Then this happened

I’m very honoured to have had Inheriting Violet, the sequel to my debut novel, Small Reckonings, chosen for the 2022 John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award for Fiction. It’s a surreal full circle with the debut novel winning the prize in 2019. Congratulations to the other winners on the Fiction podium: Kate O’Gorman for May I Myself Not be Lost and Other Stories, and Byrna Barclay for Everything is Under Control: Birdy and Jock-o Short Stories. More about the authors here. I’m looking forward to celebrating with them at the SWG Annual Conference in Regina in October, and also excited to meet one of the judges, Kagiso Lesego Molope, who will be there. Here’s what the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild sent me and I’ve had to keep under wraps for several days:

Congratulations on winning first place in the 2022 John V. Hicks Long Manuscript Award in Fiction for your submission Inheriting Violet.

The judges offered the following comments on your manuscript:

A generational prairie epic that follows a family of homesteaders in rural Saskatchewan as they strive for survival and happiness in a hard but often beautiful place. Throughout this novel, the titular protagonist, Violet, is treated with great respect and care by the author. Those in Violet’s orbit carry the weight of their troubled histories, sorrow and heartache, in a way that demands the reader’s empathy, and explores the complicated dynamics of family and community. Difficult subject matter is presented with both ease and great sensitivity by this promising author, and the jury looks forward to reading more of her work.

Our jury consisted of Canadian fiction writers Kevin Hardcastle and Kagiso Lesego Molope. Here are the jury bios:

Kevin Hardcastle is a fiction writer from Simcoe County, Ontario. He is the author of the novel In the Cage and the short story collection Debris, which won the Trillium Book Award and the ReLit Award for Short Fiction. His writing has been published widely in Canada and the US, with translations published in French, German, and Italian. He lives and works in Toronto.

Kagiso Lesego Molope is an Indigenous South African, an award-winning novelist and playwright. She writes post-apartheid, feminist and resistance literature. Her work centres the history and experiences of indigenous South Africans and tackles issues of race, class, sexuality and identity, and her books are read in schools across South Africa as well as in parts of Europe. Her published novels are Dancing in the Dust, The Mending Season, This Book Betrays my Brother, and Such a Lonely, Lovely Road. Her play, Maya Angelou: Black Woman Rising, has been produced and staged at Oslo’s Nordic Black Theatre. She became the first indigenous South African writer to be on the IBBY List in 2006 and to win the Patrick Fitzpatrick Award for Young Adult Literature. In 2019, she won both the Ottawa Book Award and the Inaugural Pius Adesanmi Memorial Award for her third and fourth books respectively. She has been living in Canada for the past two decades.


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