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Pemberton author Fawcett in running for 2016 Sunburst Award

National nomination for debut collection of short stories The Little Washer of Sorrows

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Pemberton author Katherine Fawcett is floating somewhere up in the clouds after receiving a major national award nomination.

Fawcett and her book of short stories, The Little Washer of Sorrows, has been shortlisted in the adult fiction category for the 2016 Sunburst Awards for Excellence in Canadian Literature.

Winner of the category takes home $1,000. Other nominees include Gemma Files (Experimental Film), Silvia Moreno-Garcia (Signal to Noise), Heather O'Neill (Daydreams of Angels) and Robert Charles Wilson (The Affinities).

Eleven other Canadian authors have been nominated in the Short Story and Young Adult Fiction categories.

The organizers of the Sunburst Award said of The Little Washer of Sorrows:"In her debut collection, Katherine Fawcett presents mythical and fantastical stories that will stick with you and leave you aching for more. Teeny mermaids, sirens, and unicorns meet the modern world with much awe, misunderstanding and rifle blasts. Fawcett's voice will make an impact on the Canadian scene."

Fawcett says she is primarily a short-story writer.

"I write fiction and non-fiction but right now I am mostly having fun with fiction," she says.

"I think you can access truth through the imagination if you go through the heart and mind. We can go to some juicy places that make us perhaps think of things we haven't thought about before, or look at the underside of things.

"I like to do that. I think it's fun."

She is a little shocked to have made the shortlist when fiction superstar Margaret Atwood missed the cut this time.

"Oh my God, I think there could be an investigation into that one!" she says.

"I can't believe it."

She says that while much of the writing in The Little Washer of Sorrows has been described as fantastical, this wasn't her original intention.

"After the book came out, there was a review on NPR (America's National Public Radio) that said I was a fantastical writer and I just thought it meant fantastic," she laughs.

"I'll take the compliment. It's a bit of surrealism, an attempt to blend an otherworldly life. Sure, some of my stories do that, but not all of them. Some are labelled as sci-fi."

The book has been out for just over a year; Fawcett says it took a while for it to "have legs."

"It has been well received by people who've read it, but it was a slow start. The award nomination is important because it keeps the book in people's heads. Otherwise it tends to slide because it's not new anymore," Fawcett says.

"Getting on the shortlist is important because I get the opportunity to talk about it more."

The winner will be announced on Sept. 14 in Toronto.

The Little Washer of Sorrows can be purchased at Armchair Books in Whistler Village and online at www.amazon.ca and at www.katherinefawcett.com.

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