Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction

I’ve won The Malahat Review’s Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction, judged by the marvellous Alissa York. Here’s what she said about my story:

“‘Palace of the Brine’ is a literary high-wire act, not for the faint of heart. The denizens of the crumbling Coronet Hotel are at home with brutality; it’s the organizing principle of the life they’ve come to know. This is fiction’s ‘unflinching eye’ at its most powerful, the gaze that spies out the heartbreaking cycle of human cruelty and refuses to look away. A reader might buckle under the weight of the world portrayed, if it weren’t for the beauty of the prose itself, the imagery that rings on in the subconscious long after the closing line. Witness a seemingly heartless stripper caught in a vulnerable moment: ‘Marie-Odile shivers and reties the sash of her kimono, then pats the wrinkled butterflies in her lap.’ What’s more, there’s an unusual friendship at the core of the Coronet. Hard-as-nails housekeeper Vlada, one of life’s true survivors, takes refuge in hygiene and dark humour, and brews up soup in the basement for her unhappy protégé. The narrator, herself a cleaner-cum-stripper-in-decline, admires Vlada’s pluck; indeed, the elderly cleaner provides her with the closest thing she’s known to a blueprint of how to live.”