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WGA & The City of Calgary Present: The W.O. Mitchell Book Prize Finalists on Wednesday, April 17


Wednesday, April 17th, 2019 | 7:00—9:00 p.m.
Shelf Life Books at 1302 4 St SW, Calgary
Seating: first-come, first-served
Please RSVP via Facebook HERE

The City of Calgary and the Writers’ Guild of Alberta are pleased to announce the shortlisted authors for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize, one of 13 awards presented as part of The Calgary Awards.

The three finalists are Marcello Di Cintio for Pay No Heed to the Rockets (Goose Lane Editions), Larissa Lai for The Tiger Flu (Arsenal Pulp Press) and David Martin for Tar Swan (NeWest Press).

The City of Calgary established the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize in honour of the late Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell to recognize literary achievement by Calgary authors. The $5,000 prize is awarded each year for an outstanding book published in the award year. The recipient of The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize will be recognized at the Calgary Awards on Wednesday, June 12, 2019. The Calgary Awards will be live streamed on

More About the Nominated Authors & Books 

In Pay No Heed to the Rockets: Palestine in the Present Tense, Marcello Di Cintio takes us on a journey of the Palestinian experience as seen through the lens of poets, authors, librarians, and booksellers. At the seventieth anniversary of the Arab-Israeli War, Di Cintio explores the region and visits Palestine’s literary community to see how they make sense of the conflict between a rich imaginative life and the daily tedium of violence and survival. The reader is led to understand that while one’s political and social environment can shape the human experience, a life can never be fully defined by the context in which it is lived. This book is not one more book about Palestine, this is a book that changes our perception of Palestine.

The Tiger Flu by Larissa Lai is a saga of two women heroes, a cyberpunk thriller, and a convention-breaking cautionary tale. A community of parthenogenic women are sent into exile by patriarchal and corporate Salt Water City. Peristrophe, a “starfish,” regenerates her own limbs and organs to help her ailing clone sisters. When a Salt Water City denizen with a mysterious flu comes into their midst, Peristrophe becomes infected and dies. Kirilow, Peristrophe’s lover, travels to the city, where the flu is now a pandemic, to find a new starfish to help save her sisters. Kirilow meets Kora, who has everything Kirilow needs…except the will to abandon her own family. Before Kirilow can convince her, both are kidnapped by a mysterious group of men to serve as test subjects for a new technology.

David Martin’s Tar Swan is a multi-voiced reckoning that surveys the mythos of the Alberta oil sands with an approach that is both lyrical and experimental. The poems feature four voices: an oil sands developer, his plant mechanic, an archaeologist excavating the remains of the operation in the present day, and a mythical swan. Martin’s debut collection is comprised of expansive and richly written poems, built on a lore-laden language, which explore the human and environmental cost of drawing too much from the land. As the three humans come into contact with the otherworldly swan, the voices bubble and churn together, and what is distilled is a psychological breakdown paralleling the toll taken on the earth.

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