Michelle Good, author of Five Little Indians (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd/Harper Perennial) is the winner of the 45th annual Amazon Canada First Novel Award which celebrates first-time Canadian novelists. Good, a resident of Savona, British Columbia, received a cash prize of $60,000.
Set in the 1960’s, Five Little Indians chronicles the criss-crossing lives of residential-school survivors struggling to overcome the trauma they endured during their years at the school. Taken from their families when they were very young and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie, and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. Alone and without any skills, support, or family, the teens find their way to the seedy and foreign world of Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside neighbourhood, where they cling together, striving to find a place of safety and belonging in a world that doesn’t want them. The paths of the five friends intertwine over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the school.
Now in its fourth year, the Youth Short Story category celebrates authors between the ages of thirteen and seventeen who have written a short story under 3,000 words. Seventeen-year-old Rama Altaleb was chosen as the winner by the First Novel Award’s panel of judges. The prize for her winning short story, “Lost Childhood,” is $5,000, a virtual mentorship workshop with editors of The Walrus and her story will be published on thewalrus.ca later this year.
The finalists for the 2021 Amazon Canada First Novel Award, listed alphabetically by each author’s last name, are:
Butter Honey Pig Bread, Francesca Ekwuyasi (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Five Little Indians, Michelle Good (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd / Harper Perennial)
Happy Hour, Marlowe Granados (Flying Books)
You are Eating an Orange. You are Naked., Sheung-King (Book*hug Press)
Gutter Child, Jael Richardson (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd / Harper Avenue)
Vanishing Monuments, John Elizabeth Stintzi (Arsenal Pulp Press)