Elaine McCluskey writes about the people you might find in the corners of life. She has published three short-story collections — Hello, Sweetheart, Valery the Great, and The Watermelon Social — and two novels, Going Fast and The Most Heartless Town in Canada. A fourth collection is upcoming. Her stories have appeared in anthologies and most Canadian literary journals, including Room, The Dalhousie Review, subTerrain, The Antigonish Review, The Fiddlehead, and Other Voices. One story was a Journey Prize finalist; another placed second in the Fish international contest in Ireland. She won the Other Voices short story contest and the Pottersfield Portfolio contest. She lives in Dartmouth, N.S. For many years, she spent countless days at paddling regattas and watched both of her children race for Canada. She has worked as a journalist, a book editor, and a journalism instructor. She has a BA from Dalhousie and an MA from Western.

Her most recent book:The Most Heartless Town in Canada


I started writing fiction when my two children were young. The stories in The Watermelon Social came to life during a time when we drove around in a Honda Civic that filled with water when it rained. We frequented strip malls, libraries, and swimming pools. Some people think the title story is about suburban angst; I say, maternal love.

My novel, Going Fast, delved into the worlds of boxing, paddling, and newspapers and could never have been so real without the input of my father, Tom, who was involved with boxing for 80 years.Boxing. If you read my collection, Hello, Sweetheart, you will sense the grief that came from losing him some years later.

My writing has been described as innovative and darkly humorous, and this is perhaps my favourite observation from a reviewer: “She captures the quintessential Canadian ability to mock ourselves and others as a form of social and personal healing.” The Winnipeg Free Press says, “McCluskey is a wickedly funny storyteller at her best, as sharp as she is compassionate.”

The Most Heartless Town in Canada, looks at secrets, grief, and the divide between urban and rural Canada. It was published by Anvil Press in Vancouver and it has a kick-ass cover.

I am delighted to announce that my fourth short-story collection will be published by Goose Lane Editions where the super-talented Bethany Gibson, who edited Going Fast, works her magic. It is tentatively titled It Will Happen but that may change.