Gary Barwin’s YIDDISH FOR PIRATES wins Hamilton Literary Award for fiction

Congratulations to Gary Barwin whose novel YIDDISH FOR PIRATES has won the Hamilton Literary Award for fiction!

YIDDISH FOR PIRATES is a brilliant novel filled with Jewish takes on classic pirate tales – fights, prison escapes, and exploits on the high seas – but it’s also a tender love story. Rich with puns, colourful language, post-colonial satire and Kabbalistic hijinks, YIDDISH FOR PIRATES is also a compelling examination of mortality, memory, identity and persecution, from one of this country’s most talented writers.

This singular novel is the winner of the 2017 Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour, and was shortlisted for both the Governor General’s Literary Award for fiction and the Scotiabank Giller Prize.

We’re happy to be celebrating yet another achievement for Gary Barwin! For more information about this year’s winners, please visit:

Deal News: Harold Johnson’s new memoir/fiction/thought experiment/fantasy

A memoir/fiction/thought experiment/fantasy by Harold Johnson, author of the bestselling nonfiction work and GG finalist FIREWATER, about his brother Clifford, a scientist in the making whose life was cut too short — To Sarah MacLachlan and Janie Yoon at House of Anansi Press for Fall 2018 (World).

Deal arranged by Stephanie Sinclair.

Deal News: Radiant Shimmering Light by Sarah Selecky

Giller Prize shortlisted author Sarah Selecky‘s debut novel RADIANT SHIMMERING LIGHT is a nuanced satire that probes the blurred lines between empowerment, spirituality, and consumerism in our online lives. Both hilarious and disconcerting, RADIANT SHIMMERING LIGHT follows Lilian Quick, a 40-year-old struggling pet portrait artist whose life changes drastically when she starts working for her motivational guru cousin Eleven Novak. The job helps Lilian improve her finances, connect with her inner feminine power, and publicly confront a love affair gone wrong, which explodes her online following. Lilian is indebted to Eleven for all her success… But is Eleven really looking out for Lilian’s best interests? Sold to Lea Beresford of Bloomsbury US and Jennifer Lambert of HarperCollins for publication in 2018 by Samantha Haywood of the Transatlantic Agency. Contact for film/tv and world ex: North America:

SHOOTER by Caroline Pignat wins 2017 John Spray Mystery Award

Congratulations to Caroline Pignat whose novel SHOOTER (Razorbill Canada) is the winner of the 2017 John Spray Mystery Award! This annual award recognizes excellence in the mystery genre. The winning book must be of high literary quality and written by a Canadian.

SHOOTER is “The Breakfast Club meets We Need to Talk About Kevin“. Told in five unique voices through prose, poetry, text messages, journals and homework assignments, things take a twist when Isabelle gets a text that changes everything: NOT A DRILL!! Shooter in the school! And one of them knows more about the shooter than they realized…

From the Jury:

“Pignat tells an incredible story through the eyes of five very different characters who have to face a situation no one could ever be prepared for…The entire story takes place over the course of one nail-biting hour, and a countdown timer at the beginning of each chapter ramps up the tension…The gripping storyline makes this impossible to put down.”


Squawk Publishes with Playwrights Canada Press!

Happy Book Birthday to Megan Gail Coles on the publication of her book SQUAWK, which has just been released by Playwrights Canada Press!

From the Publisher: “This daring new play from Newfoundland playwright Megan Gail Coles showcases a bold and refreshing approach to theatre for young audiences. Coles deftly interweaves Canada’s colonial history with online gaming as our Indigenous protagonist struggles to understand and reconcile her past, present and future.

Annie Runningbird doesn’t have time for the games boys want her to play. She’s aging out of foster care on her next birthday. The system has decided she is an adult, so Annie must make adult decisions. Where will she live? How will she make money? Demanding grown-up choices preoccupy the young girl’s mind as she navigates relationships with boys and men in her company. Does she like Isaac, a cute yet naive boy she met at the mall food court? Can she trust Louis, her older and increasingly overbearing foster care worker? Who can Annie depend on in her ever-shifting world? This intel is important. Because Annie needs to win the very real game she’s playing. She must save herself to save the day.”

Rights Sold: World English, Playwrights Canada Press Ltd.

Welcome Frances Peck!

We’re delighted to be welcoming Frances Peck to the Transatlantic team today!

Frances is a Vancouver-based writer, teacher, and speaker about the finer points of language. She’s the author of the collection Peck’s English Pointers, a co-author of the popular HyperGrammar website, and an essayist and blogger whose work has appeared in The Editors’ Weekly, West Coast Editor, Language Update, and Geist. Frances wrote fiction and poetry until her early twenties, when she stopped (ironically) to become a professional writer. Now she’s rediscovering the magic of making things up. THE BROKEN PLACES is her first novel.
Frances is represented by Stephanie Sinclair.

Diane Schoemperlen, Sharon Bala and Carol Off recognized at 2017 Writers’ Trust Awards

Congratulations to all of our authors who were recognized at last night’s Writers’ Trust of Canada Awards ceremony, one of Canada’s most prestigious literary honours.
Diane Schoemperlen won the Matt Cohen Award, which recognizes a lifetime of distinguished work by a Canadian writer.
From the jury – “Through her 33 years as a writer, Diane has definitely lived the writer’s life. In the process, she has dissected not only genres but words themselves, penetrating the arcane elements of language as a means of getting at what is fundamental to the human heart.”
Sharon Bala took home the Journey Prize for her short story “Butter Tea at Starbucks” originally published in The New Quarterly: Canadian Writers & Writing.
From the jury – “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.”
And Carol Off was one of five finalists for the Hilary Weston Prize for Nonfiction.
From the jury – “The book is an insightful contemplation of journalism’s mission, and its impact on the lives of the people who dare to speak out in the name of truth.”
The awards were a wonderful opportunity to celebrate all of your accomplished works!

