WINNERS ANNOUNCED FOR THE 2015 DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD

The Writers’ Union of Canada announced this evening that Heather O’Neill is the recipient of the $10,000 first prize in the 19th annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award, recognizing the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2015 in the English language.
 
Of Heather O’Neill’s book Daydreams of Angels (published by HarperCollins Canada), jury members Shauna Singh Baldwin, Barry Dempster and Dora Dueck said: “Gypsies, cherubs, androids, wolf boys and the Marquis de Sade are just a few of the characters who populate Heather O’Neill’s Daydreams of Angels, a fanciful, fantastical collection of post-modern fairy tales. Despite the sweetness at the core of almost every story, the book is filled with dark, often sticky, surprises. You’re guaranteed to come away from an O’Neill story both delighted and disturbed; she can go from the heights of glee to devilish anxiety in the space of a paragraph. Hers is a world of great imaginative alchemy. Whether she’s writing about shipwrecks, babies washed up on the beach or Rudolf Nureyev clones, she’s dead serious about her shape-shifting themes, fearless in the face of the wild and the absurd.”
 
Heather O’Neill is the author of The Girl Who Was Saturday Night, which was a finalist for the 2014 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Her first novel, Lullabies for Little Criminals, won CBC Canada Reads and the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction. It was also a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction and the Orange Prize. She was born in Montreal, where she currently lives.
 
Runners-up Andrew Forbes and Kevin Hardcastle will each receive $500.
 
Of Andrew Forbes’ What You Need (published by Invisible Publishing) the jury said: “Andrew Forbes’ stories inWhat You Need are plainly spoken, his characters ending up in bar fights, playing high school sports and building thermonuclear devices in their garages. He has a gift for balancing good old-fashioned narratives with surprising implosions of fate. Voice and details are his strong point. Whether they’re digging up a dead friend or puzzling over their daughter’s ability to walk through walls, his characters are easy to relate to, they are true to themselves and they engage the reader, who can’t wait to turn the page. What You Need is insightful and intelligent, sharp and deep as bone.”
 
Of Kevin Hardcastle’s Debris (published by Biblioasis) the jury said: “Debris is a spare and shadow-drenched book, the sentences well-wrought, the voice never less than distinctive. His characters include a cage fighter being tracked down by the Hell’s Angels, a night clerk at a seedy hotel who makes moonshine whisky and a gas contract salesman wearing out his shoes in a number of Alberta towns. These are tough-talking men who advertise their misery like a kind of nakedness. Strangely, the result of all this suffering and violence is a beauty that at times takes your breath away.”
  
The short list of five books was announced on May 10, 2016 and also included Gerard Beirne’s In a Time of Drought and Hunger (published by Oberon Press) and Hugh Graham’s Last Words (published by Exile Editions).
 
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.  
 
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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