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Fiction Short Stories (single Author)

High-Water Mark

by (author) Nicole Dixon

Porcupine's Quill
Initial publish date
Oct 2012
Short Stories (single author), Contemporary Women
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2012
    List Price

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Ten varied stories – many published in Canada's best literary journals – of contemporary women learning what they want from sex, love and partnership make up the debut collection from Bronwen Wallace Award–winner Nicole Dixon.

About the author

Nicole Dixon has lived in Toronto, Sarnia, Windsor, North Bay and Halifax. Her work has been nominated for the Journey Prize and a CBC Literary Award and appeared in The New Quarterly, Grain, The Fiddlehead and Canadian Notes and Queries. In 2005 she won the Writers' Trust of Canada RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for short fiction. Currently electronic resources librarian at Cape Breton University, Nicole divides her time between New Waterford, Cape Breton, and Advocate Harbour, Nova Scotia.

Nicole Dixon's profile page


  • Short-listed, Margaret & John Savage First Book Award
  • Short-listed, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year
  • Short-listed, CBC Bookie Awards
  • Winner, ForeWord Firsts Debut Fiction Award

Editorial Reviews

'[They] have humour and sadness.'

Sarnia Observer

In her short story collection, High-Water Mark, East Coast writer Nicole Dixon reflects an understanding of the human condition — especially how ridiculous we can be when confronted with the crazy dramas of our lives.

Toronto Star

'[They] have humour and sadness.'

Sarnia Observer

?[High-Water Mark is] a solid collection, even though the stories have been written over many years and a few have been published elsewhere.... They fit together well, and their diversity makes for an interesting read.?

Pickle Me This

?In this fine collection of stories, characters often stumble upon what they?re actually looking for amid the flotsam and jetsam left by the receding dreams and washed-up hopes of not only their own lives, but all those around them.

?Winner of ForeWord's quarterly contest for debut fiction authors, Nicole Dixon's High-Water Mark takes on Alice Munro territory?not just in the geographical setting of Canada, but also in the thematic sense of secrets rattling around like something loose on a car. But with a little more kink. And more edge.?

ForeWord Reviews

?High-Water Mark is a collection of 10 stories.... They depict women and talk about relationships, sometimes with humour, sometimes with pathos.?

Sarnia Observer

'The women in Dixon's stories speak in frank and unapologetic ways about conflicts in their lives.... In High-Water Mark, Dixon's women continuously question the options they are presented with, in work, relationships, sex.'

Quill & Quire

'This short story collection is a quick, sensuous read that will simultaneously stroke your hair and slap you in the face. Dixon's female characters, much like her writing style, are stripped down, raw, and real. She writes with a refreshing feminist bent and has a knack for capturing the raunchy and intimate with an honesty and grit reminiscent of Lena Dunham's Girls. I was left with a hot face on more than one occasion, yet her stories are also infused with moments of tenderness, grief, and conflict that are palpable. The kind of details that resonate weeks after the read. I can still smell and feel the tiny butter yellow toque that belonged to the dead infant from the collection's title story. Strong settings-both rural and urban-are also one of Dixon's trademarks. Ultimately High-Water Mark was a bit like reliving my twenties-noisy, intense, and colourful-minus the Kraft Dinner and the walk of shame.'

Ali Bryan, author of Roost

'Dixon is uninterested in the kind of lyrical historical romance that was, for some time, the default CanLit setting. Her stories are abrasive and direct, marrying a fierce intelligence with a febrile style that refuses to shy away from profanity or explicit sex. There is a toughness to these stories that testifies to a refreshing honesty, a refusal on Dixon's part to paper over the more nettlesome aspects of her material, opting rather to face it head-on in all its painful messiness. High-Water Mark is kitchen-sink realism filtered through a storm-tossed East Coast sensibility. And it is chock full of allusiveness and implication.'

National Post

“The women in Dixon's stories speak in frank and unapologetic ways about conflicts in their lives.... In High-Water Mark, Dixon's women continuously question the options they are presented with, in work, relationships, sex.”

Quill & Quire

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