The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is pleased to announce the winners of the 2020 Alberta Literary Awards. This year’s award winners were announced in an online video release on June 4th. The video is available to watch on our Facebook page and YouTube channel. This celebration marks the 38th anniversary of the Alberta Literary Awards and brought together writers from across Alberta.The Alberta Literary Awards were created by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta in 1982 to recognize excellence in writing by Alberta authors. This year, jurors deliberated over 220 submissions to select winners in the following eight categories.
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction
paulo da costa (Calgary) – “Learning To Shave, Learning To Leave,” The Fiddlehead
Jury remarks: This poetic essay explores the richness of a father/son relationship in language that is tender, emotionally vibrant, and physically sensual. A lyric antidote to toxic masculinity, this beautifully crafted and fully realized essay results in something much larger than a simple combination of its carefully worded parts. It’s a lovely examination of fatherhood, and what is passed down through generations, and how different generations express love.
Every literary work reflects a lifetime of experience and lots of solitary hours filled with dread and frustration. I hope every author who was shortlisted or is a winner celebrates tonight under that full moon, and knows that the anguish was worth it. As a reader I am so grateful to all of you, and am sending each of you a virtual bottle of champagne. (Rosemary Griebel)
Please also support and read the work of all finalists for these awards. They are all equally worthy of our attention for the quality of their work. My especial congratulations to JENNIFER BOWERING DELISLE and OMAR MOUALLEM who shared the nomination in my category. I was honoured to be in your company. (paulo da costa)
JENNIFER BOWERING DELISLE (she/her) is the author of the lyric family memoir The Bosun Chair (NeWest 2017); and Deriving, a poetry collection forthcoming from the University of Alberta Press. She has a PhD in English, and has also published a scholarly monograph. She joined the board of NeWest Press in 2018, and regularly teaches creative writing at the University of Alberta Faculty of Extension. She lives in Edmonton on Treaty 6 territory with her husband and two young children. Find her at www.jenniferdelisle.ca or @JenBDelisle.
OMAR MOUALLEM is a journalist, author, screenwriter, and filmmaker who has worked for The New Yorker, Rolling Stone, CBC and WIRED. He’s edited numerous magazines, guest-hosted the CANADALAND podcast, and co-created a documentary about oil-sector suicides. Omar co-authored a national bestseller about the Fort McMurray wildfires, and his forthcoming book, a travel memoir about Muslims in the Americas, will be published by Simon & Schuster Canada in 2021. He also founded Pandemic University Pop-up School of Writing in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
Introduction 6 Sue Sinclair: Winter 2020 Editorial
Creative Nonfiction 48 Sherry Coffey: Hiking the Fundy Footpath 71 paulo da costa: Learning to Shave, Learning to Leave
Fiction 7 Emily Bossé: The Most Beautiful Woman in New Brunswick Coming to a Field Near You 26 Shaelin Bishop: Barefoot 64 Diane Carley: Dead Reckoning 84 Shashi Bhat: Facsimile 100 Carmelinda Scian: The Disappeared
Poetry 20 Dani Couture: Two Poems 23 Marika Prokosh: Two Poems 39 Curtis LeBlanc: Two Poems 44 Katie Jordan: Return of the Monarchs 46 Allison LaSorda: Swarm 47 Jake Kennedy: Northrop Frye, Listening to Bette Middler’s “From a Distance,”
Offers Some Remarks on The Tempest (January 23, 1991) 57 John Kinsella: Two Poems 60 Kevin Spenst: Two Poems 62 Jennifer LoveGrove: Two Poems 79 Elena Johnson: Casa Museo Manuel de Falla 80 John Steffler: Three Poems 95 Daniel Scott Tysdal: Eurydicinema 96 Sophie Crocker: self-portrait in gemini 98 Paul Vermeersch: Two Poems 107 Ojo Taiye: Three Poems 110 D.A. Lockhart: Three Poems
Reviews 114 Brian Bartlett, Getting on with Becoming More of Itself Out All Day, John Donlan Yellow Crane, Susan Gillis 117 Susan Haley, Legacy of war and underbelly of art Butterfly, John Delacourt 120 Katia Grubisic, Unfettering Zolitude, Paige Cooper 122 Emily Skov-Nielsen, “In conflict & homesick” I left nothing inside on purpose, Stevie Howell
Contributors 125 Notes on Contributors
Cover Joanne Hunt Red Skies at Night
Oil on canvas
20 x 40 in.
