Acclaimed writer Casey Plett wins $60K First Novel Award for 'Little Fish'

TORONTO — Casey Plett has won the Amazon Canada First Novel Award for "Little Fish," her book about a trans woman's exploration of her past and future.

The Windsor, Ont.-based writer was awarded the $60,000 honour at a ceremony in Toronto on Wednesday night.

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"Little Fish," published by Arsenal Pulp Press, centres on a trans woman in Winnipeg who sets out to understand her late Mennonite grandfather's gender identity.

Plett, who served on the jury for the 2017 First Novel Award, won the Lambda Literary Award for transgender fiction in 2015 for her short-story collection, "A Safe Girl to Love."

Plett beat out five other debut novelists for the prize, which is co-presented by Amazon and the Walrus Foundation.

The other finalists, who will each receive $6,000, were:

- "The Amateurs" by Liz Harmer (Knopf Canada)

- "Searching for Terry Punchout" by Tyler Hellard (Invisible Publishing)

- "Split Tooth" by Tanya Tagaq (Viking Canada)

- "Jonny Appleseed" by Joshua Whitehead (Arsenal Pulp Press)

- "Reproduction" by Ian Williams (Random House Canada)

This year's winner was selected by a panel of judges composed of writers Diane Schoemperlen, Dimitri Nasrallah and Doretta Lau.

Established in 1976, previous winners of the First Novel Award include Michael Ondaatje, W.P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, David Bezmozgis, Andre Alexis and Madeleine Thien.

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