Hamish Hamilton Canada acquires debut novel and short story collection by MAN Booker Prize Scholarship winner D.W. Wilson
Penguin Canada is thrilled to announce the acquisition of two books by MAN Booker Prize Scholarship winner D.W. Wilson. Once You Break a Knuckle, a breathtaking collection of short stories, was acquired in a competitive bid by Penguin Canada Senior Editor Nick Garrison for publication in fall 2011. The collection was acquired as part of a two-book deal from agent Karolina Sutton at Curtis Brown UK. Once You Break a Knuckle will be followed up by a novel, Ballistics – a family saga set during the British Columbia wildfires of 2003.
Set in the remote Kootenay Valley in western Canada, Once You Break a Knuckle tells stories of good people doing bad things: two bullied adolescents sabotage a rope swing, resulting in another boy's death; a heartbroken young man refuses to warn his best friend about an approaching car; sons challenge fathers and break taboos. The stories interconnect, so that events and characters appear in different capacities throughout. Wilson's muscular prose and precision are reminiscent of Raymond Carver, and his empathy for flawed, deeply human characters is reminiscent of Richard Ford. These characters, startlingly real on the page, come as a wonderful surprise, bearing in mind that the author is only twenty-five. Read a short excerpt here from "The Elasticity of Bone".
D.W.(Dave) Wilson was born and raised in the small towns of the Kootenay Valley, British Columbia, where his father, a corporal of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police, was stationed for thirteen years. He is a former judoka, former electrician, and former independent filmmaker, and is now a PhD candidate in Creative and Critical Writing at the University of East Anglia, in Norwich, UK, where he completed his MA. Before that, he graduated with honours in philosophy and creative writing from the University of Victoria, having studied under the guidance of Lorna Jackson, Bill Gaston, and Tim Lilburn. After the Malahat Review published his first story in 2008, he was invited to join their fiction editorial board, at the age of twenty-three. In his final year at the University of Victoria, he held the position of Head Fiction Editor for the writing department's undergraduate journal, This Side of West. His literary influences include Richard Ford, John Irving, and Tim Winton.
D.W. Wilson currently lives in London and is the recipient of the University of East Anglia's inaugural MAN Booker Prize Scholarship – the most prestigious award available to students in the MA program – as well as the Dean's Postgraduate Studentship. Previously, he received two senior-level funding awards from the British Columbia Arts Council and numerous fiction awards from the University of Victoria's writing department. His stories have appeared, or are forthcoming, in literary magazines in Canada, Ireland, and the United Kingdom, including the Malahat Review, PRISM, and Southword. In 2008 Wilson won the silver award for fiction at the Canadian National Magazine Awards. His story "Big Bitchin' Cow" took third place in the Sean O'Faolain Short Story Contest.
"Pursuing David's books was about the easiest publishing decision I've ever been called upon to make," says Garrison. "Within a few pages I could see that David can do it all, and seemingly effortlessly. The stories are emotionally raw, but totally controlled. The characters have a jagged individuality, but always seem vulnerable. And the whole thing crackles with the kind of anticipation that comes before a thunderstorm. I shared the manuscript with people in every department here at Penguin, and the response I got was always the same: we have to get this book."
D.W. Wilson will be published by Hamish Hamilton Canada, Penguin Canada's prestige imprint for literary fiction, launched in 2009 with the publication of Colin McAdam's Fall and Kim Echlin's The Disappeared, both finalists for the 2009 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Hamish Hamilton Canada publishes such luminaries as Ali Smith, Joseph Boyden, Zadie Smith, Philip Roth, Roberto Bolaño, Miguel Syjuco, Michael Winter (2010 Writers' Trust Fiction finalist), and Andrea Levy (2010 Booker Prize finalist).