Marjorie Gabrielle Celona
Upcoming Events & Recent News

AWP, Portland, OR: THE COMPARTMENTALIZED LIFE: Writing while Teaching while Parenting, Friday, 3/29/19, 03:00:PM–04:15:PM, D139-140, Oregon Convention Center, Level 1

Mineral School, Mineral, WA: Thursday, September 20, 2018: Visiting Artists Marjorie Celona and Danielle Deulen (7:30pm)

"Counterblast" has won an O.Henry award for 2018 and was picked as a jury favorite by Ottessa Moshfegh:

Visiting Writer-in-Residence, Ohio University, January 25, 2018:

University of Victoria Orion Visiting Artist, October 25-26, 2017

Willamette University's Hallie Ford Literary Series, September 12, 2017:

"Counterblast," a short story, appears in the Spring 2017 issue of The Southern Review:

2017 CSWS Northwest Women Writers Symposium: featuring Ayana Mathis:

Reading at the University of Oregon on November 5, 2016:

Cuirt International Festival of Literature 2015 panel with Vincent Lam and Dionne Brand:

Y has won the Grand Prix Littéraire de l’Héroïne (France) for Best Foreign Novel:

Irish actor Damien Molony will read "Othello" at Foyles on April 3 in London:

"Othello" has been shortlisted for the Sunday Times EFG Short Story Award:

The Dutch edition of Y, Waarom, has been nominated for the Dioraphte Jongerenliteratuur Prijs 2014:

Y has won Drake University's Emerging Writer Award:


New York Times Fiction Chronicle
New York Times, July 12, 2013

Debut Author: Marjorie Celona
The Observer, Feb 2, 2013

Y by Marjorie Celona
The Daily Mail, Jan 31, 2013

Marjorie Celona explores the life of a foster child in debut novel
New York Daily News, Jan 31, 2013

Y by Marjorie Celona
Boston Globe, Jan 12, 2013

Y by Marjorie Celona
Dallas Morning News, Jan 11, 2013

Split Decisions and That Fork in the Road
New York Times, Jan 10, 2013

Starred Kirkus Review
Kirkus Reviews, Nov 15, 2012

Y by Marjorie Celona
Vancouver Observer, Oct 30, 2012

Y Argue?
Now Magazine, Oct 2012

First novel delves into the world of adoption
Daily Herald Tribune, Oct 11, 2012

Y by Marjorie Celona
Maclean's, Oct 5, 2012

Giller-nominated novel off to winning start with tale of belonging
Winnipeg Free Press, Sept 29, 2012

A Girl's Life: Marjorie Celona's Compelling Coming of Age Novel
The Walrus, Oct 2012

Y: A much heralded debut novel by Marjorie Celona
Toronto Star, Sept 8, 2012

Marjorie Celona's Y: Little girl lost and found
Vancouver Sun, Sept 7, 2012

Y Marjorie Celona’s novel is the book of the fall
National Post, Sept 4, 2012

‘Y’: a stunning debut for Marjorie Celona
Globe & Mail, Sept 1, 2012

Open Book: Y, by Marjorie Celona
National Post, Sept 1, 2012

Y by Marjorie Celona
Quill & Quire, July 2012
News, Media, etc.

Y is shortlisted for the Center for Fiction's Flaherty-Dunnan First Novel Award:

Y has been chosen as one of the Waterstones 11:

Y is the #1 Indie Next Pick for January 2013:

"The most impressive debut novel I read all year":

Y is among CBC Books' Best Canadian Books of 2012:

Y makes the Vancouver Sun Books Editor's 2012 Top Reads:

"A meditation on loss, identity, and family, Y showcases a tenacious young writer as she schools us in compassion and ultimately cleans house.”
—Review in O Magazine January 2013 Issue (on newsstands in Dec)

Globe & Mail's Top 23 Canadian Fiction Books of the Year:'s Best Books of 2012: Top 100 List

The "Y Face" on Penguin Canada's Instagram site:

Some lovely photos from the International Festival of Authors Markham, with Vincent Lam, Ayesha Chatterjee, and Chan Koonchung:

Podcast with Joseph Planta of The Commentary:

Interview with Beth Carswell of AbeBooks:

Podcast with Chris Wood of the Banff Centre about Y, the Rocky Mountains, and capybaras:
Banff Centre Blog, October 18, 2012

The author who couldn’t let go of the question Y: Profile by Marsha Lederman
Globe & Mail, Oct 10, 2012

"Far and away, the best novel I've read this year" - National Post Book Editor Mark Medley on Toronto's Metro Morning, aired Oct 2:

Q&A on the International Festival of Authors' Blog:

Y has spent three weeks on the Maclean's Bestseller List:

Video Interview with Jennifer Hunter of The Toronto Star:

Q&A with CBC re: Y and the 2012 Giller Prize:

Y has been longlisted for the 2012 Giller Prize:

Interview with Jo-Ann Roberts for CBC All Points West:

Past Events, Festivals, Etc.

