Writers’ Trust Names Alex Leslie Winner of Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers
Prize to be presented at Gardiner Museum during Pride Toronto
Toronto, ON – June 8, 2015 – The Writers’ Trust of Canada has announced that Alex Leslie is the winner of the 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBT Emerging Writers. Two additional honours of distinction went to Casey Plett and Vivek Shraya.
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. The winner will be celebrated at an event hosted in collaboration with the Gardiner Museum, DOORS at 6 pm, on Friday, June 26.
Alex Leslie is the author of the short story collection People Who Disappear, which was nominated for the 2013 Lambda Award for Debut Fiction and a 2013 ReLit Award, as well as a collection of prose poems, The things I heard about you, which was shortlisted for the 2014 Robert Kroestch Award for Innovative Poetry. Leslie has edited issues of Poetry Is Dead magazine (2012) and The Incongruous Quarterly (2012). She lives in Vancouver.
A jury composed of writers Nancy Jo Cullen, Brett Josef Grubisic, and Anand Mahadevan selected the winner. Their jury citation states:
With assured debuts in two genres, Alex Leslie melds remarkable acuity of vision and a refreshing eagerness for formal experimentation. She’s a writer’s writer and an accomplished teller of tales. People Who Disappear, her artfully gritty and uplifting story collection, presents fresh and nuanced portraits of West Coast living far from the affluence and rhythms of the city. In The things I heard about you’s enticing prose poems, Leslie displays a tremendous gift for compassion that’s equal to a talent for technique.
The two writers selected to receive honours of distinction, Casey Plett and Vivek Shraya, will each be awarded $250 in prize money.
Casey Plett’s debut collection of short stories, A Safe Girl To Love, was published in 2014. A trans woman, she wrote a column on transitioning for McSweeney’s Internet Tendency and contributed to the Topside Press anthology The Collection: Short Fiction from the Transgender Vanguard. Her work has been featured in The Walrus, Plenitude, Two Serious Ladies, Anomalous Press, and other publications. She is lives in Winnipeg.
Vivek Shraya is a Toronto-based musician, filmmaker, and writer. His body of work includes ten albums, four short films, and three books. His debut novel, She of the Mountains, was named one of the Globe and Mail’s Best Books of 2014. A three-time Lambda Literary Award finalist, Vivek was the recipient of the 2014 Steinert & Ferreiro Award for leadership in Toronto’s LGBTQ community and a finalist for the 2015 Toronto Arts Foundation Emerging Artist Award.
“The Dayne Ogilvie Prize provides emerging writers with encouragement from their peers at an important moment in their burgeoning careers,” said Mary Osborne, executive director of the Writers’ Trust. “This recognition provides a boost that we hope will inspire them to keep writing, and help establish them as being writers to watch.”
About the Event
The 2015 Dayne Ogilvie Prize winner and honour of distinction recipients will be celebrated during Pride Week in Toronto on Friday, June 26. The writers will give readings at DOORS at 6 pm, a series hosted by the Gardiner Museum to spotlight emerging artists working in diverse disciplines. Attendees can enjoy a beverage and food truck snacks on an outdoor plaza following the readings. DOORS at 6 pm will run from June 26 – July 24.
About the Prize
Established in 2007 and funded by an endowment established by artist Robin Pacific, the Dayne Ogilvie Prize annually rewards emerging writers whose body of work demonstrates great potential. Canadian writers who identify as gay, lesbian, bisexual, or transgender, and who have published at least one book are eligible. Although the grant has no age restriction, it is intended to reward developing writers. Past winners include Michael V. Smith, Zoe Whittall, and Amber Dawn.
About Dayne Ogilvie
Dayne Ogilvie was a highly respected freelance book editor, writer, and literary manager. A passionate lover of all the arts, he was the managing editor of Xtra magazine for several years.
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, 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.
For more information and interview opportunities, contact:
Becky Toyne, 416-871-0502