Calling Us into Seeing and Being More: “Me” and the World
The Midwife of Torment & Other Stories by paulo da costa is a book of short stories, or sudden fictions [under 1,000 words], divided into six parts: “Affections,” “Slowness,” “Aqua Libera,” “Beneath Our Beds,” “Force” and “Fathers.” In this collection, we find provoking thoughts unveiled slowly in an incantatory, lyrical language, revealing our deepest yearnings, frustrations, losses, insufficiencies, and happiness(es), too. His work makes us see, feel and be more: to have profound insights into our lives and the world; to understand what makes us live the way we do and realize that perhaps we ought to be living another way to fulfill our humanity.
Compostela (Tesseracts Twenty) is an anthology of hard and soft science fiction stories that best represent a futuristic view of the sciences and how humanity might be affected (for better or worse) by a reliance in all things technological. For more than 1,000 years, Santiago de Compostela (Compostela means “field of stars”) has attracted pilgrims to walk to the cathedral that holds St. James the apostle’s relics. The stories in this anthology in their own way tell the tale of futuristic travelers who journey into the dark outer (or inner) reaches of space, searching for their own connections to the past, present and future relics of their time.
Compostela (Tesseracts Twenty) is now available online and from your favorite booksellers.
Introducing the Authors: Included in the 2017 edition of this long standing Canadian Speculative Fiction anthology are: paulo da costa Alan (Heyuan) Bao Alexandra Camille Renwick Catherine Girczyc Chantal Boudreau Catherine McBride David Clink Derryl Murphy Eric Choi Garnet Johnson-Koehn Guy Immega Matthew Hughes John Bell Jacob Fletcher Linda DeMeulemeester Lisa Ann McLean Leslie Brown Miki Dare Mary-Jean Harris Michaela Hiebert Nancy S.M. Waldman paulo da costa Rati Mehrotra Robert Dawson Rhea Rose R. Gregory Robert J. Sawyer Steve Fahnestalk Susan Pieters Tanya Bryan Jeff R. Campbell Michael Johnstone
ABOUT THE EDITORS:
Since he began writing professionally in 1972, Spider Robinson has won the John W. Campbell Award for Best New Writer, three Hugo Awards, a Nebula Award, and countless other international and regional awards. Most of his 36 books are still in print, in 10 languages. His short work has appeared in magazines around the planet, from Omni and Analog to Xhurnal Izobretatel i Rationalizator (Moscow), and in numerous anthologies. The Usenet newsgroup alt.callahans and its many internet offshoots, inspired by his Callahan’s Place series, for many years constituted one of the largest non-porn networks in cyberspace.
In 2006 he became the only writer ever to collaborate on a novel with First GrandMaster of Science Fiction Robert A. Heinlein, posthumously completing VARIABLE STAR. That same year the Library of Congress invited him to Washington D.C. to be a guest of the First Lady at the White House for the National Book Festival. In 2008 he won the Robert A. Heinlein Award for Lifetime Excellence in Literature.
Spider was born in New York City in 1948, and holds a Bachelors degree in English from the State University of New York. He was regular book reviewer for Galaxy, Analog and New Destinies magazines for nearly a decade, and contributes occasional book reviews to The Globe and Mail, Canada’s national newspaper, for which he wrote a regular Op-Ed column from 1996-2004. As an audiobook reader of his own and others’ work, he has won the Earphones Award and been a finalist for the Audie, and his podcast Spider On The Web has appeared online weekly since September 2007. In 2001 he released Belaboring the Obvious, a CD featuring original music accompanied by guitar legend Amos Garrett. He has written songs in collaboration with David Crosby and with Todd Butler.
