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2018 Danuta Gleed Award Shortlist
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2018 Danuta Gleed Award Shortlist

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The Writers' Union of Canada is pleased to announce the short list of nominees for the twenty-second annual DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD. The Award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2018 in the English language. The Award consists of cash prizes for the three best first collections, with a first prize of $10,000 and two additional prizes of $500. The jury this year comprised authors Heather O’Neill, Ayelet Tsabari, and Richard Van Camp, who determined the short list from 20 collections submitted, some by seasoned writers, others by authors being published for the first time.
Zolitude

Zolitude

edition:Paperback

WINNER OF THE 2018 QUEBEC WRITERS' FEDERATION CONCORDIA UNIVERSITY FIRST BOOK PRIZE

LONGLISTED FOR THE 2018 SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE

FINALIST FOR THE 2018 DANUTA GLEED LITERARY AWARD

FINALIST FOR THE 2018 GOVERNOR GENERAL'S LITERARY AWARD FOR FICTION

A GLOBE AND MAIL BEST BOOK OF 2018

A QUILL & QUIRE BOOK OF THE YEAR

Fantastical, magnetic, and harsh—these are the women in Paige Cooper’s debut short story collection Zolitude. They are women who built time machines when they were nine, who buy p …

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That Tiny Life

That Tiny Life

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Finalist, Danuta Gleed Literary Award
Finalist, Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize, BC Book Prizes
A 49th Shelf Book of the Year
In settings that range from the old American West to pre-revolutionary France, from a present-day dig site in the high tablelands of South America to deep space, That Tiny Life is a wide-ranging and utterly original collection of short fiction and a novella that examines the idea of progress — humanity’s never-ending cycle of creation and destruction.

In the award-winning s …

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Excerpt

From “Valley Floor”

The sawbones squats, his satchel by his knees, his back to the cart and the mules and their feedbags. He runs his forefinger along the tourniquet around Roy’s leg, rubs the pus between his fingertips and thumb, sniffs the lot, and says he’s taking Roy’s leg.

“Like shit you are,” I say. “What’s he left with it gone?”

The sawbones pushes his specs up his disjointed nose and says that if he leaves the leg attached, Roy’ll be gone. Roy’s girl, just three, explores her mouth with her fingers. Her eyes big and gold as coins. She squats in the dirt in front of some thorny shrubs, a whelp in piss-stained trousers, the night growing fathomless above the hills behind her.

Girl’s new with us. Roy fetched her from the mother less than a week back. Don’t know why he picked her up when he did, since, one, he knew the child’s age from the letter, and two, he already had that crushed toe sending stripes up his foot.

The sawbones’ specs shine flat-lensed in the light from the firepit. I suspect they don’t so much alter his vision as give him a look. He bends over Roy, who’s laid flaccid under the cactus. Roy’s hair and skin and clothes are tacky with basin dust. The firelight blinks over his silhouette, pretties his discoloured leg and cracked lips. His cocky flip of curls thrown back from his ridged nose and cheeks and spread over the dirt. His eyes closed. Been passed out a while. I grab his good foot and jostle and release.

“Might go anyway,” I say.

The sawbones rocks on his haunches, eyeing the mule I promised him for the trip. One of a pair. Sorrel, sturdy—three hands short of draft—and recently acquired, though Roy and I have been hauling supplies through the valley good on seven years. That’s seven years of spiny fruit and sunburn while carting basics to men batshit enough to have settled this particular desolation. Brutes searching gold, coal, oil midst the saltbush and boulders. The work gives Roy and me a nice, healthful pay, but only because not many want the job. Heat’s hard on the mules and water takes up half the wagon.

The girl pulls her fingers from her mouth and wipes them across her shirt. Sawbones removes his specs, holds the lenses to the light, then plucks his hanky from his coat and polishes. His kerchief’s done-up old style—stitched around the trim with cream dashes—same era as the jacket, which has buttons top to bottom, but hangs wide open. Plush fabric, carpet-like, worn thin down the back. Like he’s spent his life sitting. He settles his specs back on that crooked nose and loops the wires around his ears.

Roy, flat-out, chest hardly lifting each breath. I put a hand on my lips and jaw. All the grit there, in the lines and loose skin—the valley sucks away fat. Seems to have aged twenty years though it’s only been those seven, and we were both young men when we acquired the route. He and I been partners too long now to know who owes who—though I suspect at this moment it’s him who owes me. We have a friendship. Which is why I said nothing when Roy kept the girl.

