Pan Lit Games: Golf

July 16, 2015

We credit the sport of golf with a lot: wearing multiple, differing prints at once; our first summer jobs shilling drinks to thirsty golfers; and driving in tiny cars instead of walking. We’ll also give it the hole-in-one, a thing that almost never happens in real golf (we think?) but nonetheless symbolizes doing something amazing on your first try. Give us a mulligan on our deplorable golf knowledge and check out these incredible collections of short fiction that have all been recognized by awards – regional, national, and international – for some hole-in-one storytelling.

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We credit the sport of golf with a lot: wearing multiple, differing prints at once; our first summer jobs shilling drinks to thirsty golfers; and driving in tiny cars instead of walking. We’ll also give it the hole-in-one, a thing that almost never happens in real golf (we think?) but nonetheless symbolizes doing something amazing on your first try. Give us a mulligan on our deplorable golf knowledge and check out these incredible collections of short fiction that have all been recognized by awards – regional, national, and international – for some hole-in-one storytelling.

First to tee up is Nicholas Ruddock’s How Loveta Got Her Baby (Breakwater Books). With author Ruddock nominated for the prestigious Journey Prize for short stories (for the similarly titled “How Eunice Got Her Baby”, this debut collection hits a clear drive right to the green with tales of love despite imperfection, inexperience, and impatience. From scavenging gone awry, to inherited parenthood, to superpowers, Loveta soars.

whatyouneed

Also by a Journey Prize nominated author, Andrew Forbes’ What You Need (Invisible Publishing) chips dramatically towards the green from the sandtrap, much as the characters within this collection struggle to escape the things keeping them trapped in ordinariness. Though their situations can be bleaker than a thunderstorm at tee-time, these stories – about love versus loyalty, nuclear arms, children literally climbing the walls – are full of humour and humanity alike.

Expected to make a huge break for the green is Ava Homa’s Echoes from the Other Land (Mawenzi House/TSAR Publications). Homa’s stories detail the oppression of women in Iran as it affects their everyday lives: the abuse of an unemployed spouse, how disability and divorce can each plague their chance to love, and the constant pull between traditional mores and modern realities. The collection has achieved world notice in both golf and literary criticism – it was nominated for the 2011 Frank O’Connor International Short Story Prize.

strays

Speeding around the course in a golf cart only to park and make a spectacular swing is Ed Kavanagh’s Strays (Killick Press/Creative Book Publishing). Similarly drifting in their respective situations, the suite of characters in Strays yearn to belong: whether they’re Newfoundlander expats in a big city, or a child growing up amidst the Great Depression. While they still seek acceptance, Strays itself is already comfortable among the cadre of green blazer-wearing literary greats in Eastern Canada: it was short-listed for the 2014 Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award.

Kate Cayley’s How You Were Born (Pedlar Press) may be a quiet tap for the 18th hole, but it sinks just as loud. Winner of the 2015 Trillium Book Award (beating out Margaret 3-wood, er, Atwood), How You Were Born examines, in sparse, elegant language, the fantastical in the everyday. From the runaway imaginations of children to finding love amidst horror, each story in this collection strikes a dark chord but never succumbs, instead finding the light in even the bleakest of places.

As in golf you’re really competing against your own best score, they’re all winners in our books. Be sure to check out our other Pan Lit games events, here.


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