Robert Gray, an English professor at the University of New Brunswick, won the top award at the 2016 East Coast Literary Awards in Halifax. Dr. Gray’s book Entropic was selected for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award valued at $25,000.
“I’m pretty sure this is what they reserve the word ‘gobsmacked’ for,” said Dr. Gray.
Entropic is a collection of short stories where the beautiful, the strange, and the surreal all meet – sometimes meshing harmoniously, sometimes colliding with terrible violence.
“Even before I won, the other writers and I felt so honoured by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia and the East Coast Literary Awards event,” Dr. Gray said. “Most of all, the Raddall family’s dedication to Thomas Raddall’s profound legacy left me humbled and inspired. This is such an honour.”
Two others from the English department at UNB Fredericton were also up for awards: Professor Mark Jarman for his book Knife Party at the Hotel Europa, inspired by his travels to Italy during the summer of 2008; Phillip Crymble, UNB PhD candidate in English, nominated for Not Even Laughter, a full-length collection of poems that draw from his own experiences.
The accolades come at a time when the university is launching a new PhD program in English focused on creative writing, the second of its kind in Canada and the only one east of Alberta.
Both Dr. Gray and Mr. Jarman teach in that program.