Vancouver poet Elizabeth Bachinsky has been shortlisted for Canada’s premier literary award for her sophomore collection Home of Sudden Service
"I started to shake when I realized I was on the shortlist," said Bachinsky in an early-morning phone call from her home. "I don’t know how I am going to go to work and mark papers for the rest of the day. To be nominated for the Governor General’s award is an incredible honour, especially since I am sharing the shortlist with writers like John Pass and Sharon Thesen."
Bachinsky’s work has been described as "smart-ass" and "tough" by acclaimed poets Gary Geddes and Stan Dragland, but they also note her ability to portray her characters with tenderness and true technical prowess. Geddes writes that Bachinsky "…knows not only how to hot-wire and fine-tune a poem, but also how to provide just the right blend of sound, image, and torque to make it move."
Set in Anyvalley, North America, Home of Sudden Service centres on the experiences of young people growing up in the suburbs. The contrast of elegant poetic forms with the colloquial, often harsh, language of suburban teens makes for a startling and compelling collection of punk rock villanelles and delinquent sonnets. Murder, lust, teen pregnancy and a young man’s disappearance are all discussed with a matter-of-fact, dispassionate voice.
Elizabeth Bachinsky was born in Regina, Saskatchewan, and grew up in Prince George and Maple Ridge, BC. Her work has been published in numerous literary journals and she is also the author of a chapbook, Sometimes Boys Go Missing and Curio: Grotesques and Satires for the Media Age. Bachinsky received an honourable mention for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Poetry and was shortlisted for the 3-Day Novel Writing Contest in 2004. She received a scholarship to the Banff Writing Studio in 2005 and has an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia. She lives in Vancouver, BC.
The Canada Council for the Arts funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards, worth $15,000 each. A total of 68 books have been nominated for this year’s awards in English and in French, in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation. Winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 21 at 10am at simultaneous news conferences in Toronto and Montreal. Other finalists in the poetry category are: Ken Babstock, for Airstream Land Yacht,/i> (House of Anansi Press); Dionne Brand, for Inventory,/i> (McClelland & Stewart); John Pass, for Stumbling in the Bloom (Oolichan Books); and Sharon Thesen, for The Good Bacteria (House of Anansi Press).
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