News and Interviews

Vancouver's Will Richter Wins CBC Short Story Prize for His Gripping Tale of Literary Festival Violence

orange banner with photo of author Will Richter and text "Will Richter wins CBC Short Story Prize. "Just a Howl" wins 2023 prize"

This morning, CBC Books and the Canada Council for the Arts announced that Vancouver's Will Richter has won the 2023 CBC Short Story Prize. His story "Just a Howl" captured the prestigious $6,000 prize, beating out over 2,300 other stories entered in the contest from writers across the country. 

"Just a Howl" tells a short, tense tale of a violent attack at a literary festival. Richter noted in an interview with CBC Books that the story was partially inspired by the devastating 2022 attack on author Salman Rushdie, saying "although the scenario in my story is quite different from that one in many ways, the Rushdie attack was very much on my mind".  

Richter will receive both the $6,000 prize and a two-week writing residency at the picturesque Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto's Centre Island. 

The jurors, Kim Fu, Norma Dunning, and Steven Price, called Richter's story "unexpected, accomplished, and darkly funny," saying they "were united in wanting to see what this writer does next."

When informed of his win, Richter said, "I was completely floored to hear that my story was this year’s winner. I’ve been following and submitting to the CBC Short Story Prize contest for years, and to win it is hugely exciting and encouraging."

The four runners-up for the 2023 CBC Short Story Prize, who will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, are: Clara Chalmers of West Vancouver for "Dear M"; Helen Han Wei Luo of Vancouver for "Eel Broth for Growing Children"; Nicholas Ruddock of Guelph, Ont. for "Marriage"; and Katie Welch of Kamloops, B.C. for "Bird Emergent".

The prize has been a career-launching moment for many Canadian writers in the past, with previous winners including authors such as Camilla Gibb, David Bergen, and Michael Ondaatje.