Spider was married for over 30 years to Jeanne Robinson, a Boston-born writer, choreographer, former dancer and teacher. She was founder/artistic director of Halifax’s Nova Dance Theatre during its 8-year history. The Robinsons collaborated on the Hugo- Nebula- and Locus-winning Stardance Trilogy, concerning zero-gravity dance. Jeanne contributed to writing, producing and choreographing a film, STARDANCE, with producer/co-director James Sposto. Spider and Jeanne met in the woods of Nova Scotia in the early 1970s, and lived for the last two decades in British Columbia.
James Alan Gardner
Raised in Simcoe and Bradford, Ontario, James Alan Gardner earned Bachelor’s and Master’s degrees in Applied Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.
A graduate of the Clarion West Fiction Writers Workshop, Gardner has published science fiction short stories in a range of periodicals, including The Magazine of Fantasy and Science Fiction and Amazing Stories. In 1989, his short story “The Children of Crèche” was awarded the Grand Prize in the Writers of the Future contest. Two years later his story “Muffin Explains Teleology to the World at Large” won an Aurora Award; another story, “Three Hearings on the Existence of Snakes in the Human Bloodstream,” won an Aurora and was nominated for both the Nebula and Hugo Awards.
He has written a number of novels in a “League of Peoples” universe in which murderers are defined as “dangerous non-sentients” and are killed if they try to leave their solar system by aliens who are so advanced that they think of humans like humans think of bacteria. This precludes the possibility of interstellar wars.
He has also explored themes of gender in his novels, including Commitment Hour in which people change sex every year, and Vigilant in which group marriages are traditional. Gardner is also an educator and technical writer. His book Learning UNIX is used as a textbook in some Canadian universities.
A Grand Prize winner of the Writers of the Future contest, he lives with his family in Waterloo, Ontario.
The idiom “small is beautiful” is often true in fiction – from short stories to microfiction, sometimes the briefest glimpses into an imagined world are the most arresting.The Midwife of Torment & Other Stories (Guernica Editions) by paulo da costa is a perfect proving ground for the potential of the short and sweet – or in da costa’s case, short and beautifully bizarre, experimental, and creative.
Referred to as “sudden fiction”, these sub-1000 word stories have a fable-like feeling, pushing the boundaries between traditional and speculative fiction. The pieces are complemented by a series of original black and white drawings by Portuguese artist, João Ventura.
We’re pleased to welcome paulo to Open Book today to talk about sudden fiction and The Midwife of Torment. He tells us about curating a collection of stories culled from over two decades of writing, how Ventura’s pieces fit into the collection, and the importance of finding natural spots to write in.
How did you organize the stories in The Midwife of Torment & Other Stories? How they interact with each other in your view?
This Short Story Month, we’re interviewing short story writers every Wednesday, here on the All Lit Up blog.
paulo da costa’s latest short story collection The Midwife of Torment & Other Stories (Guernica Editions) is exclusively made up of “sudden fiction” – that is, stories under 1,000 words apiece. With stories like “Roses, Lilacs, and Chrysanthemums” (excerpted below) that manage to be succinct yet utterly evocative of their settings and characters, paulo likens Midwife to a “literary tapas” and shares some of his own influences, below.
Paulo da Costa (Calgary) — “Learning to Shave, Learning to Leave” (The Fiddlehead)
Jennifer Bowering Delisle (Edmonton) — “Abracadabra” (The Forge)
Omar Mouallem (Edmonton) — “Billionaires, Bombers, and Bellydancers” (The Ringer)
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is excited to announce the finalists for the 2020 Alberta Literary Awards and Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize. Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards and the City of Edmonton recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta and Edmonton authors.
The WGA would like to send our congratulations to those whose work is among this year’s Alberta Literary Awards finalists! We look forward to celebrating your creativity and hard work, and we will do all we can to spread the word about the wonderful writing you did in 2019. Updates on this year’s awards presentation format will be posted to our website and social media as soon as they are finalized.
Our juries deliberated on more than 200 submissions to select the following 27 finalists in nine categories. Finalists represent excellence in literary work written by Alberta authors and published or created in 2019. We encourage you to check out these fantastic titles!