When a rusty cargo ship carrying Mahindan and five hundred fellow refugees from Sri Lanka’s bloody civil war reaches Vancouver’s shores, the young father thinks he and his six-year-old son can finally start a new life. Instead, the group is thrown into a detention processing center, with government officials and news headlines speculating that among the “boat people” are members of a separatist militant organization responsible for countless suicide attacks—and that these terrorists now pose a threat to Canada’s national security. As the refugees become subject to heavy interrogation, Mahindan begins to fear that a desperate act taken in Sri Lanka to fund their escape may now jeopardize his and his son’s chance for asylum.
Randy Kaneen is an educator and author. In Search of Sticks, a story of hope amidst tragedy, was shortlisted for the Somerset Award. The novel weaves parallel tales of isolation, one in a war-torn, poverty stricken landscape and the other in an affluent and peaceful setting. Kaneen believes that its underscored sentiment will likely be appreciated by most, if not all, members of Amnesty International-life is as much about that which isn’t done in the face of opportunity rather than just what was acted upon. Thematically, the story embraces Mahatma Gandhi’s words, “You must be the change you wish to see in the world.” Kaneen’s next novel, Should Have Seen it Coming is scheduled for release in 2019.
Sharon Bala is a Canadian writer residing in St. John’s, Newfoundland and Labrador. Her bestselling debut novel, The Boat People, was a finalist for Canada Reads 2018 and the 2018 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Published in January 2018, it is available worldwide with forthcoming translations in French, Arabic, and Turkish. The unpublished manuscript won the Percy Janes First Novel Award (May 2015) and was short‑listed for the Fresh Fish Award (October 2015).
In 2017, Sharon won the Journey Prize and had a second story long listed in the anthology. A three-time recipient of Newfoundland and Labrador’s Arts and Letters award, she has stories published in Hazlitt, Grain, Maisonneuve, The Dalhousie Review, Riddle Fence, Room, Prism international, The New Quarterly, and in an anthology called Racket: New Writing From Newfoundland (Breakwater Books, Fall 2015). Sharon is a member of the Port Authority writing group. They can be found every second Thursday swapping fiction in the closet of a store room on Memorial University’s campus.