"Declination," my short story published in 2015 by The Prairie Journal, has been nominated by the journal for the 2016 Writers' Trust / McClellan & Stewart Journey Prize.
The Journey Prize is Canada's most prestigious award for a single piece of short fiction, so this is a significant recognition—the winner gets riches, fame, and glory, of course, but what an honour to have my story nominated! Shortlisted stories (which will be published in the M&S anthology, will be decided in May, and the winner announced in the fall of 2016.
"The Marks on Your Back," a bit of noir about a retired professional cyclist giving in to all the temptations money and fame can bring, has gone live at Urban Graffiti.
Cautionary note: this is a gritty story on a very gritty website. Not for the easily shocked/offended.
Click here for the story.
I washed my hands before opening the thick, rigid, courier-style envelope and sliding out the paper inside. Fingerprints? Smudges? No way.
Pulled the tab, the plastic strip cutting through the cardboard end to end. Held the paper in my hand for a long moment, read the words, felt the weight of the expensive bond. Snapped a photo.
Boom. It be official, I posted online.
Finished my MFA coursework in July, slightly less than two years after I began. Creative Writing at UBC is a competitive, prestigious program, difficult to get in. Took me three tries. Then 36 credits of reading, workshopping, personality differences, lessons in diplomacy, the sublime experience of absorbing work better than my own. A degree conferred in September, permitting me to add Holds an MFA to my CV and website bio.
But I’d been waiting for the actual diploma, that incredibly expensive piece of paper, signed and sealed, to arrive. A flattened bit of pulped wood that signals to the world that I’ve become more than I was. Eligible to teach writing at college or university. Membership in a new kind of tribe. Hitting the literary world with a new gleam in my eye.
The confidence to say, most importantly, that I’m a better writer now.
The biggest payoff.
I'm so pleased that The Short Story, a UK site dedicated to the craft and promotion of brief fiction, approached me with a few questions about my writing successes and process.
Click here for the interview.
"The Math," a piece of flash fiction, has been published in issue #2 of The Nottingham Review!
"Qom," my longlisted story from the 2014 CBC Canada Writes Short Story Prize, has been accepted for publication in EVENT Magazine, and will appear in the January or May 2015 issue.
My creative travel memoir "Finding Iraq" will appear in The New Quarterly's summer 2014 "War" issue, alongside my story "Fairly Traded," which was a notable mention in TNQ's 2013 Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award contest. Look for the issue in mid-July.
Here's the query that got TNQ's attention:
“Finding Iraq” is a travelogue structured around a drive from Kuwait City to the Iraq border at the height of the 2005 insurgency. Along the way, the narrator and his wife visit a number of sites still bearing the scars and memories of the 1991 invasion and liberation, exploring the tension between a free, liberated Kuwait trying to be new and bold as contrasted with a nation's inability to let go of its violent past. Further complicating the landscape is Kuwait’s willingness to play host to and support the American military which is embroiled in an increasingly unpopular occupation next door.
Some more great news for "Qom," my entry into the 2014 Canada Writes Short Story Prize...
Michael Hingston (a novelist from Edmonton, at left) was one of the first readers responsible for helping whittle down all those entries to 36 finalists. There's a brief interview on the Canada Writes site with Michael, who read 542 stories before narrowing it down.
Here's what he had to say:
"My favourite piece of all, though, was “Qom.” I've re-read it several times and still can't figure out how the author fit so much into such a small space. It's dynamic, and heart-wrenching, and expertly observed."
Wow. High praise. I'm thankful that my story caught his eye.
My short story, "Fairly Traded," achieved a notable mention in The New Quarterly's 2013 Peter Hinchcliffe Fiction Award contest and was picked up for publication!
This will be my first major publication credit in a Canadian literary journal, so I'm very excited. "Fairly Traded" will appear in the winter or spring issue.