COCKTAIL wins the 27th Danuta Gleed Literary Award!

Today at 12 PM ET, Cocktail by Lisa Alward won the Writers’ Union of Canada 2023 Danuta Gleed Literary AwardCocktail was published in September 2023 by Biblioasis. You can read the full winner’s announcement here

The 2023 Danuta Gleed Literary Award jury members Danila Botha, paulo da costa, and Souvankham Thammavongsa on Cocktail:

“Lisa Alward’s Cocktail is skilful in its ability to capture the nuance and details of daily life in a way that is striking and deeply felt. With beautiful, precise descriptions and expert pacing, she effortlessly reveals tensions that feel both classic and utterly her own. Exploring the emotional and sexual tensions of couples and families in the Sixties and Seventies, these narratives bring the reader to the core of those unspoken moments, leaving us unsettled. The clarity of sound in Lisa Alward’s sentences—word after word after word—makes it impossible to turn your ear away. This is a quiet voice that booms.”

“Everyone at Biblioasis is very happy for Lisa,” says Dan Wells, owner and publisher of Biblioasis. “Cocktail is an exceptional collection, let alone debut; smart, savage, elegant, and hyper-focused, these stories exemplify what short fiction does best. It’s been wonderful and gratifying to see Lisa’s book continue to reach readers. We also want to thank the jury, who collectively knows more than a thing or two about the writing of excellent short fiction.”

This is the second Biblioasis book to win the Danuta Gleed Literary Award, Bad Things Happen by Kris Bertin won in 2016. This is the eighth Biblioasis book to be nominated for the award. 

 The Danuta Gleed Literary Award was created in 1998 as a celebration of the life of Danuta Gleed. The Danuta Gleed Literary Award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2023 in the English language. The Award consists of cash prizes for the three best first collections, with a first prize of $10,000 and two additional prizes of $1,000 each.

Grab a copy of Cocktail here!


Winner of the 2023 Danuta Gleed Literary Award • Longlisted for the 2024 Carol Shields Prize for Fiction • Winner of the New Brunswick 2023 Mrs. Dunster’s Award for Fiction • One of the Globe and Mail’s “Sixty-Two Books to Read This Fall” • Listed in CBC Books Fiction to Read in Fall 2023 • A Miramichi Reader Best Book of 2023 • A Tyee Best Book of 2023

A girl receives a bedtime visit from a drunken party guest, who will haunt her fantasies for years. A young mother discovers underneath the wallpaper a striking portrait that awakens inconvenient desires. A divorced man distracts himself from the mess he’s made by flirting with a stranger. These intimate, immersive stories explore life’s watershed moments, in which seemingly insignificant details—a pot of hyacinths, a freshly painted yellow wall—and the most chance of encounters come to exert a tidal pull. Set in the swinging sixties and each decade since, Cocktail reveals the schism between the lives we build up around us and our deepest hidden selves.

Credit: Maria Cardosa-Grant


Lisa Alward’s stories have won The Fiddlehead Prize and the Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award and have appeared in Best Canadian Stories as well as The Journey Prize Stories. Cocktail has been nominated for the 2024 Carol Shields Prize and won the 2023-24 New Brunswick Book Awards’ Mrs. Dunster’s Award for Fiction. She grew up in Halifax and worked for several years in literary publishing in Toronto before moving with her family to Vancouver and ultimately to Fredericton, where she lives with her husband, John.