The Malahat Review announces winners of the Jack Hodgins and P.K. Page Founders awards

The University of Victoria , on behalf of The Malahat Review, is pleased to announce the winner of this year’s P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry: Shane Rhodes of Ottawa , Ontario , for his poem, “For Don nie Peters (1964-1999),” which appeared in the Summer 2008 issue (163) of The Malahat Review. Shane Rhodes’ award-winning poem was chosen by Harold Rhenisch.

The P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry recognizes the excellence of The Malahat Review’s contributors by awarding a prize of $1000 to the author of the best poem or sequence of poems to have appeared in the magazine’s quarterly issues during the previous calendar year. The winner, to be chosen by an outside judge who is recognized for his or her accomplishment as a poet, is announced just prior to the publication of The Malahat Review’s Spring issue.

Of Shane Rhodes’ poem, Rhenisch says, “this poem plays its complex, shifting rhythms with verve. It is constantly inventive in its language and mercurial in its changes of voice. The result is a poem that seamlessly merges understatement with overstatement to portray a grief that eschews sentimentality for a hard but relentlessly subtle irony. In it, the tango tradition of Astor Piazola is welded to the elegiac tradition, while meeting Lorca’s Duende face to face, on equal terms. It is movingly conceived, splendidly choreographed, and impeccably delivered. Bravo.”

Shane Rhodes’ most recent book of poetry, The Bindery, was published by NeWest Press in Spring 2007 and won the Lampman-Scott Award for poetry. His first book, The Wireless Room (2000, NeWest Press ), won the Alberta Book Award for poetry, and his second book, Holding Pattern (2002, NeWest Press ) also won the Lampman-Scott Award for poetry. As well as appearing in magazines across Canada, Shane’s poetry is featured in the anthologies Breathing Fire II, Seminal: Canada’s Gay Male Poets, Best Canadian Poetry in English 2008, and Best Gay Poetry 2008. Harold Rhenisch is the winner of the CBC Literary Prize, The Malahat Review’s Long Poem Prize, the George Ryga Prize, and many others. His most recent book of poems is Return to Open Water: Poems Selected and New 1989-2007. He lives in Campbell River on northern Vancouver Island .

The P. K. Page Founders’ Award for Poetry honours the celebrated Victoria poet’s contribution to Canadian letters. It is made possible by a financial donation to The Malahat Review by P. K. Page in recognition of her long association with the magazine and as a gesture of her deep appreciation of her peers in the local and national literary communities.

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 Sarah L. Taggart of Vancouver , for her short story “Deaf,” which appeared in The Malahat Review’s Summer 2008 issue (163). Taggart’s award-winning story was chosen for this prestigious award by Steven Heighton .

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’s quarterly issues during the previous calendar year. The winner, to be chosen by an outside judge, will be announced annually just prior to the publication of The Malahat Review’s Spring issue.

Of Taggart’s story, Heighton says “Blindness has been used so often as a moral metaphor in fiction that we forget that deafness is more to the point—words, spoken or written, are the distinctive currency of human exchange, and our failure to hear the words of others finally leads to more carnage than our failure to see. In Sarah L. Taggart’s story, deafness works as a metaphor of familial malfunction partly because of how well Taggart particularizes it through concrete detail nailed down in clear language (see the muting, anesthetic mask that “descends over [the child’s] face like a black toilet plunger” . . .!). Scenes from the point of view of children are always a good test of a writer’s skill in the Zone of the Concrete, and it’s a test Taggart passes with pennants flying. Also—not incidentally—she has left us with a moving and true insight: “A family is designed to bear a continued series of hurts.” Those are words that hurt to hear, but which many readers, I think, will be grateful to have heard and to bear away with them. We come away from a very good story a little less deaf.”

Sarah L. Taggart graduated from the University of Victoria ’s creative writing program in 2007. She is now a Master of Publishing candidate at Simon Fraser University in Vancouver .

Steven Heighton is the author of the novel Afterlands, which has appeared in six countries, was a New York Times Book Review editors’ choice, and was recently optioned for film. He has also published The Shadow Boxer (a Canadian bestseller and a Publishers’ Weekly Book of the Year), Flight Paths of the Emperor and The Address Book. His poems and stories have appeared in many magazines and anthologies, including London Review of Books, The Malahat Review, Poetry, Tin House, Europe, Agni, Poetry London , and Best English Stories. Heighton has won several awards and has been nominated for the Governor General’s Award, the Trillium Award, a Pushcart Prize, the Journey Prize, and Britain ’s W.H. Smith Award. This winter he is the writer-in-residence at the University of Ottawa .

For more information about the Jack Hodgins and P.K. Page Founders’ Awards for Fiction and Poetry and how you may support them through a donation, please contact: Karen Whyte at 250-721-6696 or by email at kwhyte@uvic.ca.

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