Publications: Fiction

Zero GravityZero Gravity

  • Long-listed for the Giller Prize
  • Short-listed for a ReLit Award
  • A Globe &Mail Best 100 title of the year


“[O]ne of our sharpest new talents, wedding precision of language to a remarkable moral and imaginative range.” —Alex Good and Steven W. Beattie, “Flying under the Radar: 10 Underrated Canadian Authors,” National Post

“Charged, potent, luminous: these words come to mind when describing Zero Gravity, Sharon English’s collection of nine short stories.” —Patricia Young, Canadian Notes and Queries

“[E]xploring the concerns of a whole new generation of Canadians.” —Kim Jernigan, Editor, The New Quarterly

 “Throughout the book, English exploits language to its fullest and explores the limits of genre with creativity and confidence.” —Michelle Ariss, Canadian Review of Books


These stories are rooted in Vancouver, British Columbia, with side trips to the Kootenay mountains, Montreal and Delphi, Greece. English’s characters lead accelerated lives only to be seized by spiritual emptiness. Their attempts to escape — by joining, by quitting, by falling in and out of love — make for funny, insightful and intense reading. The author presents a fly’s-eye view of urban experience, coming at city life from multiple angles that unite, as the book progresses, into a vivid experience of isolation and adaptation. The book’s unusual imagery and controlled prose deliver an edgy and anxious commentary on a new century.

Buy the book here.

Uncomfortably NumbUncomfortably Numb

“… English has written a Lives of Girls and Women for today’s 30-somethings … highly readable, peppered with spicy bad-girlishness and teenage suburban wretchedness that rings true on nearly every page.” —Sue McCluskey, THIS Magazine

“[A] skin-crawling ability to regress one instantly to mean corridors, clique-blighted lunch rooms and excruciating eruptions of lust … ghastly and fascinating.” —Jim Bartley, The Globe and Mail

“As with potato chips, you can’t consume just one of these stories at a sitting. English’s writing is powerful and addictive—so much so that at the end of the last story I wanted to turn back to the first page and start over.” —Linda Bayley, Canadian Book Review Annual


A city suburb, 1980. The front of propriety, the freakish stillness–and the bush parties. This is the home of Germaine Stevens, a social misfit who thinks she’s struck ultimate cool when she’s accepted into her preppie high school’s only counter-culture group, the Rockers. Yet has she really just traded one kind of conformity for another? And is she still a loser?

Her friends are desperate characters: Regina’s on the road to ruin, Bono’s more boy than girl, and Jackie’s postering her bedroom into a rock‘n’roll tomb. Yet beneath the party-hardy attitude, no one is as disaffected as they seem, or want to be.

In a voice that ranges from tough to achingly vulnerable, the linked short stories in Uncomfortably Numb powerfully convey the anger, lust and absurdity that spiral into one girl’s growing fight against the tuned-out numbness of her world.

Buy the book here.


“El Dorado,” published in Best Canadian Stories (2009), was reprinted in Dark Mountain Issue 5 (2014).