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11 Canadian writers to watch

Looking to discover some new Canadian literary talent? We asked the writers who helped us determine the longlist for the 2013 CBC Short Story Prize to introduce us to a new writer or two who we may not have heard of (yet). Read more about these fledgling authors and discover why you should be reading their work right now.

Randy Drover
recommended by Chad Pelley

"We just published a guy named Randy Drover in the first issue of The Overcast. I met Randy years ago in a creative writing class. He read his piece and I wanted to leave the room, feeling utterly unworthy to share a piece after hearing fiction so good as his. And that’s my favourite reaction to someone else’s work: fond jealousy. He’s one of my favourite writers, easy. He knows how to leverage subtlety to make fiction powerful and ready to snap. He uses all the right detail, without going to town on description. He pulls off metaphor no one should get away with."

Peter Dubé 
recommended by Barry Webster

"I enjoy much of Peter Dubé’s work. My favourite works are Subtle Bodies and Conjure: A Book of Spells, a wizard’s manual published just last year. His work is often a mix of surrealism, historical narrative and poetic musing on life. His eclectic works really differ from each other and he never does the same book twice."  

Wanda Nolan and Eva Crocker 
recommended by Elisabeth de Mariaffi 

"If you like short stories, you want to watch for up-and-comers Wanda Nolan and Eva Crocker. I won't offer any spoilers, but both of them are sharp writers. Keep your eye out."

Kevin Chong
recommended by Amber Dawn

"Beauty Plus Pity, by Kevin Chong is a quintessential Vancouver book. I have no idea how Chong is capable of creating such moody, yet hilarious characters, but I could endlessly read his character dialogue alone."  

Niall Fink
recommended by Thomas Wharton

"I want to tip my hat to the up-and-coming writers who are or have been my students in the writing classes I teach at the University of Alberta. These young people are doing exciting work. In particular I’d like to mention Niall Fink, who’s had his work anthologized and published in magazines like The Walrus. A writer to watch."

Lesley Trites
recommended by Elise Moser

"You may not have heard of Lesley Trites because she hasn't published a book yet. But she will. She is a short-story writer of clarity, wit, and restraint. She has a fine observing eye combined with a gift for sharp turns of phrase, crafting beautiful surfaces that part briefly to reveal glimpses of the sorrows that underlie every life. Her stories are variously juicy,dry, bubbly, tannic and biting. She sometimes reminds me of the best of Lisa Moore's early work."

Mariner Janes
recommended by Dennis E Bolen

"I follow a young guy named Mariner Janes around town... his readings show an appreciation for the oral tradition, his writing echoes the rhythms and strophes of the Beats (my major influence) and he respects his elders."

Spencer Gordon
recommended by Rebecca Rosenblum

"Since I so rarely leave Toronto, it’s hard for me to tell who isn’t being heard of outside of here, but I do think Spencer Gordon’s Cosmo was a great book that I didn’t hear enough people talking about. It’s a weird book, but the interesting thing is that Gordon has complete command over his weirdness and can make a reader feel right at home watching Matthew Maconaughey drive naked through the desert. I don’t know how he does it, but I felt as deeply involved and related to those characters as I do in any kitchen-sink realism—and this was a lot funnier too."

Jason Lee Norman
recommended by Michael Hingston

"You will know Jason Lee Norman’s name soon enough. He's the current writer-in-residence at the Edmonton Public Library, and recently published an excellent collection of short stories called Americas (one for each country in said Americas) that's as wild and unpredictable as my favourite Latin American fiction. Last year he edited an anthology about winter in Edmonton called 40 Below, and the second, Alberta-wide volume is coming soon."

c_Leif Gregersen.JPG
Leif Gregersen
recommended by Richard Van Camp

"Leif Gregersen is an author who's self published here in Edmonton. He works in every genre and I love his work and spirit so much. Please check him out. He's self-published three books (a biography, a collection of short stories and a collection of poetry). I'm trying to find him a local publisher as he deserves support. He's so prolific and he is so hungry to be published that he inspires me daily." 

Photo credits: Peter Hanes (Randy Drover), Jonathan Dy (Kevin Chong), Keisha Armand (Niall Fink), Kenneth Kunin (Lesley Trites), Arnaud Brassard (Spencer Gordon), Leif Gregersen (Leif Gregersen), Andy Bond (Mariner Janes), Wanda Nolan (Ian Vardy), Eva Crocker (Jonathan Kennedy)

Who is your favourite up-and-coming Canadian writer? 
Let us know in the comments section below.

More from the Short Story Prize readers: 


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