Congratulations to Susie Taylor, the winner of this year’s NLCU Fresh Fish Award for her novel Dispelling the Myths. The 2015 winner was announced on November 10 at Government House in St. John’s at a ceremony hosted by The Honourable Frank F. Fagan, Lieutenant Governor of Newfoundland and Labrador and Her Honour Mrs. Patricia Fagan.
Taylor was presented with a cheque for $5,000, a credit for $1,000 in professional editing services, and an engraved miniature replica of “Man Nailed to a Fish” by sculptor Jim Maunder for her winning manuscript. Runners-up Sharon Bala, for her novel The Boat People, and Eva Crocker, for her short story collection, Barrelling Forward and Other Stories, each took home $1,000 cash prizes.
Here’s some of what the jury said: “Dispelling the Myths is a thoroughly engaging coming-of-age novel. Daisy’s journey through high school brings it all back with uncomfortable vividness: the profound social unease, the unpredictability of teen friendships, the unsettling sense of never really knowing who you are, the baffling unreasonableness of adult behaviour. That vividness could almost be unpleasant, only it’s not—it’s funny, witty, with a sophisticated control of tone that allows the author to balance the authenticity of the main character’s point of view with situations that will be understood differently by the reader.
The novel has several distinctive strengths. One is the element of abruptness, the sudden change of topic. There is no pedestrian filling-in of dead time with mundane details: when one scene is over, we leap a little into the next one, and the result is an energetic pacing that propels the narrative forward… Another strength is the concise and trenchant clarity with which the social realities of teenage life are expressed…. Style is consistent and authoritative; characters are individualized and feel real; the world of the novel feels entirely credible and we are rooting for Daisy as she navigates her bumpy path through it. This is fine, smart, poignant, entertaining novel.”
Susie Taylor was born in England, grew up in Ontario and moved to Newfoundland and Labrador in 2002 where she lives in the historic town of Harbour Grace. Taylor graduated from the University of Guelph with a B.A. in Fine Arts in 2000 and subsequently, as she puts it, “worked many, many retail jobs.”