Jaspreet Singh, author of My Mother, My Translator(Vehicule Press), received The 2022 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Presented annually at The Calgary Awards, this award honours acclaimed Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell and is carried out through a partnership between The City of Calgary and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. The Prize awards $5000 to a winning author who resides in Calgary.
Jaspreet Singh is the author of the novels Chef, Helium, and Face; the story collection Seventeen Tomatoes; the poetry collection November; and most recently, the memoir My Mother, My Translator. His essays have appeared in Granta, Brick, The New York Times. His work has been published internationally and has been translated into several languages. He lives in Calgary.
In the words of this year’s jury, “Jaspreet Singh’s My Mother, My Translator confronts the paradoxes and ethical dilemmas of memoir and translation head-on, circling back, again and again, to ask what it means to tell one’s own story, to ask whether ‘one’s own story’ is one’s own to tell. Singh struggles with these abstractions in spare, concrete prose, invoking houses, landscapes, and beloved foods in his exploration of his family’s history—a history which intersects, inescapably, with the history of India, the history of literature, and the history of human imposition on the rest of the so-called natural world. What does it mean to be a writer at once able to ‘read’ these histories and to question their authorship? While Singh refuses an easy answer, his fearlessness and grace in asking the question make this book a profound pleasure.”
Also on the shortlist were Julie Sedivy for Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self (Harvard University Press), and Neil Surkan for Unbecoming (McGill-Queen’s University Press).
Calgary Book Prize Winner in the News