15 past winners on why you should enter the CBC Literary Prizes

Do you think your writing's ready for the world to see? Why not enter the CBC Literary Prizes? The winner receives $6,000, publication right here on CBCbooks.ca and in Air Canada enRoute magazine and a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre

Check out how it changed the lives of past winners below - and find out why they think you should enter the CBC Literary Prizes. It's worth it, we promise.


1. Shelagh Plunkett: It'll boost your confidence slelaghplunkett-NEW.jpg

Shelagh Plunkett won the 2007 Creative Nonfiction Prize.

"Winning the prize was pivotal. It brought my work to the attention of editors at Penguin, who published my memoir, The Water Here Is Never Blue. But, more significantly, it gave me the courage to continue writing. Somebody had believed; now I could too. As well as being a very prestigious award that you can't win unless you enter, it's a terrific tool to help discipline and focus your practice. I know writers who enter yearly as part of the annual writing routine."


2. Lee Kvern: You'll get attention from the publishing community leekvern-NEW.jpg

Lee Kvern won the 2007 Short Story Prize. (Photo credit: Seth Rasporich)

"Winning a CBC Literary Prize has been, and continues to be, an absolute door opener for me with publishers, WiR positions and general all-around good writer cheer. I raise a beer. Thank you, CBC."


3. Becky Blake: It'll take your work to the next level beckyblake-NEW-v2.jpg

Becky Blake won the 2013 Short Story Prize. (Photo credit: Kara Blake)

"Winning the CBC Literary Prize was like receiving a perfectly timed care package of writerly treats: everything I needed as an emerging writer to take my work to the next level. This is definitely a contest worth entering year after year!"


4. Daniel Karasik: It'll  validate your choice to be a writer daniel-NEW.jpg

Daniel Karasik won the 2012 Short Story Prize. (Photo credit: Cylla von Tiedemann)

"The most important thing the CBC Literary Prize did for me was lend encouragement to my writing efforts, help validate my choice of a vocational path so often solitary and quixotic. Submit your fiction with or without confidence - I never dreamed my story would win. But what a nice surprise that it did."


5. Mohan Srivastava: It will teach you to let go of your work mo-NEW.jpg

Mohan Srivastava won the 2013 Creative Nonfiction Prize.

"When I clicked on 'send,' I thought my submission wasn't as good as it could have been; in my head, I could imagine a much better version. When I won, and heard the feedback from readers and judges, I realized that it's easy to make the mistake of holding something back because you think it's not ready. In the act of polishing and honing a piece, you might end up narrowing how a reader can read it. Having won with a story that I could have tinkered with endlessly, I am now more able to push new writing out into the world."


writerlist-620.jpg
6. Carrie Mac: It's worth the effort carriemac-NEW-v2.jpg

Carrie Mac won the 2015 Creative Nonfiction Prize. (Photo credit: Jack Demers)

"I have submitted stories to the CBC Literary Prizes for over a decade. Until last year, I'd never even made it onto the longlist, let alone the shortlist. The story that ultimately won is a piece that'd I'd submitted two years in a row. After it didn't place, I revised, revised, revised, revised. Tightened. Polished. Read it aloud over and over again. I wanted to win and I was not going to stop writing and submitting until I did. Finally, I won! I wanted to win because of the prestige of the prize, and because I'd join the ranks of an amazing roster of previous and future winners. What an honour. Truly. Enter the CBC Literary Prizes. Make it an annual practice. Be determined to win, and write as if you are. When you win, you get to step up and are suddenly a lot further along on your writing path. What an award."


7. Hilary Dean: The winners' writing residency is unforgettable hilarydean-v2-NEW.jpg

Hilary Dean won the 2012 Creative Nonfiction Prize.


8. Leona Theis: It gives you focus leonatheis-NEW.jpg

Leona Theis won the 2006 Creative Nonfiction Prize.

"I like competitions because they give me deadlines and sharpen the motivation to create work that's as fine and powerful as I can manage. Winning the CBC Literary Prize lit a fire under me to concentrate for a time on creative nonfiction, a form I've come to love.


9. Brian Brett: It'll bolster your reputationbrianbrett-NEW.jpg

Brian Brett won the 2010 Poetry Prize. (Photo credit: Michael Schoenholtz)

"Winning a CBC Literary Prize tends to cement the reputation of authors. Though not as highly funded as some of the more showy prizes, its history and the continuing excellence of the writers chosen give it a wake-up-notice quality for the winners. But for me, more importantly, it was learning that I was chosen by writers with much different styles and subject manner and communities than mine. It felt like being noticed by the entire community of Canadian writers."

10. Sarah de Leeuw: It's about something bigger than you sarahdeleuuw-NEW.jpg

Sarah de Leeuw won the 2008 Creative Nonfiction Prize. (Photo credit: Mary de Leeuw)

"Speaking from experience, it's not an exaggeration to say winning a CBC Literary Prize is a game-changer, a prize that can transform your writing, as well as your professional and personal life. Even if you don't win, the very act of submitting a piece of writing for consideration ensures that you're actually writing, that you're engaging in a national conversation in this country about arts and culture. The CBC Literary Prizes are a national dialogue, a discussion between those who for decades and decades have been dedicated to working in the literary arts, and every year they invite anyone, from anywhere in the country, to participate. It's an invitation worth accepting."


futureclassics-banner.jpg
11. Sue Goyette: It makes you put your work out in the world suegoyette-NEW.jpg

Sue Goyette won the 2008 Poetry Prize.

"Entering the CBC Poetry Prize gave me the opportunity to drop my poems into a mailbox. I'd been writing without sending work out for many months, years even. This was a pivotal moment for me. It wasn't about winning, though I'm grateful the poems did - it was more about letting the work go so I could see the back of it and so I could see its completed shape."


12. Claire Battershill: It makes you braveclairebattershill-NEW.jpg

Claire Battershill won the 2008 Short Story Prize. (Photo credit: Emma Gorst)

"Winning a CBC Literary Prize made me feel braver about writing fiction. I was a new writer and especially new to the genre of short stories, and the vote of confidence from the judges, who were writers I admired, made me feel I had found my style. My winning story ended up being the title story of my collection, Circus."


13. Ahmad Saidullah: It jump-starts your writing careerahmad-NEW.jpg

Ahmad Saidullah won second place in the 2005 Short Story Prize. (Photo credit: Mark Yep)


14. James Scoles: It'll rock your world jamesscoles-NEW.jpg

James Scoles won the 2013 Poetry Prize. (Photo credit: Dianne Scoles)

"Winning the CBC Poetry Prize enabled me to return to Ireland, and it also showed my students that I am not quite as dumb as I look and sound. Each and every writer - at every level - should enter the CBC Literary Prizes because what comes of your work might just rock your world."


15. Gitanjali Kolanad: It'll help you find your voice gitanji-NEW.jpg

Gitanjali Kolanad won second place in the 2008 Short Story Prize.

Thumbnail image for whitespace-620.jpg Thumbnail image for whitespace-620.jpg Newsletter_banner_620.png