MFA Grads, Students Pen Winning Fiction

April 05, 2012 - Campus Bulletin

Several University of Guelph graduates and students have received recognition for their writing recently.

Nancy Jo Cullen, a graduate of U of G’s master of fine arts (MFA) program in creative writing, has received the 2011-2012 Metcalf-Rooke Award for fiction, sponsored by publisher Biblioasis.

Judges John Metcalf and Leon Rooke said they were “gladdened to find an author whose depiction of working-class family life was both unsentimental and tender. We were also struck by the clarity with which the idiosyncrasies of her characters emerge. Her portraits of gay culture are dazzlingly understated, her dialogue is superb and her knack for comic detail is a delight.”

Previously a winner of the Dayne Ogilvie Award from the Writers’ Trust of Canada, Cullen has written three poetry collections and has published stories in literary journals such as Grain Magazine.

Her new story collection, Canary, will be published by Biblioasis.

Grace O’Connell, another MFA graduate, has been selected as a 2012 New Face of Fiction by editors at Knopf/Random House, which will publish her debut novel, Magnified World, in May.

Editors choose first novels for the program each year based on writing and storytelling qualities. They look for “writers who reveal something of Canadian life or of the human soul.”

U of G graduate Aga Maksimowska will publish her first novel, Giant, with Pedlar Press this summer. She recently published an essay in the Globe and Mail.

Kathy Friedman, a second-year MFA student, is among three finalists shortlisted for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, run by the Writers’ Trust.

Her work has appeared in Grain, Geist, Room and This Magazine, and in the anthology Brave New Play Rites (Anvil Press).

Alternately given for short fiction and poetry, this annual award recognizes a writer under age 35 who has neither published a book nor landed a book contract.

Established in 1994 by friends of Bronwen Wallace, the award is supported by the RBC Foundation through the RBC Emerging Artists Project. Wallace, a writer, poet and creative writing teacher, died in 1989.

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization supporting Canadian writers and writing through programs including literary awards, financial grants, workshops, scholarships and a writers’ retreat.

University of Guelph
50 Stone Road East
Guelph, Ontario, N1G 2W1