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6 Concordians shortlisted for QWF awards

November 14, 2017
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By Richard Burnett

Six Concordia graduates are among the nominees for the 2017 Quebec Writers’ Federation (QWF) Literary Awards.

The winners will be announced at a gala ceremony at Montreal’s Lion d’Or on Tuesday, November 21.

This year’s finalists include the following alumni:

Concordia University First Book Prize

Arabic for Beginners

Ariela Freedman, BA (English lit. & western society & culture) 94, Arabic for Beginners (Linda Leith Publishing)

Freedman’s novel Arabic for Beginners focuses on Hannah, a married mother who moves to Jerusalem, Israel. There, she meets a group of expat women at her son’s daycare, as well as a young Palestinian woman named Jenna. As Hannah grows close to Jenna, she starts to question her own marriage and her relationship to Israel. Freedman is an associate professor in Concordia’s Liberal Arts College.

Uncertain Weights and Measures

Jocelyn Parr, MA (hist.) 06, MA (Eng.) 11, Uncertain Weights and Measures (Goose Lane Editions)

Also shortlisted for the 2017 Governor General’s award for fiction, Parr’s debut novel Uncertain Weights and Measures is about Tatiana, a scientist, and Sasha, an artist, a couple meet in a Moscow bookstore the night it is bombed in 1921. They fall in love but eventually grow apart as ideology and politics get between them in post-Revolution Russia.

The Golem of Hampstead and Other Stories

J. Jacob Potashnik, BA (comm. studies) 82, The Golem of Hampstead and Other Stories (Penny-A-Page Press)

The QWF describes Potashnik’s collection of short stories The Golem of Hampstead and Other Stories “in the tradition of Saul Bellow, Mordechai Richler, and reminiscent of the work of Isaac Bashevis Singer and Sholom Aleichem, among others.”

Cole Foundation Prize for Translation — French to English

Sun of a Distant Land

Claire Holden Rothman, MA (Eng.) 88, Sun of a Distant Land (Véhicule Press), a translation of Soleil (Les Éditions la Peuplade) by David Bouchet

Bouchet’s debut novel follows 12-year-old Souleye, who has just immigrated with his family to Montreal from Senegal. He must now learn to deal with what it means to be black in a predominantly white society. The QWF says Sun of a Distant Land is “poignantly translated” by Rothman.

QWF Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature

Lighting Lou

Lori Weber, BA (Eng.) 89, Lighting Lou (DCB / Dancing Cat Books)

Loosely based on a true story, Lightning Lou is about a 12-year-old boy named Lou who pretends to be a girl so that he can play on an all-girls’ hockey league team. Lou wrestles with the moral dilemma of posing as a girl while competing with the league’s star player and his chief rival, Albertine Lepensée.

QWF Literary Prize for Young Writers

Nicola Sibthorpe, BA (Eng. & cr. writing) 17, age 22, “Artemisia Absinthium,” published in Headlight Anthology, Concordia University.

Sibthorpe is among the three finalists for inaugural edition of the QWF Literary Prize for Young Writers. The Grand Prize will go to the best short story, poem or work of non-fiction written in English by Quebec residents between 16 and 24 years old and published in an official literary publication in 2015 or 2016. Sibthorpe is now pursuing a Master’s in English with a Creative Writing option at Concordia.

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