the half-drowned

Trynne Delaney


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Winner of the 2022 Quebec Writer's Federation
'First Book Prize'



"the half-drowned is a crystalline snapshot of a dystopia shaped by a toxic sea and the ghosts of whatever came before. Steeped in Black history and diasporic culture, the novella presents a poetic rumination on survival, grief, and longing, framing the strength that it takes to persevere in any dying world. Delaney’s prose is sharp and experimental, yet the quality of the narrative is never sacrificed for the sake of stylistic exploration. the half-drowned is incredibly robust in its stylistic sojourns and infinitely flexible in its emotional consideration. I have rarely seen a book with such fierce discourse and narrative integrity."

- Quebec Writer's Federation
Concordia University First Book Prize jury


"A forceful, surreal, and poetically muscular read about a resiliently catastrophic future. So so good. What a style and voice."

- Jeff VanderMeer, author of AREA X (Farrar, Straus and Giroux)


"Told with searing insight and compassion, Trynne Delaney offers up a feast in the half-drowned. With swiftness, precision, and extraordinary prose Delaney gifts us an astonishing spec-fic tale of ancestors, lineage, aliens, blood, and memory."

- Francesca Ekwuyasi, author of Butter Honey Pig Bread (Arsenal Pulp Press)


the half-drowned is a vision of a future at the end of the world where what survives is the shapeshifting love of family both given and chosen. Drawing on the Afro-diasporic ancestral knowledge of water and the urgency of desire, Delaney builds a glittering, speculative world where community holds through grief, where we must choose to fend for ourselves while also caring for others. the half-drowned is a genre-bending novella that crafts a polyphony of voices to speak to and through our lives and dreams in order to reach for the unspoken and unsayable and make it heard.


144 pages
Editor | Shazia Hafiz Ramji
Cover art | Sidney Masuga
ISBN | 978-1-988355-25-2
Spring 2022




TRYNNE DELANEY (b 1996) is a writer currently based in Tiohtiàh:ke (Montreal). They hold a Master of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Calgary. Their work appears in The Puritan, CV2, Carte Blanche, GUTS, WATCH YOUR HEAD, and the League of Canadian Poets’ chapbook ‘These Lands: a collection of voices by Black Poets in Canada’ edited by Chelene Knight. In their spare time they like to garden. They grew up in the Maritimes. the half-drowned is their first book.




WINNER | The Quebec Writers' Federation Literary Awards - The Concordia University First Book Prize



Xtra Magazine | In the ravished world of Trynne Delaney’s ‘the half-drowned,’ shape-shifting ideas of family are key to survival

"Delaney’s characters project themselves beyond the ravaged world of their present... much of this future imagining is grounded in love, in the intimate and complicated queer relationships that are centred in the text."



The Link | the half-drowned: A Soaring Spec-Fic Debut | Trynne Delaney Dwells on Belonging, Bodies, and Black Trauma in the Post-Apocalypse

"Delaney has conjured up a startlingly bleak, frighteningly plausible world in which the value of belonging to a greater whole is emphasized—but also interrogated—under new light."



Montreal Review of Books | The Future at the End of the World | Review

"Trynne Delaney’s novella, the half-drowned, takes place in a future we don’t have to try hard to imagine, where the 'oceans stopped rising with water but keep rising with plastics and memories.' Of the only people left on the planet, the narrator explains, 'We became stolen people on stolen land. And so we stayed when everyone who could left for the sky.' What remains is an ecosystem and community in which humans, rocks, waters, aliens and angels all speak through and with each other [...] From the titles of each chapter to the rhythm of each sentence this book is a sensory experience: it sinks you in."


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly | Summer Reads: Mélina

"the half-drowned is a dreamy Afrofuturist short novel. It is a real pearl; Trynne Delaney managed to create a fiction endowed with beautiful complexity and a great, rich narrative in a few pages. I immediately undertook a second reading of the novel immediately after finishing it, despite the pile of books waiting for me." (Translated to English from French)


Librairie Drawn & Quarterly | Summer Reads: Luke

"the half-drowned by Trynne Delaney is an experimental Afrofuturist novella that showcases resilience among a group of individuals in a seaside, post-apocalyptic dystopia. There is so much poetry in this book. The beautifully flowing narrative transports me to the east coast. In a masterful move, Trynne paints so much love and hope alongside their imagination of a bleak future."


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