Books

Lisa Foad, David Huebert and Jessica Johns named finalists for $10K Journey Prize for short fiction

The three emerging Canadian writers are nominated for the annual prize, which recognizes the best short fiction published in a Canadian magazine.
The 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize finalists (from left): Lisa Foad, David Huebert, Jessica Johns. (Submitted by Writers' Trust)

Lisa Foad, David Huebert and Jessica Johns are on the shortlist for the 2020 Writers' Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.

The annual $10,000 award is given to the best short fiction published in a Canadian magazine. It is geared toward writers in the early stages of their careers. 

The remaining finalists will each receive $1,000. The publication that originally published the winning piece will receive $2,000. 

Foad is a finalist for Hunting, published in Taddle Creek. The Toronto-based writer and journalist tells the story of the dangers faced by a group of girls in a dystopic city ravaged by senseless violence.

"Written in gripping, clear-eyed prose, the story is shot through with violence that is neither romanticized or gratuitous. In Foad's masterful hands, each act is essential — and even beautiful — with an internal velocity that hurls itself toward a heartstopper of a final line," said the jury in a press release. 

David Huebert, a Halifax-based writer, is on the shortlist for his story Chemical Valley, published in The Fiddlehead. In 2016, Huebert won the CBC Short Story Prize with the story Enigma

"This is a complex story about love, death and grief set in a contemporary Canadian community plagued by petrochemical-induced diseases and environmental ruin. The attention to language is so meticulous that tragedy is imbued with an aura of beauty," the jury said.

Johns is a Nehiyaw-English-Irish aunty and member of Sucker Creek First Nation in Treaty 8 Territory in northern Alberta. The writer and editor is on the shortlist for the story Bad Cree, published in Grain Magazine. 

"Bad Cree explores the truth inside a dream and the relationship between memory and grief. The narrator searches for solace while meditating on conceptual forgiveness. Her journey is not limited by self-preservation but flirts with teachings from the land, from her people, from the crow," the jury said.

The finalists were selected by the 2020 jury, which was comprised of Téa Mutonji, Amy Jones and Doretta Lau. 

The winner will be announced on Oct. 21, 2020.

The Journey Prize has been awarded since 1989.

Angélique Lalonde won in 2019 for Pooka, published by PRISM International, which tells the story of a carpet collector who fails at achieving online fame.

Other past winners include Yann MartelAnne Carson and Yasuko Thanh.

The Writers' Trust of Canada is an organization that supports Canadian writers through literary awards, fellowships, financial grants, mentorships and more.

It also gives out seven prizes in recognition of the year's best in fiction, nonfiction and short story, as well as mid-career and lifetime achievement awards.

The organization was founded in 1976 by Margaret Atwood, Pierre Berton, Graeme Gibson, Margaret Laurence and David Young.

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