This has been discoverable information for a little while on the internet, if you were to google the Journey Prize Stories 29, but today I’m posting to tell folks about being a juror for JPS 29, along with past Journey Prizer, and novelist, Grace O’Connell, and award winning author, Ayelet Tsabari.
We were all three asked to be jurors earlier this year by McClelland & Stewart/Penguin House editor Anita Chong, who I’ve known since I had a story in the Journey Prize Stories 24, back in 2012. Grace also had a story in JPS 24, and does not remember sitting across from me at the Writers’ Trust Gala, at the “fun table” of emerging authors, what with my large, unbearded fatbabyhead. It was the first real literary event I went to in Toronto since moving back from the prairies in 2010. And, it is a very strange first event to be at when you know nobody so I drank all the wines and woke up with my shoes outside my apartment…
So yes, it is kind of a full-circle story, and I was honoured to be a part of the process. Selecting the dozen or so stories in the JPS involved a lot of reading and an eventual fightclub at PRH headquarters. No matter, we figured out the book and the finalists and winner, and I got some meat for lunch. All in all, it was a good time.
Anyways, I have to thank all of the McClelland & Stewart people, especially Anita, for their work on the JP, this year and every year. And, I must also thank, in equal measure, the fine humans of the Writers’ Trust of Canada, who have tolerated my behaviour at fancy events for five years now, including two failed Journey Prize campaigns, and a number of other bad personal showings at their events. That means Mandy Hopkins, Katrina Afonso, James Davies, Joe Goulart, and many more. The WT folks administer the prize, give up the monies for it, and make sure that JP authors feel like they are part of the literary community, and welcome at the weird CanLit parties.
They also sometimes get mad at you for submitting a headshot that is a 2009 MacBook photo of 400kb that they have to put on a twenty foot projector screen somehow, and then, out of frustration, they (Katrina) take your author photos on the fly for the next five years. So that is nice…
Oh, there he is.
The authors and stories that are included in JPS 29 will be revealed one by one over the summer, with the finalists named after that. The anthology is officially out in late September, and the winner will be given their monies and hardware at the Writers’ Trust Awards in November. Probably, I will be at that, and that will complete the Hardcastle JP experience, when I possibly get up on stage to hand the award over to one of the many better behaved and educated young writers in the anthology, if I’m allowed in the building by Hopkins.
Until then, thanks to my fellow jurors, and to everyone who is involved in the Journey Prize Stories from beginning to end, not least the writers who sweat blood for their stories, and the journals who published those stories and sent them in for consideration. Most of the best writers in Canada have come to us by way of the short story, and I think we’ve only seen the beginning of it yet.
That’s all for now. Take care and believe in your dreams…