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North Okanagan author in the running for prestigious non-fiction prize

Emelia Symington-Fedy, who published her debut memoir Skid Dogs in 2023, has been shortlisted for the Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize
Emelia Symington-Fedy’s true crime memoir, Skid Dogs, was published Sept. 9, 2023. (Zev Tiefenbach photo)

Warning: This story contans subject matter related to sexual assault that could be triggering to some readers

A North Okanagan author has been shortlisted for a prestigious non-fiction prize.

Emelia Symington-Fedy published her memoir Skid Dogs last year. The book is a raw and riveting coming-of-age story about the wild love of teenage friendships and the casual oppression of 90s rape culture. It’s a true crime memoir that touches upon the tragic 2011 murder of Armstrong teen Taylor Van Diest.

Symington-Fedy grew up with her girl gang hanging out on the railroad tracks of Armstrong. Unsupervised and wild, the girls explored the power and shortcomings of “best” friendships and growing sexuality.

Two decades later, Van Diest is murdered on Halloween on those same tracks, and Symington-Fedy returns to her small hometown to stay with her mother, who is fearful of a murderer at large.

While the media focuses on how the girl dared to be alone on the tracks, Symington-Fedy slowly comes to terms with the mistreatment of her own teenage body. Giving a bold and often darkly humorous first-hand account of 90s rape culture and the sexual coercion that still permeates girlhood, Symington-Fedy holds her hometown close and accountable, exposing the subtle ways that misogyny shows up daily.

Award-winning poet and author Aislinn Hunter describes Skid Dogs as a “riveting, raucous and tender look at growing up a girl in a boy’s world … Beautifully written and bravely told, this book is the Stand By Me for girls that’s been far too long in coming.”

Symington-Fedy has worked as an essayist, storyteller and documentary producer for CBC Radio. She is also the co-artistic director of The Chop Theatre and is the creator of the popular blog and radio show that became an audiobook, Trying to Be Good: The Healing Powers of Lying, Cheating, Stealing, and Drugs (Author’s Republic, 2017).

The Hubert Evans Non-Fiction Prize is awarded to the author of the best original work of literary non-fiction on an annual basis.

Skid Dogs was published by Douglas & McIntyre in September 2023.

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Brendan Shykora

About the Author: Brendan Shykora

I started at the Morning Star as a carrier at the age of 8. In 2019 graduated from the Master of Journalism program at Carleton University.
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