Winners Announced for the 2014 Danuta Gleed Literary Award
WINNIPEG – The Writers’ Union of Canada announced this evening that Rivka Galchen is the recipient of the $10,000 first prize in the 18th annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award, recognizing the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2014.
Of Rivka Galchen’s book American Innovations (published by HarperCollins Canada), jury members Shani Mootoo, Susan Swan, and John Vigna said: “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.”
Rivka Galchen, is the recipient of a William Saroyan International Prize for Fiction and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, among other distinctions. She writes regularly for The New Yorker. Her debut novel, the critically acclaimed Atmospheric Disturbances, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award and the Rogers’ Writers Trust Fiction Prize. Born in Toronto, Rivka Galchen now lives in New York City.
Runners-up Eliza Robertson and Mireille Silcoff will each receive $500.
Of Eliza Robertson’s Wallflowers (published by Hamish Hamilton Canada) the jury said: “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.”
Of Mireille Silcoff’s Chez L’Arabe (published House of Anansi Press) the jury said: “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.”
The short list of five books was announced on May 4, 2015 and also included Claire Battershill’s Circus (published by McClelland & Stewart) and Janine Alyson Young’s, Hideout Hotel, (published by Caitlin Press.)
The Danuta Gleed Literary 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. www.writersunion.ca