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Random House Awards U of T

March 28, 2012

Our Two Prize Winners

Two members of our writing group, Anita Morris (left) and Shila Desai (centre) were recently awarded the Random House prize for creative writing.

Some members of our writing group were with Anita at the National Gallery in Ottawa when she received the text message that she had won. A few seconds later Shila phoned from Toronto with her good news. How was this possible? We were over the moon for them and celebrated with Margaritas and many clinks at the Chateau Laurier Hotel bar.

On a rainy evening in November, friends, family and proud faculty were guests of the University of Toronto’s School of Continuing Education for a celebratory cocktail party and reading. What a night it was! Wine flowed, authors were fêted and graciously accepted flowers, and everyone smiled for the cameras. The three prize-winning short stories were published as a chapbook and distributed to all the guests. The authors delighted in signing autographs.

Following cocktails, everyone was directed into an intimate auditorium to listen to the winners and runners up read excerpts from their stories. A hush fell over the audience as the readings began. Faculty members beamed when their students were presented.

Anita read her story “Nimbu Pani,” in which a married woman, whose infertility has led to a loss of intimacy in her marriage. The arrival of a new child in the neighborhood and the evolution of their relationship leads to a rapprochement with her husband.

Shila followed with her coming-of-age story, “Do Ya Think I’m…”, about an adolescent girl raised in Nairobi, visiting her relatives in London, England, for the first time. The girl’s growing comprehension of being the “other” is at the heart of this coming-of-age story.

The evening was an inspiration for the rest of our group and a reminder of the power of words to move the imagination. Bravo Anita and Shila! Read their entries here!


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