Short List Announced for the 2012 Danuta Gleed Literary Award

Toronto, May 13, 2013The Writers' Union of Canada is pleased to announce the short list of nominees for the sixteenth annual DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD. The Award recognizes the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2012. The Award consists of cash prizes for the three best first collections, with a first prize of $10,000 and two additional prizes of $500.
 
The jury this year was comprised of authors Bill Gaston, Alexander MacLeod, and Carol Malyon, who determined the short list from 29 collections submitted, some by seasoned writers, others by authors being published for the first time. Those finalists are:
 
Rebecca Lee, Bobcat and other stories, Hamish Hamilton Canada
Paul Marlowe, Ether Frolics, Sybertooth Inc.
Anton Piatigorsky, The Iron Bridge, Goose Lane Editions
Yasuko Thanh, Floating Like the Dead, McClelland & Stewart
John Vigna, Bull Head, Arsenal Pulp Press
 
The winners will be announced on June 11, 2013. 
 
The Award was created as a celebration of the life of Danuta Gleed, a writer whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996. Danuta Gleed’s first collection of short fiction, One of the Chosen, was posthumously published by BuschekBooks. The Award is made possible through a generous donation from John Gleed, in memory of his late wife, and is administered by The Writers’ Union of Canada.
 
The Writers’ Union of Canada is our country’s national organization representing professional authors of books. Founded in 1973, the Union is dedicated to fostering writing in Canada, and promoting the rights, freedoms, and economic well-being of all writers.
 
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For additional information:
John Degen, Executive Director
The Writers’ Union of Canada
416.703.8982 Ext. 221
jdegen@writersunion.ca
www.writersunion.ca
 
Jury Comments on the Finalists for the
2012 DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD
 
Rebecca Lee, Bobcat and other stories, Hamish Hamilton Canada
These seven impeccably crafted stories pull off what may be the most difficult balancing act in fiction.  Working with prose that is simultaneously clear, yet insightfully nuanced, Lee constructs memorable scenes, characters, scenarios and entire plots in which a penetrating intelligence is continually forced to grapple with the raw force of human emotion and the power of unconscious impulses that refuse to be managed or completely understood. What happens when strategy fails, when being smart is not enough, when love or its lack obliterate our best-laid plans? Rebecca Lee knows.  This is a rare collection that all careful readers will appreciate.

Paul Marlowe, Ether Frolics, Sybertooth Inc.
Here is a work of verve, daring, and a near-lunatic sense of play. Inside are nine gothic tales written in an often archaic style, involving members of the Etheric Explorers Club:  an artist is tortured by presentiments of the future; members of an Antarctic expedition develop a blood-lust; a narrator and a ghost play whist. Marlowe offers a neatly controlled yet artfully wild and original sense of the bizarre and otherworldly. A unique collection that deserves readers.

Anton Piatigorsky, The Iron Bridge, Goose Lane Editions
To fictionalize and dramatize scenes from the early lives of history’s most infamous tyrants and practitioners of genocide is a unique and boldly challenging premise, and Piatigorsky succeeds against all odds. These complex and fascinating portraits illuminate while offering no excuses, no justification for crimes later committed. That these monsters-to-be are given such convincing humanity is a testament to Piatigorsky‘s delicate craft, his patience and subtle creativity with the historical material at hand, and insight into the darkest possibilities of the human mind.

Yasuko Thanh, Floating Like the Dead, McClelland & Stewart
Set in various time periods, on various continents, with characters that span cultures, these stories demonstrate a great gift of voice, and an extremely versatile talent. Exotic as Thanh’s characters may be, they are instantly recognizable. Their various struggles are heartbreaking yet never sentimental. Not many collections are this colourful, and this entertaining. Mostly, these are stories about yearning in its many and various guises, and Thanh’s not inconsiderable achievement is to reveal the universality of the human heart.

John Vigna, Bull Head, Arsenal Pulp Press
This collection pulls few punches in its declaration that life is tough. This is brave fiction that dares to probe the heart’s darker reaches. These characters can’t help but break a reader’s heart--we want things to go well for them, but we know there's no way that's going to happen. These are men who've lost everything and who try their best to make the hurt go away, and in their foibles, and their struggles to connect and to make amends, one can’t help but see oneself.