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Vol. 10, No.12, December 2013 | CONTEST EDITION

Autumn 2013 Issue 184


Canada  |  US  |  International

Holiday Campaign

Our holiday subscription offer is now available! Give the gift of The Malahat Review to family, friends, or yourself this holiday season.

More info on our website.

Translation Issue

The Malahat Review invites the world’s writers to Canada through works in translation from Canadian translators.

Deadline: March 15, 2014.

More info on our website.

Upcoming Malahat Contests

Quebecois Poetry in Translation Prize

Book Review: Perfection by Patrick Warner


Review by Chris Jennings

"The last poem in Perfection, 'Thanksgiving,' turns on a marvellous change of focus and register at the end of a trio of lines. The speaker drifts into an awareness of how his particular life compares to Life. Insurance has just made it possible to buy medications ('two puffers, one steroid') to help heal a child with a cough so violent it jerks her like a marionette and sends the family to the hospital: 'I thought about this as I lay awake at some ungodly hour / next to my wife, our two children asleep downstairs / while all around us, invisible, lay the earthly poor...'"

Read the rest of this book review on our website.

Book Review: A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden: Writing from Prison by Stephen Reid

A Crowbar in the Buddhist Garden: Writing from Prison

Review by Neil Boyd

"Stephen Reid appeared to be a poster boy for redemption. The acclaimed author of Jackrabbit Parole married the accomplished writer Susan Musgrave in Kent Institution in 1986, and was paroled the following year. For the next twelve years he seemed, at least to most of us, to be a devoted father and family man, committed to practising the ideals of restorative justice, inventing a new life for himself on Vancouver Island."

Read the rest of this book review on our website.

2014 Novella Prize

Novella PrizeDeadline: February 1, 2014 (postmarked)
Prize: One $1,500 CAD prize will be awarded
Entry fee:
$35 CAD for Canadian entries
$40 US for entries from the USA
$45 US for entries from elsewhere
$15 CAD for each additional entry
(entry fee includes a one-year subscription to The Malahat Review)

Enter a single work of fiction, with a minimum length of 10,000 words and maximum length 20,000 words.

Read full guidelines on our website.

Meet our Novella Judges

Ann Ireland

The Focus of the Novel: Molly McFaul in Conversation with Ann Ireland

MM: The novella is a very specific form. How is it different from a short story, or a novel? What are the difficulties inherent to this specific form? Is there a uniqueness that affords aspects of this form to be unlike any other?

AI: A novella has a unity of form, and doesn’t go off on tangents and subplots. Usually. Any writer should feel free to upend this statement. It can feel like it’s been written in one very long breath, one arc of consciousness. I love the form because it’s longer than a story (unless you are Alice Munro and your stories are like novellas) and thus it has time to worm into the brain. Long enough for the reader to inhabit a world but not get tired of it. The pleasure is in the sharp focus. I think of Margarite Duras’s “The Lover,” or early Ian MacEwan novellas. Slim Ondaatje books such as Coming Through Slaughter and Billy the Kid are my favourite of his fictions.

Read the rest of Ann's interview on our website.

Greg Hollingshead

Under the Publicity Spotlight: Heike Lettrari in Conversation with Greg Hollingshead

HL: It’s not too late to offer a few shining words of wisdom or encouragement for writers submitting work to the Malahat’s 2014 Novella Prize, so from your experience as both a writer and an instructor of writing, are there any tips you’d recommend to those intending to submit?

GH: Remember that you need to still love it when you send it out. If you don't, there's a good chance your reader won't. So hold out for sending out something you love and that has continued to surprise you. And don't worry about too strange. Great always seems strange at first, even to the one who made it.

Read the rest of Greg's interview on our website.

Pauline HoldstockThe Character as Attribute: Samantha Ainsworth in Conversation with Pauline Holdstock

SA: Your latest novel, Into the Heart of the Country (long-listed for the 2012 Giller Prize) focuses on the integral role and sacrifices of native women during the 18th-century Canadian fur trade. You have created a vehicle through which these essential women are brought into our midst, into our world of iPads, microwaves, and fast food. How did you come to unearth these vital women, and their stories buried with them? And what drove you tell their tale?

PH: Every period of history has its official, received account, a version riding over top of the untold stories that you find if you rake around in in history’s footnotes. For me the footnotes and the margins also merit attention, and can be used to highlight neglected episodes of the received version. In Samuel Hearne’s letters, I found a sentence that kindled some of the ideas I was playing with. When he returned to Prince of Wales Fort after surrendering it to the French, he wrote, “…all the Indians that used to trade here are either dead with the small pox, starved to death last winter or removed so far into the heart of the country that it will be next summer at least before the few survivors hear of my arrival here.

Read the rest of Pauline's interview on our website.


2013 Creative Nonfiction Prize Winner: Liz Windhorst Harmer

Liz Windhorst Harmer

Writing as a Continuum of Fear: Alexandra Handley in Conversation with Liz Windhorst Harmer

AH: Contest judge John Vaillant said that your winning entry, “Blip,” “demonstrates a wonderful discipline and restraint.” I have to agree, and I wonder if it was difficult for you to construct such a contained narrative from your past experience?

LWH: In one way it was very difficult. About two years ago I abandoned the writing of a long memoir based on this experience. I had already written 100 pages and was learning all sorts of things about the experience, but I realized that the timing wasn't right for me to write this as a book. I happened at that point to be reading some essays by Jonathan Franzen. One of the essays, called "The Discomfort Zone," weaves biographical information about Charles Schultz into a narrative about Franzen's home life, and it inspired me to distill the long memoir I was working on into a shorter piece. So, “Blip” was distilled from quite a lot of work and time and energy and thinking. 

Read the rest of Liz's interview on our website.

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