Edmonton-based Inuk author Norma Dunning has won the $10,000 Danuta Gleed Literary Award.
Dunning was recognized for her debut collection “Annie Muktuk and Other Stories” (The University of Alberta Press) at the Canadian Writers Summit in Toronto on Thursday evening.
Jury members praised Dunning for crafting “spellbinding narratives” centring on Inuit characters that “deliver raw emotion and an acute sense of humanity.”
Now in its 21st year, the Danuta Gleed Award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in English. The prize was named for the late Danuta Gleed, whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996.
According to Dunning’s bio, the writer, scholar and grandmother grew up experiencing “a silenced form of Aboriginality” in the southern areas of Canada.
It says she connected with her Inuit ancestors through storytelling, and her creative work is rooted in their traditional ways of knowing and belonging.
Runners-up were Dawn Dumont for “Glass Beads” (Thistledown Press) and David Huebert for “Peninsula Sinking” (Biblioasis). Each finalist was awarded $500.
The short list also included Camilla Grudova for “The Doll’s Alphabet” (Coach House Books) and Lori McNulty for “Life on Mars” (Goose Lane Editions).
Writers Andrew Borkowski, Shree Ghatage and Doretta Lau formed this year’s jury.