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School of Continuing Studies | University of Toronto

Shortlist Announced for the 2013 Marina Nemat Award for Creative Writing

The Final Projects of four Creative Writing Certificate students have been shortlisted for the 2013 Marina Nemat Award for Creative Writing.

Thanks in part to the generosity of writer and Creative Writing Certificate Graduate, Marina Nemat, the School of continuing Studies offers this cash award to its most promising Creative Writing Certificate students. The writer of the most outstanding Final Project, as chosen by an esteemed panel of Canadian publishing professionals, will receive a $1000 prize.

This year’s jury is comprised of Nicole Winstanley, Publisher of Penguin, Canada, Sarah MacLachlan, Publisher of Anansi, and Phyllis Bruce, Senior Editor, Simon and Schuster, Canada.

The $1000 prize will be presented at the Creative Writing Graduation on Thursday June 20th.

The shortlist for the 2013 Marina Nemat Award is below, along with excerpts of the pieces in consideration:


Michael Armstrong – “No Wake” (short fiction) – Read one of the short stories in the collection.

Michael’s collection of short stories is an attempt to understand the form of the short story as character study. He wrote in a simple and straightforward way about characters that make bad decisions or are withdrawn in some way from their lives

Michael Armstrong works as an attendant for persons with disabilities in Toronto, but spends most of his time writing, drawing comics, making short films, doing freelance videography work, and producing a website and podcast dedicated to movies so bad they’re good.


Mary Jane Grant – “Too Soon” (Memoir)

Born in the suburbs of Toronto in 1955, Mary Jane Grant’s life was idyllic until, in a few short days in the fall of 1962, when it all changed. Her mother died suddenly from a brain aneurysm. Her father spiralled quickly down and remarried on the rebound in under a year. Her stepmother was not prepared for the role of wife and mother. Together, the two of them embarked on a destructive path, and Mary Jane and her siblings were caught in the wake. Her manuscript is a memoir of those years, and ends in 1967 with one final event that changed them for good.

Mary Jane has gone on to earn a business degree from the University of Western Ontario, start a consulting and communications company, get married and have a son.


Sue Kanhai – “Redemption Sequence” (Poetry) – Read three poems.

The poems in this collection explore landscape, memory, relationships, and language — and the boundaries and limitations of each.

Sue Kanhai is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared in newspapers, magazines, and books. Sue has a degree in French from the University of Toronto. Two of the poems from her final project appeared in the anthology Desperately Seeking Susans, edited by Sarah Yi-Mei Tsiang and published by Oolichan Books. She is currently working on her first book-length manuscript.


Denise Tarud – “When the Whale Sings” (Novel) – Read and excerpt from the novel.

WHEN THE WHALE SINGS is a story of contrasts, that takes place in an isolated village in Upper Egypt, at the edge of the Nile River. Anwar is a young boy growing in a very sheltered environment, where traditions and a close-knit society rule the lives of everyone, surrounded by myths, gossip and beliefs. The story follows Anwar’s journey as he goes on to experience life in a metropolis only to return to the village 20 years later a changed man.

Denise was born and raised in Santiago, Chile, into a multi-cultural and multi-lingual family, in which she quickly discovered the importance of languages and communications. Before coming to Canada in 2004 she worked as a translator and editor for corporate magazines. She currently lives in Toronto with her three daughters, where she runs a successful translation business and teaches translation at the School of Continuing Studies