Books

Zalika Reid-Benta wins $10K Danuta Gleed Award for best first short story collection

Frying Plantain features a series of interconnected stories with a young Black woman named Kara Davis living in Toronto.
Frying Plantain is a short story collection by Zalika Reid-Benta. (House of Anansi Press)

Toronto writer Zalika Reid-Benta has won the Danuta Gleed Award for her book Frying Plantain.

The $10,000 award annually recognizes the best first short story collection by a Canadian writer.

Frying Plantain features a series of interconnected stories with a young Black woman named Kara Davis living in Toronto.

The coming-of-age story explores race, class and identity as Kara learns to navigate and reconcile her Canadian nationality and Jamaican heritage.

"Reid-Benta writes her characters into existence with great assurance, skill and tenderness," said the jury in a statement.

Frying Plantain was also longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize and won the 2020 Kobo Emerging Writer Award for fiction.

Frying Plantain author Zalika Reid-Benta discusses her collection of short stories. 8:58

The two runners up were Nova Scotia's Christy Ann Conlin for Watermark, and Newfoundland's Terry Doyle for Dig. They each receive $1,000.

Last year's winner was Carrianne Leung for That Time I Loved You.

Other past winners include David Bezmozgis, Ian Williams and Heather O'Neill.

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