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the half-drowned

Trynne Delaney

144 pages
Editor: Shazia Hafiz Ramji
Cover design: Sidney Masuga
ISBN 9781988355252
Spring 2022

They never thought we’d survive. We as in life but we as in the children of our ancestors in general.

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.


“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)

Reviews and Media

Plenitude Magazine – How to Keep Living: A Review of Trynne Delaney’s the half-drowned
“Near the end of Trynne Delaney’s first book, the half-drowned, comes a thematic question: What reality might hit after the end of belonging? The speculative fiction novella is set in a liminal future-scape inhabited by tenacious Black survivors on the Bay of Fundy. It invites readers into presence with multiple realities, considers the meaning of belonging, and journeys through poetic conceptual portals.”

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 BooksThe Future at the End of the World
“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.”

Carousel Magazine – “A devotedly poetic prose debut that testifies eloquently to both the present talent and future potential of Delaney as an emerging writer.”



Librairie Drawn & Quarterly – Staff Picks 2022 – Benjamin
“A mesmeric work of speculative, Afrofuturist fiction which enfolds ancestral knowledge and lyric apperception not merely as narrative techniques, but as mappings for ways forward.”

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly Staff Picks 2022 – Leïka
“What an amazing read! Trynne Delaney’s the half-drowned is an ode to Black speculative sci-fi, spirituality – a Black future at the end of the world where what survives is the shapeshifting love of family both given and chosen.”

Librairie Drawn & Quarterly – Summer Reads 2022 – 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)

Trynne Delaney

Trynne Delaney is a writer currently based in Tiohtià:ke (Montréal). They are the author of the half-drowned (winner of the QWF First Book Prize) and A House Unsettled. Trynne holds a Master of Arts in English Literature and Creative Writing from the University of Calgary.