Press release

Winner of the HarperCollins/UBC Fiction Prize announced

Author wins publishing deal, agency representation

TORONTO—HarperCollinsCanada, The Cooke Agency and the University of British Columbia announced Friday the winner of the annual HarperCollinsCanada/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction. Seattle resident Chelsea Bolan accepted the prize at a special event at the Vancouver International Writers’ Festival on Friday evening.

“It's an understatement to say that it's an incredible honor to receive this prize. I wrote this novel as my thesis for my MFA degree at UBC a number of years ago, with Keith Maillard and Steven Galloway as my advisors.  It's amazing to see the novel finally find a home at HarperCollins and to know it resonates so strongly with other people,” said Chelsea Bolan.  

The jury writes: Chelsea Bolan’s IN THE PLACE OF SILENCE is a compelling, vibrant novel set in contemporary Mexico, where old paternalistic customs still hold sway. When a young girl is banished from her home, the reverberations are deeply felt by an already fractured family. Bolan portrays, with deft skill, a mother's anguish, a sister's desperate search and a father's hypocrisy, alternating these distinctive narrative voices to build toward an ultimate revelation. Moving from the shiny resort towns of the coast to the most dangerous streets of Mexico City to the furtive, undocumented lives of illegal immigrants over the American border, In the Place of Silence is an engaging, beautifully realized novel, and a fascinating exploration of betrayal and steadfast devotion, and the ways in which our own biases can harm what—and who—we love most.

In the Place of Silence is a riveting portrayal of both a family and a culture caught between the pull of the modern world and the traditions of the past,” said Iris Tupholme, Executive Vice President, Publisher and Editor-in-Chief. “From a large number of very strong submissions and an excellent shortlist, we are so pleased to have this winning novel to bring to readers.”

As the winner, Bolan will see her novel published by HarperCollinsCanada, and will be represented by The Cooke Agency.


CHELSEA BOLAN writes fiction and poetry in Seattle. Her work has appeared in The Kenyon Review, CutBank, Fourteen Hills, Borderlands, Portland Review, The Boiler, Bayou, The Ledge, and is currently part of Particles on the Wall, an exhibition about Hanford and nuclear issues. She earned a Bachelor of Arts in English Literature from the University of Washington and an MFA from the University of British Columbia in Vancouver. She is a 2010 Milkwood International AIR fellow (Czech Republic) and a 2011 Grants for Artist Projects recipient, awarded by Artist Trust, to support her work in fiction.


HarperCollinsCanada imprints include HarperCollinsPublishers, HarperAvenue, HarperPerennial, Collins, HarperTrophyCanada, HarperWeekend and Patrick Crean Editions. These imprints publish the finest writers from Canada and around the world, including such fiction authors as Nancy Richler, Dianne Warren, Dan Vyleta, Emma Donoghue, Lawrence Hill, Shilpi Somaya Gowda, Cathy Marie Buchanan, Barbara Gowdy, Thomas King, Dennis Bock, Heather O’Neill, Hilary Mantel, Richard Ford, Amy Tan, Shaena Lambert, Anne Giardini, Michael Cunningham, Kenneth Oppel, Natalee Caple, Rachelle Delaney, Jackie Baker, Paul Harding, Robert J. Wiersema, among many others. HarperCollins is committed to publishing new writers and to building authors’ careers. HarperCollinsCanada published the first books by UBC MFA graduates Michael Christie and Kelli Deeth and as well as debut short story writers and novelists Ayelet Tsabari, Janie Chang and Rebecca Silver Slayter. HarperCollinsCanada publishes fiction, non-fiction, reference books and books for children.


The Cooke Agency is one of Canada’s largest and most successful literary agencies.  It is over 20 years old and represents more than 150 clients who have been published in territories all around the globe – many of them bestselling authors who have won and/or been nominated for the most prestigious awards in the English language. 


The UBC Creative Writing Program is Canada’s oldest and largest teacher of writers.  It has fostered the talents of hundreds of notable Canadian writers, and remains at the forefront of literary training. This year marks the 50th anniversary of the program, which was founded in 1963 by Earle Birney.



For further information contact Rob Firing, Senior Director, Publicity, Communications & Speakers’ Bureau at HarperCollinsCanada, 416-975-9334 ext. 2357. Email [email protected].

Date Posted

October 30, 2014


Winner of the HarperCollins/UBC Fiction Prize announced


Rob Firing

[email protected]

416-975-9334 ext. 141