Specimen by Irina Kovalyova Shortlisted For The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize March 17 2016

Specimen by Irina Kovalyova

The West Coast Book Prize Society announced the finalists for the 2016 BC Book Prizes yesterday — and we’re thrilled that Specimen by Irina Kovalyova has been shortlisted for the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize!  The Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize is awarded to the author(s) of the best original work of literary fiction, and the author must have lived in B.C./Yukon for the past 12 months or have lived in B.C./Yukon for at least three of the past five years.

The stories in Specimen are a unique exploration of science and the human heart; the place where physical reality collides with our spiritual and emotional lives. Read our interview with Irina Kovalyova to learn more about the collection of stories included in Specimen, along with her early inspirations and influences.

The winner of the Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize will be announced on Saturday, April 30, 2016. Congrats on making the shortlist, Irina!


Specimen by Irina KovalyovaThe stories in Specimen are a unique exploration of science and the human heart; the place where physical reality collides with our spiritual and emotional lives.

In “The Blood Keeper,” a young academic travels to North Korea to work on her dissertation and embarks on a dangerous affair. In “Mamochka,” which was nominated for the 2012 Journey Prize, an archivist at the Institute for Physics in Minsk, must come to terms with her daughter’s marriage to a Chinese man in Vancouver. In “Peptide P,” scientists study a disease that seems to affect children after they eat hotdogs. In “Side Effects,” a woman’s personality is altered, and not necessarily for the better, by botox injections. In “The Big One,” a woman and her daughter find themselves trapped in the rubble of an underground parking garage after an earthquake.

Stylistically varied and with settings that range from North Korea and Minsk to Vancouver and Gdansk, Kovalyova is daring and confident new voice in Canadian fiction.