The University of Victoria, on behalf of The Malahat Review, is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction is Kris Bertin of Halifax, Nova Scotia, for his short story “Girl On the Fire Escape,” which appeared in The Malahat Review’s Winter 2010 issue (173). Bertin’s story was chosen for this prestigious award by Caroline Adderson.
Established in honour of the celebrated Victoria novelist’s contribution to Canadian letters and to the University of Victoria, the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction recognizes the excellence of The Malahat Review’s contributors by awarding a prize of $1000 to the author of the best short story or novella to have appeared in the magazine during the previous calendar year. The winner, selected by an outside judge, is announced prior to the publication of The Malahat Review’s Spring issue.
Of Bertin’s story, Adderson says, “First, my apologies to the venerable Jack Hodgins for choosing as the recipient of the honour that bears his name a story that features webcam sex. 'Girl On the Fire Escape' won me over despite the fact that what people get up to with their PCs is usually too much information for me. This in itself is proof of writer Kris Bertin's talent. Add to it his tightly controlled sentences, his spot-on dialogue, his surprising narrative line, but most of all his kick-ass Gretchen, or Katja, or Tonya, or whatever the heck her name really is. A heroic female character with the attitude of an anti-hero? Yes!”
Kris Bertin is a Halifax-based writer with work published (or soon-to-be-published) in The Malahat Review, The Antigonish Review, PILOT, and WORDS & IMAGES. Born into a military family, he lived in BC and Ontario as a child, then did the rest of his growing up in rural New Brunswick. He attended Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, studying English Literature and Creative Writing, but left before graduating. Since then, he has worked as a mover, a general labourer, an assistant curator in an art gallery, a call-centre cell-phone rep, a Mongolian-grill cook, a bouncer, and a writer. He currently works as a bartender at Bearly’s House of Blues and Ribs, where his faith in humanity is destroyed and restored on a weekly basis.
Caroline Adderson is the author of nine books for adults and children. Her work has received numerous prize nominations including the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist, the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Rogers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. A two-time Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize and three-time CBC Literary Award winner, Caroline was also the recipient of the 2006 Marian Engel Award for mid-career achievement. Her latest novel, The Sky is Falling, was selected as a best book of 2010 by Quill and Quire, Amazon.ca and The Globe and Mail.
photo by Darren Stone/
Jack Hodgins was born in Comox on Vancouver Island in 1938, and raised in the logging community of Merville. After graduating from the University of British Columbia, he moved to Nanaimo, where he taught high school English until 1979. He has been a writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University and the University of Ottawa, and taught fiction in the Department of Writing, University of Victoria, from 1983 to 2004. His first collection of stories, Spit Delaney’s Island (1976) established him as a presence in Canadian writing, bringing his distinctive perspective on Vancouver Island to readers in book after book. His third, The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne (1979), won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1980. His other books include The Honorary Patron (1987), Innocent Cities (1990), A Passion for Narrative: A Guide for Writing Fiction (1993), The Macken Charm (1995), Broken Ground (1998), and Damage Done By the Storm (2004). He is a recipient of the Eaton’s BC Book Award, the Gibson’s First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Literature Prize, the Canada-Australia Prize, the Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.
For more information about the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction and how you may support it through a donation, please email The Malahat Review.