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Magnificent Short Fiction

Book Cover Chasing Zebras

Award-winning author Wayne Grady writes, “As a geneticist, Margaret Nowaczyk has seen ‘the enduring misery of the human condition.' But as a writer, she has turned that misery into pure art. Chasing Zebras is a brilliant testimony to the healing power of words.”

You can enter to win a copy of Nowaczyk's memoir now!

And, unsurprisingly for someone who's crafted such a compelling narrative from her own life experiences, Margaret Nowaczyk is a reader with an eye for story. In the following fabulous reading list, she recommends some of her favourite short fiction collections.


Ever since Ursula LeGuin’s “Mazes” broke my heart forty years ago, I have admired short story writers. There is nothing more devastating, more poignant than a short story that packs an emotional wallop in four pages. I love how it leaves me wanting more, how it leaves me thinking about it for days, weeks, some for years.

After years of writing and reading innumerable short stories, I am left with seven published stories and twice as many in various stage of undress. No collection to my name. Which is why I especially admire writers who not only write great short stories but who also produce complete and cohesive collections.

Here are a few that stoked my admiration by subject matt …

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Fighting For a Hand to Hold: An Anti-Colonial Reading List

The QWF Literary Awards celebrate the best books and plays by English-language writers, playwrights, and translators in Quebec, as well as those translating English works from Quebec into French. Each award comes with a purse of $3,000.

For more information about the Awards and to see Giller Prize-winning author Sean Michaels announce all the finalists, check out the Gala page on our website.

Fighting for a Hand to Hold won The Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-Fiction and The Concordia University First Book Prize at the 2021 Awards Gala.

Learn more about the book at


Fighting for a Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism against Indigenous Children in Canada (foreword by Cindy Blackstock, afterword by Katsi’tsakwas Ellen Gabriel) uses the #aHand2Hold campaign as a case study of contemporary medical colonialism in Quebec, and demonstrates that inequalities in health care follow fault lines of societal injustices.

The campaign confronted Évacuations aéromédicales du Québec (ÉVAQ), the provincially run medical evacuation airlift service, and its long-standing practice of separating Indigenous children from their families in northern Quebec. The book also contextualizes this now-defunct practice by exposing the Canadian medic …

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Lucie Wilk on Love, Art and Science: the Perfect Triad?

Book Cover The Strength of Bone

Lucie Wilk's first novel is The Strength of Bone. She writes: "Once you start looking, there are quite a few of us out there, doctors who seek the quiet contemplations of creative writing—Vincent Lam, Liam Duncan, Daniel Kalla, Siddhartha Mukherjee, and Abraham Verghese come to mind. It sounds like too extreme a dichotomy, or at the very least, that there simply would not be enough time in the day, especially when you throw motherhood into the mix. But if I take a moment to think about it, I become aware that these three facets of my life have informed and improved one another, and despite the fatigue and the coffee habit, I wouldn’t have had it any other way."


Medical care has become very regimented over the last couple of decades. The relatively recent practice of evidence-based medicine has forced a system of guidelines and protocols. There is less and less room for creativity in the provision of health care. 

It might be the writer in me, but I feel a void in this system. An individual patient is just that—an individual. Each patient comes with a unique story. But it is my job to smooth over the uniqueness of patients and find the similarities in their stories, to determine how they match each other in symptoms or signs. It is pattern recognition. T …

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