The award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2016 in English. The winner receives $10,000 and there are two prizes of $500.
The shortlist was chosen from 30 collections by a jury of Caroline Adderson, Judy Fong Bates, and David Bergen, according to a media release.
Champagne’s collection talks about refugees from war, famine and genocide and tells the stories of people:
• In Ukraine on the eve of the Holodomor, the Soviet imposed famine in which millions died;
• Armenians before the deportations and killings;
• Escaping Nanjing before the Japanese army arrives;
• Escaping Cambodia’s killing fields
• And before Rwanda’s bloody killings began.
The other finalists are:
Kris Berton for Bad Things Happen (Biblioasis)
André Narbonne for Twelve Miles to Midnight (Black Moss Press)
Kerry Lee Powell for Willem de Kooning’s Paintbrush (HarperCollins)
Laura Trunkey Double Dutch (Astoria)
The winner will be announced at the OnWords Conference (June 1 – 4) in Vancouver.
The award was created in honour of Danuta Gleed, a writer whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996. Her first collection called One of the Chosen, was posthumously published by BuschekBooks. Her husband John made the award possible through a donation. It is administered by The Writers’ Union of Canada.