Local writer wins national fiction prize

Tara
Tara Bradbury
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Chad Pelley

Local writer Chad Pelley has been named the winner of the first Salon Fiction Prize.

Pelley won the $1,000 literary prize, presented by The Telegraph-Journal in New Brunswick, for his short story, “A Second Look at Nothing.”

His winning story was chosen from more than 100 stories submitted from across the country and judged by Giller Prize-shortlisted writer Alexander MacLeod, Halifax-based poet Sue Goyette, and Université de Moncton professor Thomas Hodd.

Pelley, who lives in St. John’s, is known for his first novel, “Away from Everywhere,” and his blog, Salty Ink. His second novel, “Every Little Thing” will be released next month.

Pelley — who is also a musician and photographer — has  won the first-, second- and third-place spots in the Cuffer Prize, presented for the past five years by The Telegram and Creative Book Publishing.

“A Second Look at Nothing,” Pelley said, is about a father looking for his 30-year-old son who’s gone missing.

“One of the twists is that the father may or may not be responsible for his son’s disappearance, and has no way of knowing for sure.

He went to his son for a terrible favour, but for a good reason: his family was in trouble and needed money,” Pelley said.

“My new thing when writing is to have characters make decisions that each reader will react to differently — was it right, wrong, is this a good person making poor choices, or does a good person not make bad choices, etcetera. Book club fodder, you know?

“Also, I pulled a pretty tricky plot twist in it that I was really questioning, but turns out, I guess I pulled it off. It was a challenge to weave it in there so readers wouldn’t feel ripped off by the ending.”

“A Second Look at Nothing” will be part of a collection of short stories Pelley is compiling called “Big Red Hearts,” about people longing for something they’ll never again have.

The Salon Fiction Prize accepts submissions of previously unpublished works of Canadian short fiction.

tbradbury@thetelegram.com

Twitter: @tara_bradbury

Organizations: The Telegraph-Journal, Université de Moncton

Geographic location: New Brunswick

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