Fiction; short stories; publication; prizes; CanLit; Journey Prize; Sarnia

“Chemical Valley” in Journey Prize Stories; “Swamp Things” in The New Quarterly

 

I’ve got some happy fiction news to report: 2 stories from my new collection-in-progress, Chemical Valley, have found stellar homes recently.

First, “Chemical Valley,” has been longlisted for The Journey Prize. This story, the lead piece in the new collection, was originally published in The Fiddlehead. I owe a huge thanks to whiz writer and excellent Fiction Editor Mark Anthony Jarman, and to all the rest of the lovely people at the Fid. I’m so pleased that this story will now be included in The Journey Prize Stories: 32 alongside the other talented longlisted writers like Canisia Lubrin, Paola Ferrante, and Jessica Johns. I’m also deeply grateful to judges Amy Jones, Doretta Lau, and Téa Mutonji. It’s my first time in the prestigious Journey anthology, a huge milestone. The story itself is new to me in its exploration of the gothic atmosphere. Set in the petrochemical mecca of Sarnia, Ontario, Jerry Oliver struggles with a dangerous workplace and the slow sickness and dread descending on this community. In the middle, there’s a little taxidermic twist.

I’m grateful to the Writers Trust, McClelland & Stewart, and Editor Anita Chong for making the Journey Prize happen and giving an opportunity to young writers. I’m also grateful to James A. Michener, who inaugurated the award by donating the Canadian royalties of his 1988 novel, Journey.

Second, “Swamp Things,” has found a home in the most recent issue of The New Quarterly. I’m grateful to TNQ’s superb Editor-in-Chief Pamela Mulloy, and to all the volunteers and staff at this excellent journal. In this issue, I’m honoured to have my work appear alongside talented writers like Kathy Page, Meg Todd, Wendy Donawa, and Dave Margoshes. “Swamp Things” is the story of a teenage girl living in Sarnia dealing with climate grief, pollution, and our world’s uncertain future while being taken advantage of by a charismatic teacher.

I’m grateful to the London Arts Council and the Ontario Arts Council for providing much-needed funding as these stories came, gradually, to find their form.