"We're not exactly scene-stealers, so you don't hear much from us shy folk-and that's usually how we like it." -Elizabeth Zotova, "My Dear X" The pages of this anthology are filled with personal essays and poems of thoughtful musings, raw memories, and humorous self-examinations by authors and poets who have been labelled by the world-teachers, parents, and peers-as shy. Here, they proudly own up to their shyness, and their message is clear: they don't need to be "cured"! Why should they, when nearly half of North Americans consider themselves shy? Editors Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows have enlisted writers from across the continent and have created a moving anthology that will appeal to all, either because we are shy or because we know someone who is. Contributors: Rona Altrows, Debbie Bateman, Wade Bell, Alex Boyd, Janis Butler Holm, Brian Campbell, Weyman Chan, Lorna Crozier, Mike Duggan, Ben Gelinas, Elizabeth Greene, Vivian Hansen, Elizabeth Haynes, Steven Heighton, Jennifer Houle, I.B. Iskov, Eve S. Krakow, Shawna Lemay, Naomi K. Lewis, Shirley Limbert, Carol L. MacKay, Micheline Maylor, Don McKay, Stuart Ian McKay, Bruce Meyer, Jeff Miller, Dhana Musil, Lori D. Roadhouse, Kerry Ryan, Sydney Sharpe, Natalie Simpson, Sylvia Stopforth, David Van Buren, Aritha van Herk, Russell Wangersky, Cassy Welburn, Madelaine Wong, Elaine Woo, and Elizabeth Zotova.
About the authors
Naomi K. Lewis was born in England, lived in Washington DC, and grew up in Ottawa. Her stories have been published in The Fiddlehead, The New Quarterly, the Antigonish Review, Prairie Fire, and Grain. "The Guiding Light," a chapter of the novel that began as a story, won The Fiddlehead Fiction Prize in 2007. Lewis now lives in Edmonton. Cricket in a Fist is her first book-length work of fiction.
Rona Altrows is the author of two books of short fiction, A Run on Hose and Key in Lock, as well as a children's chapbook, The River Throws a Tantrum. With Naomi K. Lewis, she co-edited the anthology Shy. Her work has earned her several awards, including an IPPY silver medal (shared with Lewis), the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, and the 2017 Alberta Literary Award. With Julie Sedivy, Altrows is currently co-editing an anthology of essays about Waiting. She lives in Calgary, Alberta.
- Runner-up, Independent Publisher Book Awards, Anthology
"Shyniks they may be, but these editors demonstrate through their own writings, and in their selection of poems and essays, that shy is not mute and does not mumble either.... This collection sings bravely of the hurts, the humour and above all the humanity of the shy life. Those who flail alone in shyness's constraints may find comfort in the experience of fellow faint-hearts; may pick up useful coping tips or life lessons. And those breezy souls who despair of tongue-tied hangers-back? Perhaps even they will gain some understanding." Rhona McAdam, Alberta Views, January/February 2014
"This anthology has some of everything. It’s an in-depth examination of all facets of shy. And the ultimate answer is that shy is different for everyone. We can wobble on the edge of shy, think we’re okay for a while and then when we least expect it, shy claws its way to the surface. From the first page to the last, I would bet, upon reading this fabulous collection, everyone will discover a little of themselves in every piece." Freefall Magazine, Volume XXIV Number 3
"Many writers, and readers, have been noted as shy. In a way, we're inherently introverted. Shy: An Anthology, edited by Naomi K. Lewis and Rona Altrows, is a collection of Canadian writers, poets and journalists who have been labelled shytypes, own it and, in their own way, examine all shades of bashfulness.... This is a collection that celebrates all emotional ranges, experiences, and creative incantations of shyness. It's a quiet comforting read for us modest types." Shannon Webb-Campbell, Telegraph-Journal, December 21, 2013
"The intimacy and honesty with which shyness, introversion, and attendant phobias, each different and debilitating, are revealed in Shy demonstrates unexpected bravery.... Shy readers will find kindred spirits and inspiration in the airing of emotions and attitudes normally kept locked inside. Less shy readers may come to better understand the occasionally incapacitating dread that is often mistaken for aloofness." Joy Parks, Quill & Quire, December 2013
"During her time as Writer in Residence at the Calgary Public Library, Naomi K. Lewis and her co-editor, Rona Altrows, edited this compelling anthology of poetry and short articles and fiction centred on the topic of shyness. The 39 diverse Canadian contributors, successful writers all, have published their work in journals and books and have won countless awards.... Obviously a topic of immense importance to the writer, either beginning or experienced, this anthology will be well received in creative writing classes as students examine what it is to be a writer, but its literary value will also draw readers and provoke re-reading and lively discussion. Highly Recommended." Joan Marshall, CM Magazine, December 20, 2013 [Full review at http://umanitoba.ca/cm/vol20/no16/shy.html]
"There can be no doubt that shyness cuts a broad landscape. It's a land of hesitation, mumbled excuses, occasionally even out-and-out lies--cases of faked flu, unexplained no-shows, hiding out in washroom stalls... Reading this book feels like meeting a bunch of people who know some of the thoughts inside of your head. Maybe like finally finding that long-lost branch of family you always hoped for".
