A head and shoulders picture of a person.

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A mentor with Humber College’s Creative Writing graduate certificate program has been named winner of the 26th annual Danuta Gleed Literary Award.

Kim Fu is this year’s winner of the award and its $10,000 prize for her book Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century. The award recognizes the best first collection of short fiction by a Canadian author published in 2022 in the English language.

Jury members Cynthia Holz, Sally Ito, and Jack Wang said in a news release that “Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century presents a mesmerizing array of characters whose encounters with the world are alternately mythical and monstrous, technological and disturbing. There are surreal insect infestations, sea monsters, and winged youth — but also futuristic body printers, memory simulators, and time-altering cubes. Navigating these metaphorical and psychological worlds with dexterous turns of phrase and evocative prose, Kim Fu is masterful at telling stories that engage and astound the reader.”

The award was created as a celebration of the life of Danuta Gleed, a writer whose short fiction won several awards before her passing in 1996. Past winners include Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning author Ian Williams and Humber instructor David Bezmozgis.

Bezmozgis is creative director with the Humber School for Writers. After reading Fu’s novel The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, which he loved, he invited the author to be a mentor at Humber.

“Kim is a remarkable and versatile writer who is a terrific poet and wonderful novelist,” said Bezmozgis. “I’m really pleased to see Kim receiving this recognition.”

Awards are nothing new for Fu as her debut novel, For Today I Am a Boy, won the Edmund White Award for Debut Fiction and the Canadian Authors Association Emerging Writer Award. Her second novel, The Lost Girls of Camp Forevermore, was a finalist for the Washington State Book Awards and the Ontario Library Association Evergreen Award.

Lesser Known Monsters of the 21st Century won the 2023 Pacific Northwest Book Award and was a finalist for the 2022 Scotiabank Giller Prize. Fu’s writing has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic and Granta.

Humber’s mentors work one-to-one with students via a two-semester online intensive mentorship. Students in the program improve their writing skills by working through a book-length project with feedback and guidance from their mentor.