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Sharon Bala lives in St. John’s, where she is a member of The Port Authority writing group. In 2017, two of her short stories were included in The Journey Prize Stories 29, and her story “Butter Tea at Starbucks” went on to win the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. Her debut novel, The Boat People, was a #1 national bestseller and was a finalist for CBC’s Canada Reads and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. For more about her writing, visit

Award History

2017 Winner

Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize
for Butter Tea at Starbucks

Jury Citation

“Sharon Bala’s ‘Butter Tea at Starbucks’ burns as bright and fierce as the unnamed, immolated martyr whose image provides its thematic backbone. Following two Toronto sisters from a Tibetan background, the story explores the conflict between Tibet and China through the lens of a new baby, an interracial marriage, and an office rivalry. Tense and expertly plotted, the story is also packed with rich, sensory detail. This is writing that wades, unafraid, into complexity and controversy, but which is nuanced enough to wrangle finely drawn, utterly human characters to moments of aching vulnerability, confused pain, and unexpected joy. Bala takes big risks and reaps big rewards in this unforgettable story.” — 2017 Journey Prize Jury (Kevin Hardcastle, Grace O’Connell, and Ayelet Tsabari)

Works recognized by WT

Butter Tea at Starbucks