16 Aug

David Huebert, recipient of the 2022 Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction

David Huebert is the 2022 recipient of the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction for Chemical Valley, a collection published by Biblioasis in October 2021. Chemical Valley was also a finalist for the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award.

David is a writer and educator from Halifax, NS with a PhD from Western University. Over the years, his work has won several esteemed awards, including the CBC Short Story Prize and The Walrus Poetry Prize. His first work of fiction, Peninsula Sinking, received the Jim Connors Dartmouth Book Award––now the Robbie Robertson Dartmouth Book Award (Fiction)––and was shortlisted for the Alistair MacLeod Prize for Short Fiction.

From refinery operators to long term care nurses, dishwashers to preppers to hockey enforcers, Chemical Valley’s compassionate and carefully wrought stories cultivate rich emotional worlds in and through the dankness of our bio-chemical animacy. Full-hearted, laced throughout with bruised optimism and sincere appreciation of the profound beauty of our wilted, wheezing world, Chemical Valley doesn’t shy away from urgent modern questions—the distribution of toxicity, environmental racism, the place of technoculture in this ecological spasm—but grounds these anxieties in the vivid and often humorous intricacies of its characters’ lives. Swamp-wrought and heartfelt, these stories run wild with vital energy, tilt and teeter into crazed and delirious loves.

Here’s what the jurors had to say about Chemical Valley:

“In this courageous collection David Huebert holds little back as he weaves superbly crafted stories of the dark, difficult, and gritty reality of being human. Whether it be the destructive impact we have on our environment, each other, or ourselves, Huebert tackles this challenge with intelligence and compassion, both in his language and style and in the empathy with which he portrays the human experience. The intertwining of ugliness and beauty, metallic cold and human warmth, and destruction and hope, creates a visceral, hopeful, and rewarding experience for the reader.”

Photography by Nicola Davis.