The Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union Fresh Fish Award 2022 Shortlist Announcement
May 26, 2022
One of the country’s most lucrative literary awards for unpublished writers, the Fresh Fish Award provides emerging writers in the province with financial support, recognition, and professional editing services for a book-length manuscript in any genre.
The winning author will receive a cash prize of $5,200 and $1,000 towards professional editing services for the winning manuscript.
The runners-up will each receive $1,200.
This year’s shortlist finalists are:
(listed alphabetically by last name)
Urn – Santiago Guzmán
Familiar Monsters of the Flood – Tia McLennan
Dishonorable Daughters – Khadija Rehma
2022 Fresh Fish Jury Comments:
Urn by Santiago Guzmán
Urn is a tightly written family saga, rich with interpersonal struggle. The play tackles the insider/outsider dynamics of immigrating to Newfoundland from Mexico alongside issues of sexuality, language, identity, and the bonds that tie us to our families and communities.
The great skill of this work is its ability to capture the tension in the lives and experiences of its characters: it is full of humour and tragedy, love and rejection, prejudice and care. The voice does not shy away from struggle but shows instead the cracks we find through which to survive and to thrive. Urn will be a spectacular stage play and a beautiful book.
Familiar Monsters of the Flood by Tia McLennan
Familiar Monsters of the Flood is a beautifully constructed book of poetry full of visceral imagery, whether it be a description of a coyote, an email, or a hospital. It utilizes forms to their optimal potential, one example of which is the sestina, which is complex and difficult to work with. The repetition of words and concepts in individual poems, and the book as a whole, subtly reveal and construct meaning for the reader, without becoming redundant.
Familiar Monsters of the Flood is simultaneously simple and complex, providing readers with an enjoyable, relatable, and engaging read.
Dishonorable Daughters by Khadija Rhema
Dishonourable Daughters is an ambitious novel that boldly tackles difficult subjects – exploring violence, war, misogyny, trauma, class, and religion – without taking itself too seriously.
The narrative voice is fresh and lively. It doles out insight and humour but no easy answers or false resolutions. Instead, the book offers masterful prose, a massive, jostling, polyphonic cast, and an honest accounting of the fraught, hopeful, rebellious lives of women and girls.
This manuscript is an exciting early draft with great promise.
Meet the 2022 Fresh Fish Jury:
Sharon Bala’s bestselling debut novel, The Boat People, won the 2020 Newfoundland & Labrador Book Award and the 2019 Harper Lee Prize for Legal Fiction, was short listed for several awards, and is in translation in four languages. In 2017 she won the Writers’ Trust/ McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize for her short story “Butter Tea at Starbucks” and had a second story on the long list. Sharon is a member of The Port Authority, a St. John’s writing group. Visit her at: sharonbala.com
Carmella Gray-Cosgrove is from Vancouver and has lived in St. John’s for twelve years. Her writing has appeared in Prism International, Broken Pencil, The New Quarterly and elsewhere. Her debut short story collection Nowadays and Lonelier won the BMO Winterset Award and was shortlisted for the NLCU Fresh Fish Award for Emerging Writers. Carmella is the fiction editor at Riddle Fence.
Katie Vautour is a visual artist and writer who has participated in art residencies in Oaxaca, Mexico, and the Banff Centre. She exhibits her mixed media work at Eastern Edge and the Craft Council in Newfoundland, has won several visual arts awards from Arts & Letters NL, and displays her paintings in galleries throughout Atlantic Canada. Katie’s first book of poetry was published by Breakwater in Spring 2019, with a second book being released in 2022.