VIDEO: Trillium shortlist includes Nelson teacher

Leesa Dean has been shortlisted for her collection Waiting for the Cyclone

She feels like dancing.

Selkirk College writing instructor Leesa Dean recently learned her book Waiting for the Cyclone has been shortlisted for the prestigious Trillium Book Award, and her spontaneous reaction was to bust a move.

“I spent four years writing Waiting for the Cyclone, first as my thesis at the University of Guelph’s MFA program and then in bars and coffee shops in Toronto’s West End,” Dean told the Star.

“This book is kind of a souvenir from that important period of my life. I’m honoured, to say the least.”

The Trillium is the Ontario government’s literature award, and former winners include Alice Munro, Pasha Malla and Wayson Choy. The other books on this year’s list includes five other English writers and five French ones, including recent Giller Prize winner André Alexis.

Dean lived in Toronto prior to relocating to Nelson, serving as the interviews editor for Humber Literary Review and routinely contributing to The New Quarterly. She filmed her book trailer in Lakeside Park and around Nelson last year, and held her launch at the Royal on Baker.

The winner will be announced on June 20 in Toronto.