York alumna’s work to be published in a new anthology

A short story by York graduate and staff member Karina Sumner-Smith (BA Hons. ’04) will be published in the young-adult fantasy anthology Summoned to Destiny, to be released this fall by Fitzhenry & Whiteside. During her time as a humanities student at York, Sumner-Smith says, she studied everything from classic literature to religious traditions and even took a course in Young Adult Fantasy Literature with Professor Carole Carpenter, an experience, she says, that directly influenced the writing of this particular work. She is now employed full time at York’s Career Centre in a writing and research position.

Sumner-Smith’s short story, “A Prayer of Salt and Sand”,  follows the journey of young priestess Asha Té-Narelle as she attempts to understand herself and her faith following her failure in an initiation rite. “The theme of the anthology – of finding one’s true self and one’s place in the world – is an important one for young adults,” says Sumner-Smith. “Yet the stories in this book, like some of the best of young adult literature, are complex enough to resonate with an adult audience as well. I’m delighted to be part of such an exciting publication.

“This isn’t my first publication – I’ve also had both short fiction and poetry published in both Canadian and American magazines, including Lady Churchill’s Rosebud Wristlet, NFG and Strange Horizons – but this is my first story to appear in an anthology,” says Sumner-Smith.

Right: Karina Sumner-Smith

“I’m currently working on a novel set in the same world and about many of the same characters that appear in ‘A Prayer of Salt and Sand.’ I’m also working on some other short fiction pieces, including a science fictional tale based on the Holocaust and a ghost story set in the rural Ontario town of Kincardine,” she says.

Summoned to Destiny, edited by award-winning Canadian author Julie E. Czerneda, is the first in Czerneda’s Realms of Wonder series, a group of themed anthologies of fantastic literature aimed at a young-adult audience. The book includes stories from both well-known and up-and-coming speculative fiction authors, and has an introduction by best-selling Canadian fantasy author Tanya Huff. The young adult fantasy genre, made famous by British authors Diana Wynne-Jones (The Homeward Bounders) and Susan Cooper (The Dark is Rising), incorporates science fiction and fantasy into short stories and novels geared to the pre-teen and teenage audience. The genre effectively weaves a path between the stuff of myth and legend and the lives of everyday people.

A book launch will be held on Saturday, Oct. 16, at Bakka-Phoenix Books at 598 Yonge Street in Toronto, starting at 3pm. Editor Czerneda and contributing authors Michelle West, Ed Greenwood, Ruth Stuart, Jana Paniccia and Sumner-Smith will be at the launch. For more information, visit the Bakka-Phoenix Books Web site or call 416-963-9993.