The Writers’ Union of Canada announced this evening that Paul Carlucci is the recipient of the $10,000 first prize in the 17th annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award, recognizing the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2013.
Of Paul Carlucci’s book The Secret Life of Fission (published by Oberon Press), jury members Candas Jane Dorsey, Russell Wangersky, and Ian Williams said: “The Secret Life of Fission delivers the explosiveness alluded to in its title – sharp-edged language and a kind of flying-apart. Nothing gentle here: families and relationships are either in the midst of blowing apart or else already hopelessly broken, and all is portrayed with a careful, almost dissected language that prevents the reader from glancing away. The work is spare, careful, direct and fully engrossing. These are stories well told, and unsettling the way only honesty is.”
Paul Carlucci grew up in Deep River, Ontario studied journalism at Sheridan College, and since then has lived in Labrador, Nova Scotia, Newfoundland, British Columbia and the Northwest Territories.
Runners-up Astrid Blodgett and Eufemia Fantetti will each receive $500.
Of Astrid Blodgett’s You Haven’t Changed A Bit (published by University of Alberta Press) the jury said: “The characters in Astrid Blodgett’s You Haven’t Changed a Bit live rather than perform. They are being recorded rather than created. And they are being recorded covertly in their kitchens and trucks rather than under the lights of reality TV. Even under the scrutiny of the reader, the characters act without the self-consciousness of being trapped in fiction. Blodgett’s debut collection is a prime example of literary short fiction: she satisfies the voyeuristic impulse; her voice is like clear water; she attends to ordinariness with reverence. Most of all, she enters and enlarges one’s privacy in preparation for living a more attuned life.”
Of Eufemia Fantetti’s A Recipe for Disaster & Other Unlikely Tales of Love (published by Mother Tongue Publishing) the jury said: “Eufemia Fantetti’s slim volume of stories, A Recipe for Disaster, is more of a treat than a snack for literary foodies who like their stories fun, brisk, and effortless. The theme of food is sustained without dominating the stories; it functions like a recurring secondary character or a soundtrack. Fantetti’s storytelling is both supple and disciplined as if she were whisking plots and characters together until the reader can hardly distinguish whether characters are acting or being acted upon. True to life, that’s how disasters work.”
The short list of five books was announced on May 13, 2014 and also included Théodora Armstrong’s Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility (published by Astoria) and Lisa Bird-Wilson’s, Just Pretending, (published by Coteau Books.)
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.