Great BC Novel, take three
November 24th, 2015
Three Finalists Announced for the 3rd Great BC Novel Contest
Established B.C. authors have tended to take a back seat to newcomers during the first two competitions for the Great BC Novel Contest administered by Mother Tongue Publishing. The first two contests were won by debut novelists. Everything Was Good-bye by Gurjinder Basran won the 1st Great BC Novel contest as well as the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. Lucky by Kathryn Para won the 2nd contest and was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2014.
This year’s preliminary judges Bill Gaston and Kathryn Para looked at fifty-six submissions and selected a shortlist of three manuscripts by Grant Buday (green shirt), Linda Rogers & Ben Murray (co-writers) and Cathy Stonehouse. Buday, Rogers and Stonehouse cannot be described as emerging writers. They have published 53 books.
Pearl Luke, the final judge, will choose the winner in the New Year. The first prize is a publishing contract with Mother Tongue Publishing, $1,000 advance, regional book launches and readings, media coverage and publication of their novel in a trade paper edition.
Here are preliminary evaluations:
- ATOMIC ROAD by Grant Buday “is a novel laced with irony and wit set on the road from New York to Saskatchewan at the height of the Cuban Missile Crisis. Clement Greenberg, art critic, is on a mission to murder his rival Harold Rosenberg. Accompanied by the Marxist philosopher Louis Althusser and hampered by Jean Claude Piche, a contract killer, all three are derailed by arch patriot Swen, a man with plans of his own. Intelligent and wry, Atomic Road is an inspired example of delightfully twisted storytelling.” Images for Atomic Road contributed by John O’Brian, art historian and writer whose show; Camera Atomica, was at the AGO in 2015. Grant Buday has published ten books. His novel The Delusionist was shortlisted for the Eric Hoffer Book Award, the City of Victoria Butler Prize and the Kobzar Award. He lives on the Gulf islands with eight chickens, three cats, three goats, and two people.
- “The collaborative novel and conceptually intriguing THE ARIOSO GAME by Linda Rogers and Ben Murray, is a poetic love story between Frank and Wisdom. Told through alternating points of view, poems, prose and illustrations, The Arioso Game deftly questions fidelity, reality and the assumptions of fiction itself. It’s mysterious, mystical and thoroughly original.” Linda Rogers is a novelist, essayist, editor and songwriter and also past Victoria Poet Laureate and Canadian People’s Poet. She has published twenty-nine books and been awarded national and international literary prizes. She lives in Victoria. Ben Murray is a car-free vegan. He has published a volume of poetry, What We’re Left With, and has been longlisted for the 2012 CBC Canada Writes Creative Non-Fiction Prize and the 2011 Best Canadian Poetry In English. He lives in Victoria and Alberta.
- THE CAUSES by Cathy Stonehouse “is a novel set in the 1982 Falklands/Malvinas War and experienced through the lives of two young soldiers from opposing sides. Their meeting is apocalyptic and political with haunting implications that resonate through both of their lives. The prose in this manuscript is elegant, making the ordinary mysterious, and the implausible real.” Cathy Stonehouse’s book Grace Shiver was long-listed for the ReLit Award, and her collection of short stories Something about the Animal, was short-listed for the Metcalf-Rooke Award. She is a previous Editor of EVENT magazine and lives in Vancouver.
The judges are:
PEARL LUKE’s novel Burning Ground won the 2001 Commonwealth Prize for Best First Novel (Canada/Caribbean region) and was short-listed for the Chapters/Robertson Davies First Novel Prize, Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and Canadian Booksellers’ Libris Award. She was one of 10 international writers-in-residence for the City of Taipei in 2000. Madame Zee was long-listed for the 2007 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. Luke works as a freelance editor and private writing mentor.
BILL GASTON’S latest novel The World, won the 2013 Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize. His fiction has been nominated for the Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award, and has won the ReLit Award, the City of Victoria Butler Book Prize and the CBC Canadian Literary Award. His most recent short-story collection, Juliet Was a Surprise, was nominated for the 2014 Governor General’s Award. Gaston was the inaugural recipient of the Timothy Findley Award, conferred by the Writers’ Trust of Canada. He lives in Victoria and teaches at the University of Victoria.
KATHRYN PARA is an award-winning, multi-genre writer with an MFA in Creative Writing from UBC. Her debut novel Lucky won Mother Tongue Publishing’s 2nd Great BC Novel Contest. Lucky was a finalist for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize in 2014. Para’s fiction, non-fiction and poetry have been published in Grain, Room of One’s Own, Geist, Sunstream and Vancouver Review. Her stage play Honey debuted in 2004. She has also written, directed and produced short films. She lives in Gibsons, BC.