Sharks (M)
by Jennifer Westhead

“The forlornly funny stories in And Also Sharks celebrate the socially awkward, the insecure, the unfulfilled, and the obsessed. A disgruntled follower of a self-esteem blog posts a rambling critical comment. On the hunt for the perfect coffee table, a pregnant woman and her husband stop to visit his terminally ill ex-wife. The office cat lady reluctantly joins her fellow employees crusade to cheer up their dying co-worker. A man grieving his wife's miscarriages follows his deluded friend on a stealth photo-taking mission at the Auto Show. A shoplifter creates her own narrative with stolen anecdotes and a kidnapped baby. In this collection, society's misfits and losers are portrayed sympathetically, and sometimes even heroically. As desperately as these characters long to fit in, they also take pride in what sets them apart.” - publisher

Stopping for Strangers
by Daniel Griffin

“These stories about artists, lovers, brothers and strangers acutely probe love and loss, men and women together, and the family ties that bind. A father renews an old artistic rivalry with his dying son; a raucous family gathering ends in tragedy; a quick stop to pick up a hitchhiker begins a chain of events that changes a man's life. Griffin covers birth, death and all the big moments in between. Dark and yet uplifting, these stories take us to the heart of what matters in the tangled lives of people on the edge of crisis.” - publisher

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