for Land Mammals and Sea Creatures
"Jen Neale’s Land Mammals and Sea Creatures is a novel which nimbly follows a zig-zagging shoreline between the magic and the real, the beautiful and the vile, the quietly unassuming, and bang-out crazy. What begins with a beached whale dying on a remote B.C. beach spirals into a story of fish guts and human frailties, of intractable war wounds and uncanny animal suicides, of fathers and daughters, and PTSD and the legacies of depression. First-time novelist Neale has managed something truly original: a salty tale of port-town dysfunction and universal pain, written with such abundant beauty and stickily visceral imagery, it corrals every sense. This is a novel to be read not just with the head, but the whole body."
— 2018 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize Jury (Ann Y.K. Choi, Mireille Silcoff, Robert Wiersema)
for Elk-Headed Man
“‘Elk-Headed Man’ has it all: pure imaginative power, sharp humour, emotional honesty and real insight. Throw in a hard-to-resist main character – he’s the strong silent type – and add a few flourishes of raw writerly style and you get a finely crafted story that re-plants the hot seed of Latin American magic realism into the cold heart of the Canadian wilderness.” — 2012 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award Jury (Alexander MacLeod, Johanna Skibsrud, and Madeleine Thien)