Transatlantic is excited to announce that award winning author Chelene Knight’s riveting novel JUNIE has been longlisted for the inaugural Carol Shields Prize for Fiction!

The Carol Shields Prize for Fiction’s inaugural longlist includes 15 writers from across Canada and the U.S., one of whom will win the $150,000 USD grand prize, presented by BMO.

Longlist selections were chosen by a Jury of esteemed writers including Anita Rau Badami, Merilyn Simonds, Monique Truong, Katherena Vermette and Crystal Wilkinson.

The longlist was selected from more than 250 eligible entries of fiction books written by Canadian and U.S. women and non-binary writers, written and published in English in 2022. In addition to the grand prize, the winner will receive a residency at Fogo Island Inn, and each of the four finalists will receive $12,500 USD.

About the book:
A riveting exploration of the complexity within mother-daughter relationships and the dynamic vitality of Vancouver’s former Hogan’s Alley neighbourhood.

1930s, Hogan’s Alley—a thriving Black and immigrant community located in Vancouver’s East End. Junie is a creative, observant child who moves to the alley with her mother, Maddie: a jazz singer with a growing alcohol dependency. Junie quickly makes meaningful relationships with two mentors and a girl her own age, Estelle, whose resilient and entrepreneurial mother is grappling with white scrutiny and the fact that she never really wanted a child.

As Junie finds adulthood, exploring her artistic talents and burgeoning sexuality, her mother sinks further into the bottle while the thriving neighbourhood—once gushing with potential—begins to change. As her world opens, Junie intuits the opposite for the community she loves.

Told through the fascinating lens of a bright woman in an oft-disquieting world, this book is intimate and urgent—not just an unflinching look at the destruction of a vibrant community, but a celebration of the Black lives within.

About the author:
Chelene Knight is the author of THE BRAIDED SKIN (Mother Tongue 2015), the memoir DEAR CURRENT OCCUPANT (winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award, and long-listed for the George Ryga Award for Social Awareness in Literature) and her novel, JUNIE (Book*hug 2022). Her book on Black self-love and joy is forthcoming with HarperCollins Canada in 2024.

Her essays have appeared in multiple Canadian and American literary journals, plus the Globe and Mail, the Walrus, and the Toronto Star. And her writing iss anthologized in Making Room, Love Me True, Sustenance, The Summer Book, and Black Writers Matter, winner of the 2020 Saskatchewan Book Award. Her poem, “Welwitschia” won the 2020 CV2 Editor’s Choice award. She was shortlisted for PRISM’s 2021 short forms contest.

Knight was the previous managing editor at Room magazine, and the previous festival director for the Growing Room Festival in Vancouver and previously worked as a literary agent with the Transatlantic Agency. She has also worked as a professor of poetry at the University of Toronto and the University of British Columbia. Chelene is now founder of her own literary studio,Breathing Space Creative through which she’s launched The Forever Writers Club, a membership for writers focused on creative sustainability, and the Thrive Coaching Program.

Chelene is represented by Samantha Haywood.

Check back on April 6 2023 for the shortlist announcement!

To learn more about the awards, click here:

Congratulations Chelene!