This morning the Writers’ Trust of Canada announced six finalists for the prestigious RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, with three nominated for the poetry award and three for the short fiction award. The prizes, which in recent years removed their prior restriction of being open only to writers under 35 years old, are now open to all writers who are unpublished in book form.
The winner in each genre is awarded $10,000 and all remaining finalists receive $2,500. Winners and finalists alike are given mentorship opportunities with established authors who provide feedback and career guidance. Past winners and nominees for the prize, which has a track record of identifying CanLit stars on the rise, include Michael Crummey, Shashi Bhat, and Alissa York. All of this year's nominated pieces can be read for free, along with featured works of past years’ finalists, on the Writers' Trust website.
2022 finalists for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers in Poetry:
- Patrick James Errington for "If Fire, Then Bird"
- Eimear Laffan for "My Life, Delimited"
- Christine Wu for "Selections from Familial Hungers"
2022 finalists for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers in Short Fiction:
- Jen Batler for "Ectopia Cordis"
- Teya Hollier for "Watching, Waiting"
- Emily Paskevics for "Wild Girls"
The 2022 prizewinners will be announced on June 2 at an in-person event hosted by past award finalist and juror Irfan Ali, where honourees will read a selection from their shortlisted works. Prize finalists and winners from 2020 and 2021, when the event was not held in person due to pandemic restrictions, will also be invited to Toronto to be celebrated at the ceremony.
This year, nearly 400 submissions were received across the two categories, with 183 in poetry and 189 in fiction. The poetry jury was made up of poets Tenille K. Campbell, Michael Prior, and Suzannah Showler, and the fiction jury of Erin Frances Fisher, Angélique Lalonde, and Derek Mascarenhas, all three of whom are fiction writers. The juries are responsible for choosing both the shortlists and the final winners.
The prize, first awarded in 1994, honours Bronwen Wallace, who wrote both poetry and short fiction and was considered a rising star for her breathtaking, raw depictions of work, domesticity, violence, and relationships. She was also a fierce and well known advocate for social justice, in particular the protection of children and women. Her career was tragically cut short when she died of cancer at just 44 years old, and her close friend, the acclaimed writer Carolyn Smart, worked to establish the prize in her memory.
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The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award is sponsored by the RBC Emerging Artists.