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The 21st Hamilton Literary Awards: The Fiction Shortlist
Stephen Near

From a compelling story of two souls experiencing a spiritual crisis and an awakening, to a recounting of memories both peaceful and passionate, to a heart-warming journey from hardship to hope, the titles in our 2014 Hamilton Arts Council fiction shortlist offer a diversity of voices and approaches that make them unique and engaging .

Amanda Leduc’s debut novel, The Miracles of Ordinary Men, is the story of two unlikely dreamers: Sam, a man who wakes up to find himself growing wings, and Lilah, a woman who has lost her brother to the streets of Vancouver. The novel, with its two separate yet connected storylines, is both enchanting and visceral in its exploration of spirituality through the lens of magic realism. Leduc isn't afraid to ask big questions about the existence of God and divine Providence and, in the end, challenges readers to wonder what is righteous and what is sinful... and whether it even matters.

Nightswimming by Janet Turpin Myers is another engaging debut novel that harnesses the sights and sounds of the Muskokas, the momentous events of the Apollo 11 moon landings, and the stirring passions of first love. Beautiful yet funny, Myers explores the major turning points of the 60s and how these events affect us in our consciousness and our memories. In language that is lyrical and moving, Myers takes readers to places they know like the back of their hand and then flips the hand over to read the map of its lines.

Much like the protagonist in her book The Manager, Caroline Stellings' book packs a powerful wallop and is not to be underestimated. Whip-quick narrative and dynamic characters combine with a twisting road-trip that leads readers into the boxing ring for a charming adventure that will have both young and adult readers cheering. Short and powerful, Stellings book surprises readers with characters who are heroic and flawed, a conclusion of unexpected revelations, and a journey that touches the heart.

Coming Next: The Kerry Schooley Award Shortlist