CBC Books announced this morning that the winner of the 2017 CBC Short Story Prize is Alix Hawley of Kelowna, British Columbia for her story "Witching". The story was selected from more than 1800 works received from across the country, and edged out pieces by the other finalists, Kasia Juno, Krzysztof J. Pelc, Jasmina Odor, and Meg Todd.
As winner of the grand prize, Hawley will receive $6000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and her story will be published in the May edition of Air Canada enRoute magazine. She will also receive a 10-day writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
The jury, comprised of writers Jen Sookfong Lee, Shyam Selvadurai and Marina Endicott, praised "Witching", calling it "charged with tender dread—the calamity of a damaged soldier’s return from Afghanistan. Vivid images of war and the formless desert draw us in and, along with his wife, we incrementally learn the geography of his altered nature. This story springs from his parched silence, but rings and resonates with his wife's silenced and impossible rage. The language is elegant and understated and draws the reader deeply into this world."
Hawley is previously published twice in book form, including her novel All True Not a Lie in It, which was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and which won the Amazon.ca First Novel Award.
In a CBC Q&A, Hawley explained that the inspiration for her story came from a BBC article about the development of plastic surgery following the First World War and talked about life as a full-time writer after the success of her novel. She also mentioned that a second novel, a sequel to All True Not a Lie In It, will be published in 2018.