The debut story collection by UVic Creative Writing graduate Sarah Roberts of Gibsons, Wax Boats (Caitlin 2009 $17.95) won the $10,000 Danuta Gleed Award for the best first English-language collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2009. Judges Ivan E. Coyote, Mary Soderstrom, and David Bezmozgis said "Roberts exhibits tremendous versatility, writing movingly and convincingly in every conceivable voice--of the men and women, girls and boys, natives and whites who inhabit her fictional Smokecrest Island. There are stories here of loss and renewal, of strange adventures, and of acts of profound kindness. The prose is clear and evocative and flawless. Roberts is a truly gifted storyteller and Wax Boats is a mature and ambitious work of literature. It is a Sunshine Sketches of a Little Town for the modern age.";

Wax Boats mainly concerns the action within a rural island community on the West Coast. Roberts has acknowledged her teachers Jack Hodgins, Pat Lane and Andreas Schroeder, as well as editors and friends Nadine Petersen and Patricia Wolfe, with significant nod of appreciation to the Hammond family, "the finest clan of writers/heroes/artists I have ever known." Her Sunshine Coast stories of rough-hewn characters are within the local tradition of Dick Hammond's oral narratives and the television hijinks of The Beachcombers.


[BCBW 2010] "Fiction"