This week the Writers’ Union of Canada announced the shortlist for this year’s Danuta Gleed Literary Award which recognizes “the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2012”.
This year’s nominees are:
“A university student on her summer abroad is offered the unusual task of arranging a friend’s marriage. Secret infidelities and one guest’s dubious bobcat-related injury propel a Manhattan dinner party to its unexpected conclusion. Students at an elite architecture retreat seek the wisdom of their revered mentor but end up learning more about themselves and one another than about their shared craft. In these acutely observed and scaldingly honest stories Lee gives us characters who are complex and flawed, cracking open their fragile beliefs and exposing the paradoxes that lie within their romantic and intellectual pursuits. Whether they’re in the countryside of the American Midwest, on a dusty prairie road in Saskatchewan, or among the skyscrapers and voluptuous hills of Hong Kong, the terrain is never as difficult to navigate as their own histories and desires.” publisher
“A collection of nine steampunk stories drawn from the archives of the Etheric Explorers Club, a Victorian society dedicated to exploring the mysteries of the etheric realm… The visions of a Russian painter in fin-de-siècle Paris… a terrible weapon that almost no-one has survived… a confession within a confession… a crime from antiquity resurfacing -beneath- the Thames… a desperate search for a lost sister… a contemporary horror entwined with an ancient manuscript… an experiment gone wrong… a lost world which should have remained lost… and a night of dining, death, and romance.” publisher
“In a bold, brilliant collection of stories, Dora Award-winning playwright Anton Piatigorsky delivers a superbly inspired inquiry into the early lives of the 20th century’s most notorious tyrants. In The Iron Bridge, he is unafraid to push at the boundaries of the unexpected as he breathes fictionalized life into the adolescents who would grow up to become the most brutal dictators the world has ever known. We discover a teenaged Mao Tse-Tung refusing an arranged marriage; Idi Amin cooking for the British Army; Stalin living in a seminary; and a melodramatic young Adolf Hitler dreaming of vast architectural achievements. Piatigorsky dazzlingly explores moments that are nothing more than vague incidents in the biographies of these men, expanding mere footnotes into entire realities as he ingeniously fills the gaps of the historical record. The Iron Bridge, completely imagined yet captivatingly real, captures those crucial instants in time that may well have helped to deliver some of the most infamous leaders in history” publisher
“In this sharply observed and erotically charged debut collection, Journey Prize-winner Yasuko Thanh immerses us in the lives of people on the knife edge of desire and regret, hungry for change yet still yearning for a place to call home, if only for a little while. Many of the characters in these stories are expats, outlaws, and outsiders, some by choice, others by circumstance. Yet in their struggles to be themselves and to belong, they remind us of our own deepest longings and desires. With this seductive and emotionally compelling collection, Yasuko Thanh announces herself as an exciting new voice in Canadian fiction.” publisher
“A line-dancing aficionado visits his brother in jail in hopes of mending their relationship, and instead discovers his own unwitting role in his brother’s failed life. After the death of his wife and children, a logger tries to survive the Thanksgiving weekend on his own. A delinquent teen’s life is changed forever by a work-camp placement with a violent older boy. A truck driver seeks sanctuary from his abusive wife in a fantasy world of strip clubs and personal ads. Bristling with restlessness and brutality, the eight linked stories in Bull Head catapult readers into the gritty lives of rural male characters lost in purgatories of their own making. Vigna tempers raw and at times cruel rural masculinity with graceful prose and breathtaking tenderness to illuminate the plight of men who belong neither to history nor the future. A startling homage to the great Southern Gothic tradition, Bull Head is a dazzling debut that heralds a powerful and exciting new literary voice.” publisher