Wednesday 2 February 2011

Beverly Akerman's The Meaning of Children released by Exile Editions

My first book, The Meaning of Children, has just been released by Exile Editions! This award-winning collection is available through my publisher, or and will be in stores soon!

A version of the manuscript won the 2010 David Adams Richards Prize from the Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick. Judge JoAnne Soper-Cook said the work shows

a keen, incisive vision into the hidden world of children as well as intimate knowledge of the secret spaces that exist between the everyday events of life. There is knowledge here, knowledge of those important, life defining moments of puberty, the birth of a sibling, an encounter with a possibly dangerous stranger. Overall, a work with a brilliant sense of story.

Individual stories have also won or placed in contests, including the Sheldon Currie Prize and Best New Writing 2011 (Editor's Choice Award). Here’s a sampling of the feedback received from editors and judges on individual stories:

“Emotional and tightly written.” David Bright, Gemini Magazine;

“Solid and very funny. Great stuff!” Karl Jirgens, Rampike;

“Oh, it's lovely. I like it when my body responds to writing; right now there's an ache in my throat.” Susan Rendell, EarLit Shorts;

“The judges liked…the resistance to the happy ending, and the idea that there is often something or someone waiting for the small mistake.” The Writers’ Union of Canada, 2007 Short Prose Competition Jury

“I love the mystery and the fear in this story—the ending works so well.” Colleen Donfield, The Sun;

“...beautifully unbearable...” Nancy Zafris, Flannery O'Connor Awards.

These fourteen stories approach the world’s complexities through a child’s eyes (‘Beginning’), grapple with the sorrows and ecstasies of the child-bearing years (‘Middle’), and probe truths that confer a child-like clarity near the end of life’s journey (‘End’). A girl discovers a fear of heights as her parents’ marriage unravels; a thirty-something venture fund manager frets over his daughter’s paternity; an orphan whose hands kill whatever they touch is accused of homophobia; a mother of two can only bear to consider abortion in the second person; the wife of a retirement-aged professor finds him unconscious near his computer…The Meaning of Children speaks to all of us who—though aware the world can be a very dark place—can’t help but long for redemption.

About me:

After over two decades in molecular genetics research, I realized I'd been learning more and more about less and less. Skittish at the prospect of knowing everything about nothing, I turned, for solace, to writing. Recent accolades include nominations for the Pushcart Prize (fiction and nonfiction) and National Magazine Awards. Credits include The Antigonish Review, Best New Writing 2011, The Binnacle, BluePrintReview, carte blanche,, Cliterature, The Dalhousie Review, Descant, EarLit Shorts, Exile Quarterly, Fictionaut, Fog City Review, Grain,, The Nashwaak Review, The New Quarterly, On the Premises, Rampike, Red Wheelbarrow, Rio Grande Review, r.kv.r.y quarterly, The Vocabula Review, Windsor Review, myriad other lay publications and learned journals. It pleases me strangely to believe I'm the only Canadian fiction writer ever to have sequenced her own DNA.

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire (Harry Potter, #4)

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