2018 W.O. Mitchell Book Prize finalists announced

The City of Calgary celebrates literary achievement by Calgary authors: The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, in partnership with the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, recognizes the 2018 finalists for an outstanding book published in the preceding year.

“We are delighted to announce this year’s W.O. Mitchell Book Prize finalists,” said Carol Holmes, Executive Director of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. “The finalists are outstanding authors representing the immensely talented people in Calgary.”

The City of Calgary established the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize in honour of the late Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell. This $5,000 book prize will be awarded at The Calgary Awards Presentation on June 12, 2019. This year’s three finalists are:

Marcello Di Cintio - Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense (Goose Lane Editions)In Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, Marcello Di Cintio takes us on a journey of the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of poets, authors, librarians, and booksellers. At the seventieth anniversary of the Arab-Israeli War, Di Cintio explores the region and visits Palestine’s literary community to see how they make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily tedium of violence and survival. The reader is led to understand that while one’s political and social environment can shape the human experience, a life can never be fully defined by the context in which it is lived. This book is not one more book about Palestine, this is a book that changes our perception of Palestine.

Larissa Lai - The Tiger Flu (Arsenal Pulp Press)The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai is a saga of two women heroes, a cyberpunk thriller, and a convention-breaking cautionary tale. A community of parthenogenic women are sent into exile by patriarchal and corporate Salt Water City. Peristrophe, a "starfish," regenerates her own limbs and organs to help her ailing clone sisters. When a Salt Water City denizen with a mysterious flu comes into their midst, Peristrophe becomes infected and dies. Kirilow, Peristrophe’s lover, travels to the city, where the flu is now a pandemic, to find a new starfish to help save her sisters. Kirilow meets Kora, who has everything Kirilow needs…except the will to abandon her own family. Before Kirilow can convince her, both are kidnapped by a mysterious group of men to serve as test subjects for a new technology.

David Martin - Tar Swan (NeWest Press)David Martin’s Tar Swan is a multi-voiced reckoning that surveys the mythos of the Alberta oil sands with an approach that is both lyrical and experimental. The poems feature four voices: an oil sands developer, his plant mechanic, an archaeologist excavating the remains of the operation in the present day, and a mythical swan. Martin’s debut collection is comprised of expansive and richly written poems, built on a lore-laden language, which explore the human and environmental cost of drawing too much from the land. As the three humans come into contact with the otherworldly swan, the voices bubble and churn together, and what is distilled is a psychological breakdown paralleling the toll taken on the earth.

A Shortlist Reading and Q&A with the authors will take place at Shelf Life Books (1302 4 St. S.W.) on Wednesday, April 17, 2019 at 7:00 p.m.

For more information contact Samantha at the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Calgary office at 403.265.2226.