Today, the Writers' Union of Canada announced the shortlist for the twenty-first annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award honouring the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in English in 2017. Among the five finalists is Lori McNulty’s Life on Mars, published by Goose Lane Editions.
A middle-aged sportswriter develops an intimate relationship with his donated heart. Two brothers find in their rotting family tree the tangled roots of a dark childhood memory. A young woman returns from a trip to Thailand, physically transformed, to face the wrath of her estranged mother. A divorced man hits the road from California to Newfoundland, guided by an irascible talking squid.
Blending aesthetic styles from high realism to the fable-esque, McNulty's wild debut collection sears the heart with blinding black humour and whiplash fast prose, taking readers on an unexpected ride into the core of human existence.
Life on Mars was named a Top Fiction Book of 2017 by 49th Shelf. The collection was acquired and edited by Goose Lane’s fiction editor Bethany Gibson and was first published in March 2017.
"This marvellous collection displays a deep understanding of human nature through its gritty, complex, vivid, and believable characters, who find themselves experiencing alienation no matter where they live or travel in the world. McNulty’s language is lucid, fluid, and precise, employing inventive similes and metaphors. The work highlights the fragile, random unpredictability of life: we are victims of our circumstances, our natures, and our bodies."
– from the Jury
Other books shortlisted for the Danuta Gleed Literary Award include Glass Beads by Dawn Dumont (Thistledown Press), Annie Muktuk and Other Stories by Norma Dunning (University of Alberta Press), The Doll’s Alphabet by Camilla Grudova (Coach House Books), and Peninsula Sinking by David Huebert (Biblioasis). This year’s finalists were selected by a jury of authors including Andrew J. Borkowski, Shree Ghatage, and Doretta Lau.
In commemoration of Danuta Gleed, whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996, this award is made possible through a donation from John Gleed, in memory of his late wife, and is administered by the Writers’ Union of Canada. This award consists of a first-place prize of $10,000 and two runner-up prizes of $500. Winners will be announced at the Canadian Writers’ Summit (June 14 to 17) in Toronto.
About Lori McNulty
Lori McNulty was born in Ottawa but has called many places home. Her work has appeared in the Fiddlehead, the New Quarterly, PRISM international, the Dalhousie Review, Descant, and the Globe and Mail, as well as a number of anthologies. She has twice been nominated for the Journey Prize, making the shortlist in 2014 for her story "Monsoon Season." She has also been a finalist for the CBC Short Story Prize, the CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize, and the Edna Staebler Personal Essay Contest. A global traveller and digital storyteller, she now resides in Vancouver.
To learn more about Life on Mars, click here.