The stories in Specimen are an exploration of science and the human heart; the place where physical reality collides with our spiritual and emotional lives. In “The Blood Keeper,” a young academic travels to North Korea to work on her dissertation and embarks on a dangerous affair. In “Mamochka,” an archivist at the Institute for Physics in Minsk, must come to terms with her daughter’s marriage to a Chinese man in Vancouver. In “Peptide P,” scientists study a disease that seems to affect children after they eat hotdogs. In “Side Effects,” a woman’s personality is altered, and not necessarily for the better, by botox injections. In “The Big One,” a woman and her daughter find themselves trapped in the rubble of an underground parking garage after an earthquake. Stylistically varied and with settings that range from North Korea and Minsk to Vancouver and Gdansk, Kovalyova is a new voice in Canadian fiction (https://www.amazon.ca/Specimen-Stories-Irina-Kovalyova/dp/1770898174/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1466602683&sr=8-1&keywords=specimen).
Kobo awards an annual prize to emerging Canadian writers in the categories of literary fiction, non-fiction, and genre fiction (with a different genre recognized each year). In 2016 romance is the chosen genre. The prize is open to both traditionally published and self-published authors from Canada who released their debut title the year prior. Of course, the title must be available on Kobo.com.
For information about the prize and other winners, go to https://store.kobobooks.com/p/emergingwriterprize.