The Writers’ Trust of Canada announced today that Leah Horlick is the winner of the 10th annual Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers. The $4,000 prize is presented annually to an emerging writer who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, or transgender, and whose published work demonstrates great literary promise. This year’s prize ceremony will take place at Toronto’s Harbourfront Centre on June 18, as part of the Canadian Writers’ Summit.
In addition, honours of distinction will be given to Gwen Benaway and jia qing wilson-yang, who will each receive $250 in prize money.
Leah Horlick is a writer and poet who grew up in Saskatoon. She now lives in Vancouver, where she and Esther McPhee co-curate REVERB, a queer and anti-oppressive reading series. She has published two collections of poetry, Riot Lung, which was shortlisted for a ReLit Award and a Saskatchewan Book Award, and For Your Own Good, which received an honour from the American Library Association’s Stonewall Book Awards.
A jury composed of bookseller Anjula Gogia, poet Billeh Nickerson, and fiction writer Casey Plett selected the winner and honour of distinction recipients. Their citation on the winner reads:
Leah Horlick’s poetry harvests solace and beauty from lands often thought too dark to cultivate. Hers is a poetry of surviving and, indeed, thriving in the spaces where prairie meets ocean and where love can be complicated. Both Riot Lung and For Your Own Good are must reads. Rarely has a poet transformed silence and taboo into such potent epiphanies.
Gwen Benaway is a two-spirited poet of Anishinaabe and Métis descent. She was born in Huron Country and currently lives in Toronto. Her first collection of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead, was published in 2013 and her second collection is forthcoming from Kegedonce Press this fall.
jia qing wilson-yang is a mixed race trans woman living in Toronto. Her debut novel, Small Beauty, was published by Metonymy Press this spring. Her writing has appeared in Room magazine and the anthology Letters Lived: Radical Reflections, Revolutionary Paths.
About the Prize:
Robin Pacific established the prize in 2007 to honour her late friend, Dayne Ogilvie, who was a respected editor, writer, literary manager, and passionate lover of all the arts.
Presented for the 10th year in 2016, the Dayne Ogilvie Prize rewards emerging writers whose body of work demonstrates great potential and who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender. Past winners of the prize are Alex Leslie, Tamai Kobayashi, C.E. Gatchalian, Amber Dawn, Farzana Doctor, Nancy Jo Cullen, Debra Anderson, Zoe Whittall, and Michael V. Smith.
About the Writers’ Trust:
The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs, including literary awards, a fellowship, financial grants, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country. Information about the Writers’ Trust can be found at www.writerstrust.com.
Kevin Hardcastle is a fiction writer from Simcoe County, Ontario. He studied writing at the University of Toronto and at Cardiff University. His work has been widely published in journals including The New Quarterly, The Malahat Review, Joyland, Shenandoah and The Walrus. Hardcastle was a finalist for the 2012 Journey Prize, and his short fiction has been anthologized in The Journey Prize Stories 24 & 26, Best Canadian Stories 15, and Internazionale.
Hardcastle’s debut short story collection, Debris, was published by Biblioasis in 2015. Debris won the 2016 Trillium Book Award, the 2016 ReLit Award for Short Fiction, was runner-up for the 2016 Danuta Gleed Literary Award, and was a finalist for the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.