Sept. 29, 2020
For Immediate Release
Brantford – Souvankham Thammavongsa, an instructor in the English program at Wilfrid Laurier University’s Brantford campus, has been chosen for the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist for her short story collection, How to Pronounce Knife.
How to Pronounce Knife is a collection of stories focused on characters struggling to make a living, including the daily lives – both humorous and tragic – of immigrants. Thammavongsa highlights the hopes, endeavours and hardships of unforgettable characters caught between cultures, languages and values.
“I feel the work I made is seen and am happy for it,” said Thammavongsa. “Bravo to everyone on the longlist, and also to everyone who published a book this year.”
While How to Pronounce Knife is Thammavongsa’s first work of fiction, she is also the author of four poetry books, Cluster (2019), Light (2013), Found (2007) and Small Arguments (2003). Her short stories have won an O. Henry Award and appeared in Harper’s, The Paris Review, The Atlantic and Granta.
A panel of five judges chose the 14 titles on the Scotiabank Giller Prize longlist from a field of 118 books submitted by publishers all across Canada. The shortlist will be announced on Oct. 5 at 10 a.m. online at scotiabankgillerprize.ca/live.
This year, Thammavongsa is teaching “Intro to Creative Writing” and “Creative Writing: Short Story” for the English program at Laurier’s Brantford campus.
“Congratulations to Souvankham on her nomination,” said Ken Paradis, English program coordinator at Laurier’s Brantford campus. “She is widely recognized as one of Canada’s most dynamic and up-and-coming authors and we are happy that she is sharing her expertise with our students.”
The English program at Laurier’s Brantford campus also hosts the biennial Laurier Stedman Prize, which recognizes up-and-coming short-fiction writers in Brantford's local high schools and is part of Laurier’s effort to promote arts and culture in the local community.
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