"In all, Lewis and Altrows received more than 100 submissions from across the country and beyond. [Shy: An Anthology] has a fine pedigree, too, with award winners like Lorna Crozier, Steven Heighton, Russell Wangersky and Weyman Chan, as well as local writers Lemay, Wade Bell and Ben Gelinas, among the dozens of contributors." Michael Hingston, The Province, November 7, 2013 [Full column athttp://bit.ly/17NDj9I]
The two [editors] set about enlisting writers from across the continent to share their stories of stage fright, reticence, insecurity, 'otherness,' inconvenient blushing and, generally, the rich, sometimes painful, inner life of being a self-conscious human being.... it is a revelation to shyniks to read literature that represents the whole spectrum of shyness-from squirmy discomfort to debilitating social paralysis-and, through various voices, asks readers not just to reject and overcome but to accept and even celebrate a character trait that deserves every bit as much respect as gregariousness gets in our culture." Jacquie Moore, Calgary Herald, October 24, 2013 [full review at http://bit.ly/17TB9ze]
"This anthology has something of everything. It's an in-depth examination of all facets of shy. And the ultimate answer is that shy is different for everyone. We can wobble on the edge of shy, think we're okay for awhile and then when we least expect it, shy claws it's way to the surface. From the first page to the last, I would bet, upon reading this fabulous collection, everyone will discover a little of themselves in every piece."
#8 on the Calgary Herald's Bestsellers list for the week of December 14, 2013.
"The 39 diverse Canadian contributors, successful writers all, have published their work in journals and books and have won countless awards. Some observe (as shy people do so well!) the effect shyness has on others.... However, most of this writing concerns how shyness has directly affected the writers' lives.... Obviously a topic of immense importance to the writer, either beginning or experienced, this anthology will be well received in creative writing classes as students examine what it is to be a writer, but its literary value will also draw readers and provoke re-reading and lively discussion. Highly Recommended." Joan Marshall, CM Magazine, December 20, 2013[Full article at http://umanitoba.ca/outreach/cm/vol20/no16/shy.html]
"Shy, An Anthology battles the stigmas and assumptions that surround what it means to be shy with a collection of poems and personal essays.... Primarily, the essays recounted childhood experiences, though some did discuss shyness in adulthood. For this reason, I couldn't help but think that these stories would make powerful guest lectures at elementary or high schools.... I found [Shy] to be a worthwhile read that I would recommend to anyone who has felt some sort of philosophical compulsion to understand her or his own shyness. In many ways, Shy is a compilation of coming of age stories centred on bashful, artistic individuals. And I am thankful to them for sharing their experiences." Senica Maltese, Coastal Spectator, November 14, 2013 [Full review at http://coastalspectator.ca/?p=3094]
For people who have never thought of themselves as shy personalities, the various voices of "shyness" that richly crowd the pages of this anthology represent a chorus of eloquent witnesses to tell us that perhaps we are all shy, to one degree or another. Yet, we are left with the message that shyness may bring its own reward: that there is a creative power and amplitude in the experience of silence, reserve and solitude that shy writers know as the muteness, in the words of contributor Don McKay, "falling all around you, lavishly, pouring its heart out." Myrna Kostash