Susan Sanford Blades’ novel, Fake It So Real (Nightwood Editions, $21.95), has won a 2021 ReLit Award in the Novel category, a prestigious national award highlighting indie publishers that was conceived as an alternative to the Giller Prize or Governor General’s Awards.
Fake It So Real is a raw and honest novel that dredges up the pain and ecstasy of lives lived authentically. In 1983, Gwen meets Damian, the lead singer of a punk band. Gwen is feral and insults his band; Damian is beautiful and pours himself over his mic like Johnny Rotten. They fall in love—or something. After seven years and two accidental pregnancies, Damian abandons Gwen. Told from the perspectives of Gwen and her two daughters, Sara and Meg, this novel spans almost four decades—from Nancy Spungen to Courtney Love to Grimes. Alexander MacLeod writes, “This family, these girls and these women, their lives are not like the ones you read about in Alice Munro, but the art is the same: vital, honest and unafraid.”
Susan Sanford Blades lives in Victoria, BC, where she completed an MFA in creative writing at the University of Victoria. She has been published in the anthologies The Journey Prize Stories 32: The Best of Canada’s New Writers and Coming Attractions 16, and in literary magazines across Canada as well as in the US and Ireland, including Minola Review, Event, the moth, The Puritan, Numéro Cinq, The New Quarterly, Grain and Prairie Fire. She was longlisted for the 2020 Journey Prize—a prestigious award honouring Canada’s best short fiction—for her story “The Rest of Him,” which has become part of Fake It So Real.