Newest Guernica Prize winner to read at virtual Port Alberni event

Electric Mermaid: Live Readings scheduled for the third Friday of every month

Theresa Shea recently won the 2020 Guernica Prize for best literary fiction. (SUBMITTED PHOTO)

The new Guernica Prize winner and the contributors of a new anthology on aging will read at the next Electric Mermaid: Live Reads session.

The show will be held on Zoom from on Friday, Jan. 15 at 5:45 p.m.

The series welcomes national features, and plays host to a curated open mic with readers from all over North America. It is hosted by Derek Hanebury and moderated by Karl Korven, from its online home base at Port Alberni’s historic hostel, Char’s Landing.

Theresa Shea’s second novel, The Shade Tree, recently won the 2020 Guernica Prize for best literary fiction and will be published in fall of 2021 by Guernica Editions. It is an historical novel that deals with racial and sexual politics in the United States from 1910 through the civil rights movement of the 1960s, telling a compassionate story of racial discrimination in the US and the search for justice.

“We are thrilled to have the winner of the prestigious Guernica Prize reading with us,” said Electric Mermaid artistic director Jacqueline Carmichael in a press release. “Theresa is going to read to us from her prize-winning novel, which hasn’t even been published yet.”

A graduate of McGill, Queen’s, and the University of Alberta, Shea is currently working on The Dog Days of Planet Earth, a novel that examines animal rights and the climate crisis through the historical lens of the nuclear experiments conducted by the United States Government between 1945 and 1992. Her debut novel, The Unfinished Child, was a finalist for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award. Shea lives in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

A new anthology on aging will also take the spotlight on Friday. “Old Bones & Battered Bookends” (Repartee Press) was edited by Ian Cognito and Pat Smekal.

“Some wonderful writers who contributed to this book will be reading excerpts for us,” explained Carmichael. “It’s a wonderful book, and we’re delighted to have such a diverse and interesting group join us.”

The list of writers reading includes Michael Penny, Daniela Lorenzi, Kieran Egan, Christopher Levinson, Janice Lore, Laurie Smith, Anna Mioduchowska, Keith Garebian, Stephen T. Berg, Pat Smekal, Sheila Martindale, Anne Hopkinson, Fiona Lam, Daniel Scott, John B. Lee, Mary Lee Bragg and Andrew Brown.

Writers who would like to read their own work can sign up at for a spot of up to five minutes.

Attendees can go to and click on the link to the Electric Mermaid to go to the Zoom link for the event.

Alberni Valley News

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