Sarah Selecky, short story writer (b at Hanmer, ON, 17 Sept 1974). Raised in both Hanmer, Ontario and Evansville, Indiana, Sarah Selecky moved to Peterborough in 1993, where she attended TRENT UNIVERSITY and received a BA in Cultural Studies and Spanish. Following the completion of her bachelor's degree, Selecky earned an MFA in Creative Writing from the UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA and attended both the Humber School for Writers and the BANFF CENTRE's Wired Writing Program. As a lover of short stories, Selecky has made a mark on the Canadian literary scene both through her own thoughtful, tender and observant stories, and through her work as a teacher of creative writing.
With stories previously appearing in The Walrus, Geist, The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire and the JOURNEY PRIZE anthology, Selecky published her debut short story collection, This Cake is for the Party (2010) to critical acclaim. Focusing on stories of 20- and 30-somethings and their relationships, This Cake is for the Party chronicles the joys and heartbreaks of everyday life, with stories set in the various cities Selecky herself has lived, including Toronto, Victoria, Peterborough and Sudbury. The collection was a finalist for the SCOTIABANK GILLER PRIZE, shortlisted for the Commonwealth Prize for Best First Book from Canada and the Caribbean, and longlisted for the Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award.
The Scotiabank Giller Prize jury citation describes This Cake is for the Party as "dry and funny, exact and exacting ... a sharp analysis of contemporary surreality and the madness of modern homogeneity." Selecky's own reflections on her style and technique emphasize the importance of seeing our world as art, and insist that a writer must break through the monotony of our ordinary lives to reveal the stories hiding beneath the surface: "How we relate to people is an art form, and paying attention to those little details of how people talk to each other, and why people do what they do, and what they're really asking for when they ask for something... that's what I'm most interested in," says Selecky. "That is our world. Or, it's my world."
Selecky lives in Toronto, where she writes and teaches creative writing courses in person and virtually, through online media. With the mantra of "write what you want to read," Selecky has been teaching people how to write "mindfully" since 2001, when she ran her first workshop in her Victoria, BC living room.