I recline against the wagon and set a knuckle to the forehead of the nearest mule, and the mule leans into it. Soft-nosed beast. “Take the leg then,” I say.

Sawbones opens his satchel and reaches out a pan, a leather roll, and a hard-cased cautery set. Kicks the logs and exposes the coals and balances the pan. Unsnaps the cautery case and sets the long-handled irons into the fire.

“Water,” he says.

I uncap a jug and fill the pan. The sawbones fiddles with the knot and unrolls the leather wrap. Tools inside flash blade to spine: tongs, scissors, various knives. He thumbs the clasp on a worn medical bag. Vials strapped to the underside of the lid. The interior’s full of glass flasks and spools of silk and gauze. He tips a vial of iodine into the pan, then opens a jar of alcohol. Wipes down each blade with a soaked bit of cotton and sets the equipment ready on top the leather sheath.

Sawbones removes and folds his coat and lays it on the bow of the wagon. He steps to Roy’s side and snips the torn pant leg. Twice the normal size below the knee, and two of the black toes sport open sores.

“Lift.” Sawbones waves at the foot. I lift. He slides a sheet of oilskin under the thigh. “Down.” He and I loop rope around Roy’s wrists and good ankle, then tie the rope onto stakes and pound the stakes into the dirt. Sawbones pulls a cotton swab from the bag and wipes Roy’s leg.

“That high,” I say. “Christ almighty.”

“Sit on him.” Sawbones tests the tourniquet already around Roy’s upper thigh. I take my spot kneeling on Roy’s shoulders, and the girl comes up beside me. Kid’s already kicked off and lost her shoes and stands barefoot in the cooling sand.

“Turn round,” I say, and when she won’t, I grab her. Press her face into my chest.

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Things Are Good Now

Things Are Good Now

edition:eBook
also available: Paperback

Set in East Africa, the Middle East, Canada, and the U.S., Things Are Good Now examines the weight of the migrant experience on the human psyche. In these pages, women, men, and children who’ve crossed continents in search of a better life find themselves struggling with the chaos of displacement and the religious and cultural clashes they face in their new homes. A maid who travelled to the Middle East lured by the prospect of a well-paying job is trapped in the Syrian war. A female ex-freedo …

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Excerpt

From “Heading Somewhere”

Holding the corner post for balance, Sara climbs onto the patio chair. She wraps the bedsheet she’s tied to the ledge like a rope around her arm and slowly climbs over her employers’ second floor balcony and down to the quiet street below. A metre or so before her feet touch the ground, she loses her grip and falls on the asphalt. She gets up quickly, adjusts the duffle bag on her back and looks up towards the house. The lights have not been turned on. She takes a deep breath and searches the dark street for the ride Ahmed, her employers’ gatekeeper had arranged for her. She spots an old van a few metres away. Its rear lights flash twice as agreed upon. She walks towards it as fast as she can without running.

“Get in the back,” the driver says from the half-open window before Sara has a chance to make eye contact.

“Cover yourself with that blanket and keep your head down,” he orders with a rushed voice.

Panic takes over as she slides the van door shut. What if this is a trap? She trusts Ahmed. He didn’t let her out of the compound alone for fear of losing his job but he was nice to her. And he has delivered on the promise of finding her someone who, for a fee, would help her. But this man on the other hand could be taking her to the police station instead of the outskirts of Damascus where she’s supposed to meet someone who will take her to Beirut. She shakes the distressing thought away. There is nothing she can do now but hope for the best.

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That Time I Loved You

That Time I Loved You

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook Paperback

Shortlisted for the Toronto Book Award
Shortlisted for Markham Reads
A Globe and Mail Most Anticipated Book
A CBC Books Writer to Watch

Life is never as perfect as it seems. Tensions that have lurked beneath the surface of a shiny new subdivision rise up in this haunting depiction of 1970s suburbia

In her “compact gem of a collection” (The Globe and Mail), Carrianne Leung enlivens a singular group of characters sharing a subdivision in 1970s Toronto. Marilyn greets her new neighbours with fres …

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Eye

Eye

edition:Paperback
also available: eBook

Myth, folklore, and magic permeate the stories in Marianne Micros' collection Eye. Set in ancient and modern Greece, and in contemporary Europe and North America, these tales tell of evil-eye curses, women healers, ghosts, a changeling, and people struggling to retain or gain power in a world of changing beliefs. Here you will find stories of a nymph transformed into a heifer, a young soldier who returns home to discover that his brother is a changeling, an ancient temple uncovered during the co …

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