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Ian Williams wins Danuta Gleed Award for debut collection

Ian Williams has won this year’s Danuta Gleed Award, which recognizes the best first collection of short fiction published in Canada.

Williams won the $10,000 prize, presented by The Writers’ Union of Canada, for 2011’s Not Anyone’s Anything (Freehand Books). The author and academic, who splits his time between Toronto and Massachusetts, is also the author of two poetry collections: Personals (Freehand, 2012) and You Know Who You Are (Wolsak and Wynn, 2010).

Of the winning title, a jury comprising Gail Anderson-Dargatz, Robin McGrath, and Hal Niedzviecki said: The writing in Not Anyone’s Anything is fresh, funny, and intelligent. This is a solid first book with gripping, convincing dialogue, a fluid sense of urbanity, and structural innovation that doesn’t come off as trickery. You see the poet here, in the crisp choice of language and even in the line breaks, as Williams uses typography and unusual layout to suggest a split-screen view of life.”

Two-runners up were also named: Jessica Westhead’s And Also Sharks (Cormorant Books) and Daniel Griffin’s Stopping for Strangers (Véhicule Press). The author of each collection will receive $500.

The shortlist for this year’s prize, now in its 15th year, was rounded out by Andrew J. Borkowski’s Copernicus Avenue (Cormorant) and Johanna Skibsrud’s This Will Be Difficult to Explain (Hamish Hamilton Canada).