for The Death of Donna Whalen
“Newfoundland’s Michael Winter is a fearlessly original writer. As a stylist and as a storyteller he has expanded our sense of how a story can be told, of what makes fiction work. In his two collections of short stories, a 'fictional memoir,' and two novels, he has established himself as one of his generation’s most sophisticated and innovative writers.
An exceptional craftsman, Winter has created a unique and highly influential voice in Canadian literature. His prose is lean and vividly evocative, a style that is equally suited to the wide range of his obsessions. Whether describing the roil of weather over the Narrows in St. John’s, or life in early 20th century New York, or the emotional wrestling match between lovers, his sentences are perfectly weighted, his images nuanced and precise, his dialogue razor sharp.
Like his prose, Winter’s stories are pared to their essentials. Elliptical and intriguing, they refuse to condescend or over-explain, offering subtle explorations of life’s biggest questions — of love and art and belonging, of sex and friendship and identity. Winter’s restless interrogation of those questions is fueled by a very adult sense of wonder. But the stories are shot through with enough good-natured irony and humour and anarchic violence that they never feel earnest or self-satisfied. His narrative alter egos are urbane, romantic, exuberant, skeptical, rowdy observers and the world we see through their eyes is completely absorbing.
Compulsively readable, crammed with uncommon wit and insight, Michael Winter’s fiction is among the best this country has to offer.”
— 2008 Writers’ Trust Engel/Findley Award Jury (Caroline Adderson, Michael Crummey, Diane Schoemperlen)
for This All Happened