A couple of weeks ago, 49th Shelf asked the country's top reviewers (from The Globe and Mail, Quill and Quire, The National Post, and CBC Books) to pick their "Surprise Books of the Year." Shockingly, amazingly, unbelievably, miraculously, one of them picked Keep it Beautiful. The lovely Steven Beattie, editor of Quill and Quire and National Post columnist had this to say about the book:
"Ward’s story 'The Night Shift' won the Lush Triumphant Award for Fiction; her debut collection is a suite of stories about outsiders and loners trying to negotiate ambivalent relationships with an antagonistic world. The author’s deft facility with character and her willingness to trust her readers by infusing her stories with just the right degree of contingency mark her as an author to watch."
The element of surprise is mutual. Every late fall I read all manner of “books of the year” lists such as this one in order to bulk up my Christmas wish list with books I may have missed through out the year. To see my name appear on such a list is a bit surreal. In a year full of firsts, this is kind of a biggie. Check out the full article here, or on my News & Events page.