Calgary writer disqualified from Journey Prize for story similarities | iNFOnews | Thompson-Okanagan's News Source

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Calgary writer disqualified from Journey Prize for story similarities

October 05, 2017 - 10:51 AM

TORONTO - Calgary writer Richard Kelly Kemick has apologized over concerns about similarities between his short story "The Most Human Part of You" and a piece by American author Amy Hempel.

Last month, Kemick's story was announced as a finalist for the $10,000 Writers' Trust/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize, which honours new and developing writers.

But it was later disqualified for what prize organizers called "serious concerns" about his story's similarities to Hempel's "The Dog of the Marriage."

In a posting on his website, Kemick says his story was inspired by his days as a dog walker in Vancouver, but he adds "the tone and structure was influenced by Hempel."

"I wrote the story three years ago and did not fully understand the implications of having modelled it off Hempel’s work," wrote Kemick.

"Given the author's resonance for me, I should have both acknowledged her influence and double-checked that my material did not overlap hers.

"I am deeply sorry for the situation in which I have put the Writer's Trust, McClelland and Stewart, the Journey Prize judges, the Journey-nominated writers, Amy Hempel, and Maisonneuve Magazine."

Kemick added that he's returned the fee he'd previously accepted from Maisonneuve for publishing his story, which will no longer appear in the annual "The Journey Prize Anthology."

"As I writer, I understand the weight of this matter and the degree of carelessness with which I wrote the story," he wrote. "I once again apologize to those affected."

Kemick's disqualification leaves two authors in the running for the Journey Prize.

Sharon Bala of St. John's, N.L., is nominated for "Butter Tea at Starbucks," published in The New Quarterly.

And Darlene Naponse of Naughton, Ont., is in contention for "She Is Water," published in The Malahat Review.

The winner will be announced Nov. 14 at the Writers' Trust Awards ceremony in Toronto.

Now in its 29th year, the prize is for a new and developing writer who wrote the best short story first published in a Canadian literary journal during the previous year.

Past winners include Yann Martel, Alissa York, Saleema Nawaz and Yasuko Thanh.

Jury members were writers Kevin Hardcastle, Grace O'Connell and Ayelet Tsabari.

News from © The Canadian Press, 2017
The Canadian Press

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