November 3, 2014

Judging the Journey Prize

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it here before or not, but I was on this year's Journey Prize jury! I still feel pretty lucky to have been selected. Lucky in a very peculiar, synchronous way: the day before I was asked to participate, I was actually idly wishing that I could be part of the jury. I was reading something about short fiction in Canada, thinking about how I hadn't read any short stories in a little while and how fun it would be to read all the best ones of the year. I even wondered if there was a way to go about being tweeting about it or emailing someone. But I did nothing except think it and the very next day when I got an email about it I basically fell off my chair in the office. (And yes, promptly began all manner of very earnest wishing...for a sudden million-dollar windfall, for perfect bangs, etc...but I'm still waiting on all of those.)

The Journey Prize Anthology 26

I wrote a little bit about the judging process in our collective introduction to the anthology (which you should go buy right now!), as well as in a more detailed Q & A with Brad de Roo just posted on the blog of Guelph's wonderful bookstore, the Bookshelf.

So I'd planned to write about it here, but I think I've pretty much covered it everywhere else. I'll just say, again, that it was a true pleasure and honour to read and discuss these stories by so many talented Canadian authors. I also feel really fortunate to have been paired with Steven W. Beattie and Craig Davidson, who are both very perceptive and fine writers --- as well as gentlemen and all-round good guys.

All still smiling after a long day of judging!

I've written about it before, but winning the Journey Prize in 2008 was truly one of the greatest things that has ever happened to me...and not only because it helped me to pay off my student loans many, many (many) years earlier than expected. The Writers' Trust does so much good work for writers in this country. Check out this week's profile in Maclean's, aptly titled "How the Writers' Trust of Canada Saves Authors," where you can also read excerpts of the five shortlisted books that are up for the fiction prize.

Tomorrow night all of the prize winners, including the winner of the Journey, will be revealed at the Writers' Trust gala, but before that happens I want to again congratulate all of the amazing writers who appear in the anthology. It was a privilege to read your work, and thank you for writing.

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