Anakana Schofield wins First Novel Award

Last year at AWP we stumbled past the booth of Dan Wells’s smart and original Canada independent, Biblioasis, which had been recommended to us by those clever guys over at Dalkey. Dan described his operation and then pressed into our arms, with an ardent fire in his eyes, a copy of Anakana Schofield’s freshly minted book Malarky, saying it was one book that he felt truly confident was for the ages. I was hooked in a minute. Malarky has the verbal sophistication of the great modernists, but it is fully steeped in the passions and anxieties of contemporary life. Deep in its bones it bears what I would soon recognize as Schofield’s inevitable marker: honesty. She cannot seem to lift the pen without hearing the call of some buried truth, a truth coated over with shame and insecurity, which she will carefully puzzle into the light. I posted some of Malarky on our blog, and wrote to her asking for more, and she sent the story “Before Arbour Hill,” which we published as soon as we could. By happenstance she was in New York at that moment and showed up at our salon for Padgett Powell (evidence here). Though not large of stature, she was visible in a bright red dress and a great big personality. She immediately set about righting various listing ships in our small operation, befriending all, and then vanished back to mythic Vancouver.  No one who was there would soon forget her. 

We are thrilled and pretty surprised that a challenging, complex, and often uncomfortable (though, indeed, hilarious) book, and its singular and utterly deserving author, should be singled out this year to win the First Novel Prize. Brava, Anakana Schofield, and bravo, this time, Amazon!

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