Sharon Bala Wins the Journey Prize!

Congratulations to Sharon Bala, who has won the 2017 Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, for her story “Butter Tea at Starbucks” (first published in The New Quarterly: Canadian Writers & Writing)!

From the Jury: “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.”

The Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize is awarded annually to an emerging writer of distinction for a short story originally published in a Canadian literary magazine. Previous winners of The Journey Prize include Yann Martel, Alissa York, Jessica Grant, YasukoThanh, Timothy Taylor and Miranda Hill. The prize holds a $10,000 prize for the winner, and $1,000 for the finalist. $2,000 goes to the the journal that originally published the winning story. 

Sharon’s highly anticipated debut novel, THE BOAT PEOPLE, is forthcoming from McClleland & Stewart Canada and Doubleday US in January 2018.

For full information about the award, please visit:

HEAVY FREIGHT by Sigmund Brouwer publishes with Orca Book Publishers!

Happiest of book birthdays to Sigmund Brouwer whose book HEAVY FREIGHT publishes today with Orca Book Publishers!

This high-interest/low vocabulary novel follows Maxwell Stone, a fifteen-year-old who has been surviving and thriving in the tough part of West Vancouver by being smart and fast. But when a drug deal goes wrong, Max suddenly finds himself on the run from both the bad guys and the cops. Desperate to escape, Max impulsively decides to hop on a moving freight train. His first attempt to climb aboard fails, but at the last second a hand reaches down and pulls him in. Joseph has been riding the rails for years, and his tales inspire Max to take a journey to the last place he ever expected to go.

Resource Links Magazine says, “The East Hastings neighbourhood and the rolling geography of Canada are outstanding settings, so well done despite the short length of this novel for struggling readers. Dialogue is casual and colloquial, easily understood by the intended reader. Themes of survival, poverty and honesty will appeal to all middle school readers.”

Pick up your copy today:

The Boat People Pre-Order Promotion

We’re delighted to share that you can now pre-order Sharon Bala‘s highly anticipated debut novel, THE BOAT PEOPLE! The novel officially publishes with Doubleday US and McClelland & Stewart Canada on January 9, 2018. THE BOAT PEOPLE will be exported internationally in March 2018. On her website, Sharon shares some fascinating details about the wonderful designs of each cover:

For readers of Khaled Hosseini and Chris Cleave, THE BOAT PEOPLE is an extraordinary novel about a group of refugees who survive a perilous ocean voyage only to face the threat of deportation amid accusations of terrorism.

When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his sixyear-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are terrorists now posing a threat to Canada’s national security.

Visit the following links to preorder!:

Sharon Bala’s short fiction has won three Newfoundland and Labrador Arts & Letters Awards and been published, or is forthcoming, in: GrainPRISM internationalThe New Quarterly, RoomRiddle Fence, and in a collection called Racket. Two of Sharon’s short stories, “Reading Week” and “Butter Tea at Starbucks”, were longlisted for the 2017 Journey Prize with the latter continuing to the shortlist as well. THE BOAT PEOPLE is her debut novel.

Pre-publication Praise for THE BOAT PEOPLE

“This earnest debut novel forcefully explores the issues surrounding immigration…deeply moving and nuanced, The Boat People asks what price a country is willing to pay when public safety comes at the cost of human lives.”

“A real ship of refugees inspires a novel about the messy consequences of war Memorable…Chilling…”
-Kirkus Reviews

The Boat People will – and should… – linger long in the mind as an almost Graham-Greene-esque thriller about Canada’s Sri Lankan Tamil diaspora. Homeric in her narrative arc, Bala’s novel is rhetorically purposive – but poetically, softly rhetorical…Bala is ahead by a century in the cricket score of politically powerful contemporary fiction.”
Atlantic Books Today

“The Boat People is a powerful, gripping moral drama told with deep compassion and humanity. Sharon Bala takes us behind the headlines about refugees and asylum seekers straight into the beating hearts of unforgettable human beings. A timely tale and a beautiful, remarkable debut.”
-Lynne Kutsukake, author of The Translation of Love

“This wise and compassionate novel is an intimate portrait of one of the great humanitarian crises of our time. Its power lies in its breadth, for it examines not just those who come to our country seeking refuge, but also those who determine their fate. As such it implicates us all in the ongoing crisis.”
-Shyam Selvadurai, author of The Hungry Ghosts and Funny Boy

The Boat People is a beautifully crafted story with a big heart. This novel has an urgency and relevance that cuts to the bone and will resonate with readers of all stripes. Bala offers no easy answers and no political posturing, but her magnificent storytelling will leave readers wondering about their own convictions, asking themselves, ‘What would I do? What would I have done?’ I love this book and, somehow, I empathized and understood every character’s motivation and heart, despite their seemingly opposing stances. The spirits of Bala’s complicated, well-developed characters will linger with you like ghosts; you will look for them in the newspaper, on the evening news, everywhere, and when you encounter them, you will pause and wonder, not only about them but about yourself.”
-Michel Stone, author of Border Child

The Boat People is a burning flare of a novel, at once incendiary and illuminating. With a rare combination of precision, empathy and insight, Sharon Bala has crafted an unflinching examination of what happens when the fundamental human need for safety collides with the cold calculus of bureaucracy. In the best tradition of fearless literature, it shatters our comfortable illusions about who we really are and reveals just how asymmetrical the privilege of belonging can be. This is a brilliant debut – a story that needs to be told, told beautifully.”
-Omar El Akkad, author of American War