September 16, 2012 – Eden Mills Writers' Festival, Eden Mills, Ontario

September 20, 2012 – LCBO Cocktails & Conversation, Toronto, ON

September 23, 2012 – The Word on the Street Festival, Toronto, Ontario

October 11 - 16, 2012 – Calgary WordFest/Banff Summit, Calgary, AB

October 17, 2012 – Launch Party for Y hosted by Munro's Books, Victoria, BC

October 19 - 20, 2012 – Vancouver International Writers' Festival, Vancouver, BC

October 21 - 24, 2012 – International Festival of Authors, Toronto, Ontario

October 23, 2012 – IFOA Markham

November 1, 2012 – Colgate Living Writers' Series, Hamilton, New York

January 5, 2013 – Connect2Books Literary Tour and Dinner, Victoria, BC

January 8, 2013 – U.S. book launch with Leah Stewart at Joseph Beth, Cincinnati, OH

January 11 - 16, 2013 – U.K. book launch at Waterstones, London, UK

January 18, 2013 – Barnes & Noble, Columbus, OH

January 24, 2013 – Parnassus Books, Nashville, TN

January 31, 2013 – Books & Co., Dayton, OH

February 2, 2013 – Fireside Bookshop, Chagrin Falls, OH

February 11, 2013 – Prairie Lights, Iowa City, IA

February 22, 2013 – Reading with Luke Geddes and Don Peteroy at University of Cincinnati

March 3, 2013 – Reading/Discussion at The Bookshelf, Cincinnati, OH

March 8, 2013 – Book Signing at AWP, Boston, MA, Cincinnati Review table in the Book Fair, 12:00 noon

March 22 - April 18, 2013 – Writers Omi International Writers Residency, Ledig House, NY

October 9, 2013 - Women's National Book Association reading at Novi Public Library, Novi, MI

October 12, 2013 - Books by the Banks Festival, Cincinnati, OH

October 18-20, 2013 - Victoria Writers' Festival, Victoria, BC

December 10, 2013 - Center for Fiction's First Novel Fete, NYC

December 11, 2013 - Center for Fiction's Benefit and Awards Dinner, NYC

February 11, 2014 - Lecture at the Heliconian Club, Toronto, ON

February 26 - March 1, 2014 - AWP Conference Panelist, Seattle, WA
Advance Praise for Y

“I love ambition in a novel. I love humour, audacity, perseverance, craft. And I am deeply grateful when it gets exquisitely blended in a brand new voice. Marjorie Celona's debut weaves the twin stories of a foster child's search for home and the raw account of her mother's decision to abandon her newborn. Y is an evocative look into what makes a family, and what makes a home, and how they are undeniably helixed together.”
—Colum McCann, author of Let the Great World Spin

"A wee baby girl is left behind and even before she opens her eyes, she begins to describe her extraordinary world. Y is filled with heartbreaking loss and flawed heroes yet Celona's writing is filled with grace and compassion."
—Heather O'Neill, author of Lullabies for Little Criminals

"Y is the story of humanity's first question: Who am I? This novel tells a pain-filled, utterly essential quest to know who one's family is. There is Oedipus. There is Pip. Now there is Shannon, compelled to search through unbearable secrets and trauma. The style is accomplished, the voice hauntingly matter-of-fact.”
—Kim Echlin, author of The Disappeared

"Y is everything I'm hoping for when I open a book--suspenseful, compelling, psychologically deft, and beautifully written, with characters so alive they seem to be in the room. Marjorie Celona is a brilliant writer at the start of a brilliant career."
—Leah Stewart, author of Husband and Wife

"Marjorie Celona’s Y isn’t merely an extraordinary debut; it would be cause for celebration if it were the author’s second or fifth or twentieth novel. There’s so much to relish and to marvel at: the nimbly interbraided stories of a mother and daughter trying to make sense of, and lives from, their severely straitened circumstances; the lovely, lucid, haunting prose; the subtle, precise command of tone. But above all I marvel at Celona’s clear-eyed and heartbreakingly complex depiction of her characters’ psychologies, at the empathetic attention she pays the fierce, flawed, lovable people at this terrific novel’s heart. These are indelible characters, and Y is a triumph."
—Michael Griffith, author of Trophy

“I was enraptured by Shannon's fierce searching heart. I felt the aching emptiness of missing pieces and the healing of discovering one's true family. With a child's defiance, hurt and brittle vulnerability, she led me through a world littered with the abandoned, lost and broken and brought back forgiveness.”
—Shandi Mitchell, author of Under This Unbroken Sky

"Marjorie Celona’s Y is moving and utterly beautiful. Dark and bright, fresh and original, this novel grabs you and doesn’t let go. What an extraordinary new voice!"
—Amanda Boyden, author of Pretty Little Dirty

"Richly textured, gritty, surprising and innocent, Marjorie Celona’s tale of an abandoned child explores the undercurrents of small town experience; it’s a blue collar world of courage, goodness and violence in which the coming of age of Shannon, a child abandoned by her mother shortly after her birth, is also a quest for the treasure of an identify that has to be sifted from the detritus of damaged lives. Celona has mapped place and class in a way I haven’t read before, and she has created a character with such heart that I didn’t want the story to end. Many stories quest for understanding, but few can deliver: Y delivers the goods. It’s a wonderful debut."
—Marilyn Bowering, author of What It Takes To Be Human

“Marjorie Celona’s Y is the best novel I’ve read this year. A young woman’s search for her birth parents becomes, through Celona’s brightly lit prose, an unforgettable story about the nature of time itself, the way our past is always alive in the present, shaping us into who we are. With more honesty, compassion and warmth than is sometimes fashionable in contemporary fiction, this novel will stay with you long after the last page is turned.”
—Anthony Varallo, author of Out Loud

“I couldn't get enough of Shannon, the charming, brave, and blistering heart of this novel. She's open to everyone she meets—mothers, fathers, the homeless, the addicted—so her story is too. Marjorie Celona has written a novel that is funny, contemporary, and heartbreaking, a novel that is in love with life.”
—Deborah Willis, author of Vanishing and Other Stories