Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction

2012 Winner

The University of Victoria, on behalf of The Malahat Review, is pleased to announce that this year’s recipient of the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction is Daniel Karasik of Toronto, Ontario, for his short story “Witness,” which appeared in The Malahat Review’s Fall 2011 issue (176). Karasik’s story was chosen for this prestigious award by Jeanette Lynes.

Established in honour of the celebrated Victoria novelist’s contribution to Canadian letters and to the University of Victoria, the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction recognizes the excellence of The Malahat Review’s contributors by awarding a prize of $1000 to the author of the best short story or novella to have appeared in the magazine during the previous calendar year. The winner, selected by an outside judge, is announced prior to the publication of The Malahat Review’s Spring issue.

Of Karasik’s story, Lynes says, “Daniel Karasik’s 'Witness' explores, with haunting eloquence, various states of isolation, the basic human need for communication, and the value of art in the face of violence.  Driven by recursive rhythm and refrain – the narrator’s obsessive, incantatory worry that he ‘might never publish a novel’ – and front-loaded with flashbacks, Karasik steers us through the lonely spaces of suburbia to a weird, almost Kafka-esque world of incarceration, all focalized through the self-deprecating, compassionate voice and poetic (and yes, somewhat geeky in a good way) soul of his first-person narrator. So much of the time Karasik’s protagonist spends alone with no one to talk to – except a strange dog – yet despite its manic isolation the story remains three-dimensional. A story of longing in a world peopled with thugs. ‘Witness,’ with its poetic reverberations, will stick with me for a long time.”

Daniel Karasik

Daniel Karasik is the author of The Crossing Guard and In Full Light (Playwrights Canada Press), a volume of plays. His poetry is featured in the recent Cormorant Books anthology Undercurrents: New Voices in Canadian Poetry, and has appeared in such journals as The Malahat Review, Contemporary Verse 2, Queen's Quarterly, and The New Quarterly. Cormorant also plans to publish his first poetry collection in 2013. His first novel, the manuscript of which received the 2011 Alta Lind Cook Prize and Norma Epstein National Literary Award, is on ice while he polishes his second. He lives in Toronto, where he runs a little theatre company, Tango Co., and where, this April, those who like plays can catch the Canadian homecoming of his play The Innocents, which has been running in repertory in Mainz, Germany since September, 2011. 

Jeanette Lynes

Jeanette Lynes' sixth collection of poetry is forthcoming from Wolsak and Wynn in 2012. She is also the author of one novel, The Factory Voice, long-listed for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and a Re-Lit Award, and is at work on a second novel. Jeanette is the Coordinator of the MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan.

Jack Hodgins was born in Comox on Vancouver Island in 1938, and raised in the logging community of Merville. After graduating from the University of British Columbia, he moved to Nanaimo, where he taught high school English until 1979. He has been a writer-in-residence at Simon Fraser University and the University of Ottawa, and taught fiction in the Department of Writing, University of Victoria, from 1983 to 2004. His first collection of stories, Spit Delaney’s Island (1976) established him as a presence in Canadian writing, bringing his distinctive perspective on Vancouver Island to readers in book after book. His third, The Resurrection of Joseph Bourne (1979), won the Governor General’s Award for Fiction in 1980. His other books include The Honorary Patron (1987), Innocent Cities (1990), A Passion for Narrative: A Guide for Writing Fiction (1993), The Macken Charm (1995), Broken Ground (1998), and Damage Done By the Storm (2004). He is a recipient of the Eaton’s BC Book Award, the Gibson’s First Novel Award, the Commonwealth Literature Prize, the Canada-Australia Prize, the Terasen Lifetime Achievement Award, and the Lieutenant Governor’s Award for Literary Excellence.

photo of Jack Hodgins

photo by Darren Stone/
Victoria Times-Colonist

For more information about the Jack Hodgins Founders’ Award for Fiction and how you may support it through a donation, please email The Malahat Review.

Read an interview with Daniel Karasik.

Previous Jack Hodgins Founders' Award Winners