In the most recent issue, The Malahat Review publishes Naben Ruthnum’s novella “Cinema Rex” as the winner for the 2012 Novella Contest. His entry was selected from 215 submissions by three judges: Terence Young, Valerie Compton, and Gabriella Goliger. In addition to publication, Ruthnum was awarded $1500 CAD prize money.
Judges said the following about his piece: “[it] incorporates footnotes to explore a different kind of omniscience. The story, set in exotic Mauritius, follows three adolescent boys on the opening day of the town’s newest theatre, Cinema Rex. They skip school when they discover their teacher slumped over on his desk in a drunken sleep, and from there events build to the evening’s entertainment, a translated version of ‘The Night of the Hunter.’ Throughout, the footnotes move us forward in time to the boys’ adult lives, creating a kind of sympathetic cosmic irony. The language of ‘Cinema Rex’ is precise, the tone engaging, and the characters compelling. It has an unstoppable momentum, often surprising details and vivid dialogue. This is a novella that has been pared to essentials, with every element working together.”
A web exclusive interview with Ruthnum about his prize can be found here.