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ARTS (FALL 2017): Swimming the English Channel

October 12th, 2017 · No Comments

Former Gleaner writer publishes novel

Former Gleaner writer Gillian Best has published her debut novel.

The Last Wave (House of Anansi Press) tells the story of Martha, a woman who has swum the English Channel ten times. As she navigates complex relationships with husband, children, and close friends, the sea remains the one constant in Martha’s life.

“As she navigates complex relationships with husband, children, and close friends, the sea remains the one constant in Martha’s life.”

Kathleen Winter, who wrote Annabel, praises The Last Wave for its “quiet, intense examination of a woman fleeing British familial agony for the sea’s thrilling embrace”. Tanis Rideout, who wrote Above all Things, says that it “shows us that in life, as in swimming the channel, we aren’t defined by one decision, but rather the decisions we must make over and over again with each stroke”.

Best, herself a swimmer and seaside enthusiast, was chosen by CBC Books as one of 17 Writers to Watch in 2017. She was shortlisted for Wasafiri’s New Writing Prize (2015), long-listed for the Write-Idea Short Story Prize (2014), and shortlisted for the Bridport Prize International Creative Writing Competition (short story, 2013).

In 2003, she won the Bronwen Wallace Award for Short Fiction for “Seamus & Lloyd”, which we serialized and published in three parts from January to March 2014. It was illustrated by our editorial cartoonist, Brett Lamb. At the time, Best was a regular contributor to the Gleaner, writing book reviews for our Spine Finds column.

Originally from Waterloo, Best lives in Bristol in the United Kingdom.

She studied her Masters in Professional Writing in Falmouth, and later received her PhD in Creative Writing and English Literature from the University of Glasgow.

—Annemarie Brissenden

 

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