Alumna Casey Plett '12 Wins $60K Amazon Canada First Novel Award for Debut 'Little Fish'

BY Zoe Contros Kearl, June 10, 2019

Fiction alumna Casey Plett ‘12 won the $60K Amazon Canada First Novel Award for Little Fish, published by Arsenal Pulp Press. Little Fish also won the 2019 Firecracker Award for Fiction. Plett is currently a finalist for the Writers' Trust of Canada's $5,000 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ emerging writers and Little Fish is shortlisted for the 2019 Lambda Literary Awards in the transgender fiction category.


Little Fish book cover


"I don't know what to say. This is an incredible honour," said Plett, accepting the prize to cheers and applause. "If you had told me four or five years ago that there would be this much reaction, gratitude, appreciation and love for this story about a young, poor, sex working transsexual in Winnipeg dealing with poverty, addiction and mental health... it's more than the world. It's more than I can begin to say."


In this debut novel, Wendy Reimer is a thirty-year-old trans woman who comes across evidence that her late grandfather—a devout Mennonite farmer—might have been transgender himself. Initially she dismisses this revelation, having other problems at hand, but as she and her friends struggle to cope with the challenges of their increasingly volatile lives—from alcoholism, to sex work, to suicide—Wendy is drawn to the lost pieces of her grandfather’s life, becoming determined to unravel the mystery of his truth. 


"I have never felt as seen, understood, or spoken to as I did when I read Little Fish. Never before in my life. Casey remains one of THE authors to read if you want to understand the interior lives of trans women in this century." — Meredith Russo, author of If I Was Your Girl


"A confident, moving work that reports unflinchingly on the lives of trans women ... Little Fish is a powerful and important debut. Plett has masterfully painted her characters as both deeply complex and relatable." — National Post


Casey Plett is the author of the short story collection A Safe Girl to Love and co-editor of the anthology Meanwhile, Elsewhere: Science Fiction and Fantasy from Transgender Writers. She wrote a column on transitioning for McSweeney's Internet Tendency and her essays and reviews have appeared in The New York Times, Maclean's, The Walrus, Plenitude, the Winnipeg Free Press, and other publications. She is the winner of a Lambda Literary Award for Best Transgender Fiction and received an Honour of Distinction from The Writers' Trust of Canada's Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. She lives in Windsor, Ontario.