The Writers' Union of Canada
Press Release

For Immediate Release

TORONTO – The Writers’ Union of Canada announced this evening that Norma Dunning is the recipient of the $10,000 first prize in the 21st annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award, recognizing the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2017 in the English language. The announcement was made during the Canadian Writers’ Summit.

Of Norma Dunning’s book Annie Muktuk and Other Stories (published by The University of Alberta Press), jury members Andrew J. Borkowski, Shree Ghatage, and Doretta Lau said: “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.”

Norma Dunning is an Inuit writer, scholar, researcher, and grandmother who grew up experiencing a silenced form of Aboriginality in the southern areas of Canada. When she began to write about her own ancestors, her Inukness became evident. Her creative work keeps her most grounded in the traditional Inuit ways of knowing and belonging. She lives in Edmonton.

Runners-up Dawn Dumont and David Huebert will each receive $500.

Of Dawn Dumont’s Glass Beads (published by Thistledown Press) the jury said: “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.”

Of David Huebert’s Peninsula Sinking (published by Biblioasis) the jury said: “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.”

The short list of five books was announced on May 9, 2018, and also included Camilla Grudova’s The Doll’s Alphabet (published by Coach House Books) and Lori McNulty’s Life on Mars (published by Goose Lane 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.

To date, the award has presented more than $155,000 to writers and has recognized more than 100 first collections of short fiction for their excellence. The first recipient was Curtis Gillespie for The Progress of an Object in Motion. Other winners have included Dennis Bock for Olympia, Pasha Malla for The Withdrawal Method, Heather O’Neill for Daydreams for Angels, Ian Williams for Not Anyone’s Anything, and last year’s winner Kris Bertin for Bad Things Happen.

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

DATE: June 14, 2018