Danuta Gleed Short List

Valerie Laws
Press Release

May 4, 2015

For Immediate Release


The Writers' Union of Canada is pleased to announce the short list of nominees for the eighteenth annual DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD. The Award recognizes the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2014.  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 comprised authors Shani Mootoo, Susan Swan, and John Vigna, who determined the short list from 37 collections submitted, some by seasoned writers, others by authors being published for the first time. Those finalists are:

Claire Battershill, Circus, McClelland & Stewart

Rivka Galchen, American Innovations, HarperCollins Canada

Eliza Robertson, Wallflowers, Hamish Hamilton Canada

Mireille Silcoff, Chez L’Arabe, House of Anansi Press

Janine Alyson Young, Hideout Hotel, Caitlin Press

The winners will be announced at The Writers’ Union of Canada’s OnWords Conference on May 30th

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.

Jury Comments on the Finalists for the


Claire Battershill, Circus (McClelland & Stewart)

Generous in spirit and dazzling with bright humour, Circus offers quirky characters, like reflections in a funhouse mirror, struggling for love and connection. At once clever and heartrending, these stories strike a delicate balance between complex emotion and charming idiosyncrasy. Battershill is the ringmaster of human curiosity, casting a probing but empathetic spotlight on her performers as they walk the flaming tightrope of everyday life. Delightful in its subtle turns, this whimsical collection offers great rewards for the careful reader.

Rivka Galchen, American Innovations (HarperCollins Canada)

The stories in this collection are studded with kernels of simple brilliance about our roundabout ways of thinking and acting. They begin rather dryly, as if you, the reader, in a contemporary Hemingway-like strategy, had always been a partner in their telling. Suddenly, we are swept along by the writer's delightful breadth of knowledge and intellect. Cracks in our everyday logic, the slipperiness of our regular life, are revealed. These innovative stories are, ultimately, meditations on the ordinariness, and the bizarreness, of life.

Eliza Robertson, Wallflowers (Hamish Hamilton Canada)

This assured and ambitious collection of 17 stories offers a dizzying display of Eliza Robertson’s narrative reach as she moves effortlessly between disparate voices and points of view, time and space. Here are bold and daring works, strange and dark tales that move forward or in reverse, with grief and loss at their centre. Heartbreak permeates the weighty minutiae of these characters’ lives. Robertson’s exhilarating language mesmerizes and makes the profound and deft proclamation that life can be messy but pinpricked with hope.  

Mireille Silcoff , Chez L’Arabe (House of Anansi Press)

Silcoff’s languid and satirical authorial voice evokes another big Montreal talent, Mordecai Richler. Like Richler's work, her fiction is poignant, hilarious and trenchantly observant about contemporary urban life, both in the detailed depictions of its inanities and its splendours. The linked-stories are told from the point of view of a woman in her mid-thirties, a secular Jew recovering from a spinal cord malfunction, who recounts her interactions with the people in her life with a mixture of sympathy and savvy wit. Silcoff holds a mirror up, letting the reader see how ridiculously human are the lives of the characters in her stories.

Janine Alyson Young, Hideout Hotel (Caitlin Press)

Young's tender and ironic stories about disaffected girlhood deliver surprising punches. Told in the first person, the plain spoken and endearingly honest voice of her narrators encourages you to drop your guard and become involved with her characters, whose charm will surprise and sometimes shock you. Her prose is notable for its understated style and the sophisticated intelligence of the voice. The graceful and generous spirit of her stories, which range from Australia to coastal BC, perfectly capture the way yearning young people move through the now bewildering array of attitudes and choices they face.

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