The Danuta Gleed Literary Award was created as a celebration of the life of Danuta Gleed, a writer whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996. Danuta Gleed’s first collection of short fiction, One of the Chosen, was posthumously published by BuschekBooks. The award is made possible through a generous donation from John Gleed, in memory of his late wife, and is administered by The Writers’ Union of Canada.

Each year, a $10,000 prize is awarded to a Canadian writer for the best first collection of published short fiction in the English language. Two finalists are also awarded $1,000 each.

The Writers’ Union of Canada is pleased to announce that Lisa Alward is the recipient of the 27th annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award, recognizing the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2023 in the English language.

Of Lisa Alward’s book Cocktail (Biblioasis), jury members Danila Botha, paulo da costa, and Souvankham Thammavongsa, said: “Lisa Alward’s Cocktail is skilful in its ability to capture the nuance and details of daily life in a way that is striking and deeply felt. With beautiful, precise descriptions and expert pacing, she effortlessly reveals tensions that feel both classic and utterly her own. Exploring the emotional and sexual tensions of couples and families in the Sixties and Seventies, these narratives bring the reader to the core of those unspoken moments, leaving us unsettled. The clarity of sound in Lisa Alward's sentences — word after word after word — makes it impossible to turn your ear away. This is a quiet voice that booms.”

Congratulations to runners-up Paola Ferrante for Her Body Among Animals (Book*hug Press) and Rebecca Hirsch GarciaThe Girl Who Cried Diamonds & Other Stories (ECW Press), who will each receive $1,000.

This year's short list also included Kathryn MocklerAnecdotes (Book*hug Press) and Idman Nur OmarThe Private Apartments (House of Anansi Press).

Watch a recording of the award announcement here.

Read the full press release here.

Danuta Gleed Literary Award Winners