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Tyler Keevil has been shortlisted for a major Canadian National short story award, the Writers’ Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize.

The award recognizes new and developing writers for the best short story first published in a Canadian literary journal during the previous year. The three finalists were announced by jurors Steven W. Beattie and Craig Davidson, and Tyler is joined on the shortlist by Lori McNulty and Clea Young.

In Tyler’s shortlisted story ‘Sealskin’, a terrible act of cruelty forces the tensions between two workers at a fish processing plant to spill out into the surrounding waters. ‘Sealskin’ was first published by The New Orphic Review and will be part of the 2014 edition of The Journey Prize Stories, a collection of the 13 stories that formed the longlist. The story is also included in Tyler’s recent short fiction collection Burrard Inlet (Parthian, 2014). All of the stories from the collection have been previously placed – appearing in various international magazines and anthologies, including Cottonwood, The Lampeter Review, and Rarebit, and have also received several awards, most notably the Cinnamon Press Short Story Prize in 2013.


“There is a transatlantic tradition of studying the interaction between men and nature, in such figures as Hemingway, Carver, McGuane; now Keevil extends and enriches that lineage. He truly is that good.” Niall Griffiths

Originally from Vancouver, Tyler Keevil first came to the UK in 1999 to study English at Lancaster University. He now lectures in Creative Writing at the University of Gloucestershire. His debut novel Fireball was published by Parthian Books in 2010, and was longlisted for Wales Book of the Year, shortlisted for the Guardian Not the Booker prize, and received the Media Wales People's Prize 2011. Second novel, The Drive, was published by Myriad Editions in August 2013. The book was shortlisted for the Wales Book of the Year 2014 and also won the People’s Prize.

The Journey prize will be presented on November 4th at the Writers’ Trust Awards event in Toronto’s Glenn Gould Studio. The prize is made possible by James A. Michener’s donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his 1988 novel Journey and each of the three finalists will receive $1,000, with the eventual prizewinner receiving a total of $10,000, and the journal that originally published the winning entry receiving $2,000.


Tom Anderson rides The Actaeon Tide.

Political cartoonist Mumph, a regular contributor to the Independent, The Times and the Western Mail and creator of upside down children's books, has kindly tweeted an alternative cover for Leighton Andrew's new book Ministering to Education.

But is it an apt likeness? You'll have to come along to one of Leighton's forthcoming talks to decide for yourself.

From Monday 29th September, Leighton will begin a series of talks at several Welsh universities that aim to promote debate in education and offer the inside story on several key decisions and reforms made during his time as Education Minister (2009–2013).

The lectures are held in tandem with publication of the book – the first by a former Welsh Government Minister since the creation of the National Assembly in 1999 – and will consider, following Michael Gove’s departure as Westminster Education Secretary, whether Wales or England has fared better.

Twice named Welsh Politician of the Year during his time as Education Minister (2009–2013), Leighton has been described as “irresponsible and mistaken” by Michael Gove and “the best Education Minister in the UK” by Alistair Campbell.

From the failure to follow through on Richard Daugherty’s report after SATs were abolished to the decision to re-grade exam results when English Language GCSE exams came under fire in 2012 (with information on Ofqual’s comments on Wales, never before made public), the free lectures will consider the effect such decisions have had in setting the education systems of England and Wales on diverging paths, and comment on the complex challenges that still lie ahead to make the Welsh education system as good as any in the world. And there will be time for questions...

Swansea University, Monday 29th September: reception 6pm, Wallace Building foyer, talk from 6.30pm in Wallace Lecture Theatre

Cardiff University, Wednesday 8th October: drinks reception 5.45pm, talk begins at 6.30pm, committee room 1, Glamorgan Building (on campus) 

Bangor University, Thursday 2nd October​, talk 6.30pm,​ Main Arts Lecture Theatre in the Main University Building

Aberystwyth University, Thursday 16th October, 6.30pm talk, Department International Politics Hall

More on Mumph here!

Author's Notes: In the arms of Mother Russia

M.A. Oliver-Semenov’s book Sunbathing in Siberia: A Marriage between East and West reads more like a Cold War spy novel than an autobiography... Here's a snippet from his Author's Notes article on Wales Online:

I thought I had left the developed world to live in a militarised country. Over the past few weeks it seemed the opposite might be true. Jokes aside, though I could understand people’s frustrations at the temporary inconveniences caused by the NATO summit, I was slightly alarmed by the pictures of protesters flying communist flags.

The Scrapbook is a novel about memory, and its unreliability.

And although it was a long time coming for Carly Holmes, she doesn’t intend to stop writing now...

From Friday, 26th September, Soho Theatre’s I Kiss Your Heart will dramatise the love letters of Dylan Thomas, to his American mistress Pearl Kazin, as collected, and published for the first time ever, in the new book by Jeff Towns, A Pearl of Great Price (Parthian, 2014).

In 1950 Dylan embarked on an intense year-long love affair with Pearl. Their love was documented in a collection of passionate letters sent to Pearl from around the world. Only half of their conversation exists, so the other half is created in this unique night of love, letters, poems and songs, at the Crazy Coqs at Brasserie Zédel.

Directed by Steve Marmion, Artistic Director of Soho Theatre, I Kiss Your Heart features American cabaret star Amelia Zirin-Brown (Lady Rizo) as Pearl, and Welsh, RSC stalwart Tim Treloar as Dylan, joined by a jazz trio. The music is composed in a collaboration between Yair Evnine and Greg Harradine (Soho Theatre’s composer in Residence).