The Writers’ Union of Canada announced over the weekend that Paul Carlucci has been named the winner of the 2013 Danuta Gleed Award, presented each year to the best debut story collection in English. The Hamilton, Ontario, author won for his collection The Secret Life of Fission, published by Oberon Press. Of the winning title, the prize jury – composed of poet and novelist Candas Jane Dorsey, novelist and short-story writer Russell Wangersky, and poet and story writer Ian Williams – had this to say:
The Secret Life of Fission delivers the explosiveness alluded to in its title – sharp-edged language and a kind of flying-apart. Nothing gentle here: families and relationships are either in the midst of blowing apart or else already hopelessly broken, and all is portrayed with a careful, almost dissected language that prevents the reader from glancing away. The work is spare, careful, direct and fully engrossing. These are stories well told, and unsettling the way only honesty is.
Carlucci takes home the first prize of $10,000, with two other writers – Astrid Blodgett for You Haven’t Changed a Bit (University of Alberta Press) and Eufemia Fantetti for A Recipe for Disaster and Other Unlikely Tales of Love (Mother Tonge Publishing) – each receiving $500 as runners up. The 2013 shortlist was rounded out by Théodora Armstrong for Clear Skies, No Wind, 100% Visibility (House of Anansi Press), and Lisa Bird-Wilson for Just Pretending (Coteau Books).