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Jack Wang Awarded Writers' Union Danuta Gleed Literary Award for His Stunning Story Collection We Two Alone

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Jack Wang's debut story collection We Two Alone (House of Anansi Press) made waves as soon as it was published, with Wang widely praised for his authentic, gripping, and finely rendered depictions of the Chinese diaspora. Already hailed as a "master of the short story" (Literary Review of Canada), he was today announced as the winner of the Writers' Union of Canada annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award, which honours the finest debut short fiction collection of the year. 

Also honoured were runners-up Kaie Kellough and Souvankham Thammavongsa, and the remaining shortlisted nominees, Frances Boyle and Sidura Ludwig. 

The prize earns Wang, who has also published a number of acclaimed children's books and works as a Professor of creative writing, $10,000. The jury, composed of Lisa Bird-Wilson, Ian Colford, and Zalika Reid-Benta, praised Wang's collection, saying: "Wang has written an instantly engaging and achingly poignant collection of stories about people struggling to preserve their way of life and seeking stability, connection, and meaning... All of Wang’s characters are vividly rendered, their struggles and agonies richly conceived and indelibly portrayed. The writing throughout is atmospheric, highly visual, and peppered with startling and persuasive detail... We Two Alone lingers in the mind as a compassionate work by a profoundly talented writer."

The Danuta Gleed Literary Award was established to honour Gleed, a writer whose short fiction won several awards before her death in December 1996, and is supported by John Gleed, in memory of his late wife.

For more about Jack Wang, check out our interview with him where he discusses his philosophy around teaching creative writing and his advice for aspiring and emerging writers. 

Buy the Book

We Two Alone

A masterful collection of stories that dramatizes the Chinese diaspora across the globe over the past hundred years, We Two Alone is Jack Wang’s astonishing debut work of fiction.

Set on five continents and spanning nearly a century, We Two Alone traces the long arc and evolution of the Chinese immigrant experience. A young laundry boy risks his life to play organized hockey in Canada in the 1920s. A Canadian couple gets caught in the outbreak of violence in Shanghai during the Second Sino-Japanese War. The consul general of China attempts to save lives following Kristallnacht in Vienna. A family aspires to buy a home in South Africa, during the rise of apartheid. An actor in New York struggles to keep his career alive while yearning to reconcile with his estranged wife.

From the vulnerable and disenfranchised to the educated and elite, the characters in this extraordinary collection embody the diversity of the diaspora at key moments in history and in contemporary times. Jack Wang has crafted deeply affecting stories that not only subvert expectations but contend with mortality and delicately draw out the intimacies and failings of love.