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Ashley Little is completing an MFA at UBC Okanagan's campus. (Photo Credit: Ashley Little)
An author from UBC Okanagan is on the longlist for a prize against some of the world's biggest names in literature.
Ashley Little, an MFA student at UBC's Okanagan campus, has been named on the longlist for the 2015 International IMPAC DUBLIN Literary Award, one of the world's largest literary prizes for a work of fiction in English. She is one of nine Canadian authors nominated for this €100,000 (or CAD $140,000) prize in a prestigious list that includes Margaret Atwood and Joseph Boyden, who wrote last year's Canada Reads Winner, The Orenda.
Other prominent authors on the list include the 2014 Man Booker Prize winner Richard Flanagan, 2014 Pulitzer Prize for Fiction winner Donna Tartt, and 2013 National Book Award winner James McBride.
Little says she was “overjoyed” to see her book, Anatomy of a Girl Gang, on the list of nominations. “It's just incredible. I could hardly believe it when I saw the longlist last night. It's really exciting and a really big moment in my writing career.” When asked whom she was most excited to be on the list with, given all the prestigious authors, her answer was pretty prompt. “Atwood and Boyden, obviously. They're the two biggest names in Canada right now.”
Little's book, published by Arsenal Pulp Press, has enjoyed great success. (Photo Credit: Ashley Little)
This nomination marks an important point in Little's career. “Up to a certain point, a lot of people in my life that were close to me, like my family, partner, and friends, were thinking that I was foolish for pursuing writing and thinking, when is she going to give it up and get a real job?” said Little. “I think something like this means that I've reach a tipping point where now it would be more foolish to stop writing and get a 'real job'. It's a real marker.”
Anatomy of a Girl Gang is Little's third novel. Not only has it been nominated for this prestigious prize, but it also won the Ethel Wilson Prize for Fiction at the BC Book Awards, was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award, sold translation rights in Italy, and was optioned for television.
Make sure to check out Little's book, which tells the story of five girls who have been cast outside of society into Vancouver's Downtown Eastside. For more information on Anatomy of a Girl Gang, click here.