I've been reading The Journey Prize Stories for years (there are 23 volumes and ten of them are now on my shelf). The collection is the place to catch a glimpse of what Canada's emerging writers are up to, and for a student of short stories like me, it was also a textbook in story construction. Someday, I wanted to be good enough to have a story in those pages.
In spring 2011, I heard that my story "Petitions to Saint Chronic" would be in that year's anthology. The jury was comprised of three of those authors whose work and careers I had been following, partly through previous volumes of the anthology: Sarah Selecky, Alison Pick and Alexander MacLeod. Thanks to all of them for finding something in my story that was worthy of attention, and awarding it The Journey Prize.
Awards night was about as much fun as you can have as a writer (no they don't tell you ahead of time and yes I was surprised): new people excited about discovering your work, friends cheering you on, proud husband, new red dress. And just to emphasize the fairytale aspect of the whole thing, Shelagh Rogers (host of the event and of The Next Chapter on CBC Radio) told me that if her fabulous red shoes fit me, they were mine.
Guess what? They did.