Writing is a solitary sport, with days and weeks and months often spent toiling away in blissful, heartbreaking, and mostly unacknowledged solitude, often staring at blanks screens and pages.
But not this week. This week has been a corker.
1. I received news that my novel SAINTS, UNEXPECTED has been shortlisted for a Hamilton Arts Council Literary Award. Winners will be announced on Nov. 27, so fingers crossed.
2. My essay "You'll See the Sky" was given an honourable mention for a 2017 Short Works Prize.
3. My short story "Drift, maybe fall" has won subTerrain's 2017 Lush Triumphant Literary Award (best prize name ever!), which nets me a nice cash prize and publication in one of Canada's coolest magazines.
4. I received my contributor copies of the sublime 2017 Short Story Advent Calendar (which is still available for yourself or the story-lover in your life—order by Nov. 15 to ensure delivery by Dec. 1!), got paid for two stories, have been asked to present an award, and am participating in a 6-Minute Memoir event.
It's amazing to have some recognition and a little extra cash to throw at the mortgage, but more importantly, this week I get to call myself a working writer, for which I'm humbled and grateful.
Thanks for the support, everyone.
I am so pleased to be able to announce that my short story "[Title TBA]" will be a part of the 2017 Short Story Advent Calendar!
It's a gorgeous box set with 25 individually wrapped stories, one for each day of the Advent season. If you enjoy short stories, there's nothing better than opening a fresh one to savour each day. Bonus: they're not dated, so you can keep them for future years, too.
The calendar is incredibly popular and sells out ever year, so be sure to get yours soon. It would also make a fantastic gift for the story-phile in your life. Click here to order.
#BecauseSocial, a piece I wrote for The Writer Magazine about stepping back from social media, is now live on their site.
Click here to read
"Hard Sell" a hybrid piece of fiction centred on real events that took place on a single day, has been published at Litro Magazine, a very cool publication distributed free to London UK commuters. Click here to read the story online.
What a blessing and honour it has been to get to know just a few of our best First Nations and Inuit writers, and to learn and read some of their words and stories. Even so, those stories are challenged whenever they're presented, unfairly and with great bias. My privilege will continue to allow me the space and opportunity to move forward, but I know that there are many who will not get the same opportunities as I will.
As such, I would like to make one small adjustment to our country's 150+ celebrations. I am a proud Canadian, and am humbled to be a citizen of this place. But I acknowledge that much of what makes me most free and this country great has come through the abuse and murder and suppression and ignorance of our First Peoples and their foundational contributions to this land. I vow to explain the "+" in Canada150+ whenever and wherever I can.
It won't be enough, of course. We need to do much, much better.
I'm super excited to report that "Hard Sell," a piece of hybrid, based-on-real-stuff fiction, has been picked up by Litro Magazine, a very cool UK literary publication that is distributed free of charge to London commuters! Watch for it this month in the "Alternative Facts" edition.
"Pieces of Echo," a rather dark tale about the seedier side of Kuwaiti oil wealth, has won "Our Darkest Hours" short story contest!
That day you feel like a real writer: when The Writer Magazine awards your story with a "W" and publishes it...
Two pieces of great news to share:
First, "Cut Road," a short story that appeared in Riddle Fence 24, has been recommended by the journal for the Writers' Trust / McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize! the JP is Canada's premier short fiction prize, awarded annually for one piece of published short fiction, with a nice purse and wonderful opportunities for its winner.
Second, my short story "Those Days Just a Glimmer" has been picked up by The Fiddlehead, and will appear in the Summer 2017 issue. Props go out to Michael Winter and my 2014-15 UBC fiction class peeps, who workshopped the story in class.
Devin Scullion, a 20-year-old Hamilton man who had the ultra-rare genetic disorder progeria, has died. My research into progeria for Saints, Unexpected frequently brought David's story across my desk, and indeed he was loosely the inspiration for Wu, a character in the novel who has the disorder. The Hamilton connection is a strong one, too, as Devin was one of only 200 people worldwide who suffered from the disorder, attracting worldwide interest from geneticists and physicians who traveled to Hamilton to learn more about him and his case.
RIP, Devin—I hope some of your abundant light will live on in the pages of my work.
Link to the Hamilton Spectator article about Devin's passing.