Congratulations to Zalika Reid-Benta, who has won the 23rd Danuta Gleed Literary Award, which recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author, for her collection of inter-connected stories Frying Plantain (Astoria/House of Anansi Press) and to Christy Ann Conlin and Terry Doyle!

Of Zalika Reid-Benta’s book, jury members Lesley Choyce, Norma Dunning, and Djamila Ibrahim said:

“Zalika Reid-Benta’s debut short story collection, Frying Plantain, is brilliant. Through Reid-Benta’s quiet but unflinching prose, we witness a Black girl’s journey into adulthood. Along the way, we meet characters that are by turns lovable and frustrating, stubborn and vulnerable. Reid-Benta writes her characters into existence with great assurance, skill, and tenderness. Frying Plantain is as accomplished as it is delightful.”

Zalika Reid-Benta is a Toronto-based writer whose debut short story collection, Frying Plantain, was longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize and shortlisted for the 2020 Trillium Book Award. Frying Plantain is currently shortlisted for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize and nominated for the 2020 Forest of Reading Evergreen Award presented by the Ontario Library Association. Frying Plantain was also listed as one of Indigo’s 50 “Best Books of 2019.” Zalika received an MFA in fiction from Columbia University, was the 2019 John Gardner Fiction Fellow at the Breadloaf Writers’ Conference, and is an alumnus of the 2017 Banff Writers’ Studio. She is currently working on a young-adult fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jamaican folklore. Zalika is represented by Amy Tompkins.

Christy Ann Conlin is the first runner-up for her collection Watermark (Astoria/House of Anansi Press). The jury said:

“Watermark is an unforgettable collection of mostly dark tales of psychological insight about characters that jump right off the page. Conlin’s characters grapple with difficult life circumstances, old family secrets, and dark thoughts. The stories are often heartbreaking, surprising, and sometimes even creepy. Mystery and danger abound in a deceptively familiar Canadian landscape. An irresistible read.”

Christy Ann Conlin is the author of two acclaimed novels, Heave and The Memento. Heave was a finalist for the First Novel Award, the Thomas H. Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award, and the Dartmouth Book Award. Her short stories have been published in numerous literary journals, long listed for both the Commonwealth Short Story Prize and the American Short Fiction Prize, and appeared in the anthology Best Canadian Stories. Christ Ann is represented by Marilyn Biderman.

Terry Doyle is the second runner-up for his collection Dig (Breakwater Books). The jury said:

“Terry Doyle brings a true East Coast Canada feel and understanding to his work. What may seem simplistic in his work actually makes the reader think and double-think about what his stories tell us. He is obviously a humble writer and humble man, a quality that rarely shines through in the works of many authors. Simple is not easy writing. Simple is difficult. Doyle is able to hold the attention of the reader as he tells you a story, giving you the feeling you are sitting across from him at his kitchen table. He is a writer who works within a true art form and is one to be admired.”

Terry Doyle is a writer from the Goulds, Newfoundland. Winner of the 2017 Percy Janes First Novel Award, and finalist for the 2017 NLCU Fresh Fish Award, his work has appeared in Riddle Fence, Papermill Press, and the Newfoundland Quarterly. Terry is represented by Stephanie Sinclair.

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