The Writers' Union of Canada
Press Release

For Immediate Release

The Writers' Union of Canada is pleased to announce the short list of nominees for the twenty-first annual DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD. The Award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2017 in the English language. 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 Andrew J. Borkowski, Shree Ghatage, and Doretta Lau, who determined the short list from 39 collections submitted, some by seasoned writers, others by authors being published for the first time. Those finalists are:

Dawn Dumont, Glass Beads, Thistledown Press
Norma Dunning, Annie Muktuk and Other Stories, The University of Alberta Press
Camilla Grudova, The Doll’s Alphabet, Coach House Books
David Huebert, Peninsula Sinking, Biblioasis
Lori McNulty, Life on Mars, Goose Lane Editions

The winners will be announced at the Canadian Writers’ Summit (June 14–17) in Toronto. 

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

Dawn Dumont, Glass Beads (Thistledown Press)
These beautifully rendered interconnected stories span a few decades in the lives of four young Indigenous people as they navigate friendship, family, personal ambition, and systemic racism. Dumont’s language is precise and concise, delving into difficult emotions and situations with clarity, grace, and honesty. Her characters are luminous, her narrative voice powerful while allowing for vulnerable moments to arise.

Norma Dunning, Annie Muktuk and Other Stories (The University of Alberta Press)
The poignant stories in this collection evoke the silent and overt desires, aspirations, successes, failures, and inner lives of its many Inuit characters, including the charismatic Annie Muktuk. The language is invigorating, the tone wry, and the relationships playful and heartbreaking. Dunning crafts a landscape that is at once intimate and mythically vast. Tragedy and humour intertwine in spellbinding narratives that deliver raw emotion and an acute sense of humanity.

Camilla Grudova, The Doll’s Alphabet (Coach House Books)
Dark, playful, and eerily resonant, the off-kilter worlds of these stories are rife with enchantment and surprise.  A woman becomes unstitched, another has pinned her hopes on a man with no papers, and a tormented girl conjures an angel with her friend. Grudova’s narrative voice is fresh and her point of view singular. The stories act as a funhouse mirror, reflecting real contemporary concerns in unexpected ways.

David Huebert, Peninsula Sinking (Biblioasis)
A sense of wonderment penetrates the everyday lives of characters from the Maritimes in this well-crafted, compelling collection that displays a mastery of classical short-story structure and technique. Huebert’s vibrant language juxtaposes tough characters with tender preoccupations, creating narratives that are unsettling and mesmerizing, making ordinary moments in relationships thrilling and dangerous.

Lori McNulty, Life on Mars (Goose Lane Editions)
This marvellous collection displays a deep understanding of human nature through its gritty, complex, vivid, and believable characters, who find themselves experiencing alienation no matter where they live or travel in the world. McNulty’s language is lucid, fluid, and precise, employing inventive similes and metaphors. The work highlights the fragile, random unpredictability of life: we are victims of our circumstances, our natures, and our bodies. 
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. 


- 30 -

For additional information
John Degen, Executive Director
The Writers’ Union of Canada
416.703.8982 ext. 221

DATE: May 9, 2018