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Autobiography Challenge

Autobiography Challenge: We have a winner!

And the iPad 2 goes to... Brianne Morgan of Fonthill, Ontario! Read what both Brianne and our judge, Kirstie McLellan Day, have to say about the whole thrilling Canada Writes Autobiography Challenge experience.  

At this very moment, somewhere deep in Fonthill, Ontario, Brianne Morgan is busy browsing iPad 2 apps. But before we learn a little more about our winner, we wanted to stop and give all five of our shortlisted authors some Canada Writes love courtesy of our judge, Kirstie McLellan Day. Here's what she had to say about judging your entries:

"This was much tougher than I thought it would be. I loved Christine's invitation to ride through the world of bum-ditty, and chuckled at Adrian's macaroni fraud. I enjoyed the ride down Cian's "Dovetailed Delusions," while Eric's grey side of dating left an impression. 

However, one of the toughest things about writing a book is choosing a great title. I know that if Brianne's "So What if I Waddle?" were sitting on the book stand, I wouldn't be able to walk past. And, like all good comedy writers, she was able to make me laugh - without a wink. Congrats to all."

And now... the Canada Writes interview with our winner, Brianne Morgan.


Tell us a little about yourself. 

I'm 16 years old and I'm in Grade 12 at a local high school in the town where I live. I live with my mother, father, little brother, dog, and an adoptive cat of sorts. I work at a local farmer's market for now, but I hope to study Forensic Science at university next fall. I love to read, and will pick up anything and everything that has words and pages. My favourite books are classics, as I can't stand most of the teen fiction that is being published right now. Not that it isn't good, but I just think that vampires should drink blood and sleep in coffins, not sparkle. I scuba dive, and I also play soccer, volleyball, and an unhealthy amount of card games. 

Where exactly is Fonthill, and what's it like?

Fonthill is a tiny little town about a half hour's drive from Niagara Falls. It's a very close-knit community, and pretty much fits into the stereotypical small town box. There's plenty of parks, and trees, and greenery, and countless of those little specialty shops that make small town so quaint. I wouldn't want to live anywhere else. 

What do you usually write? (Stories? A particular genre?)

I love to write short stories. I have notebooks and notebooks filled with them (or at least, with the beginnings of them...I always find it hard to finish). I prefer to write stories that are character based rather than plot based, and enjoy delving into a character's head, especially using stream of consciousness writing. Most of the stories I write are pretty depressing, and are probably considered to be within the horror/psychological thriller genres, if I had to classify them. I have also been trying to write poetry recently, but I have very rarely gotten more than a few lines in before the rhythm stops flowing, and the words stop connecting in the ways I want them to. 

What made you focus on penguins for your entry?

It was very late at night when I stumbled across the Autobiography Challenge. I don't think I was quite awake, and my mind was spinning away in all sorts of directions. As I scrolled through the contest rules, my sleep-deprived brain had the brilliant idea to write an entry on penguins. I just went along on that thought tangent, and voila, out popped "So What if I Waddle?". 

How long did it take you to write the entry?

I wrote the entry in about five minutes. The words just seemed to fall into place. I probably would have finished in less time, if I'd actually known where penguins lived (I had to Google search that). Like I said, it was late...

What does it feel like to win the Autobiography Challenge?

Unexpected? Unbelievable? Exhilarating? To be honest, I really only entered for fun, and never expected to make the shortlist, let alone win. I was ecstatic enough when I got an email saying that my entry was one of the picks of the day! As you can imagine, there was a lot of jumping up and down with excitement when I got the call saying I had won. My dad tells me that there was also some hysterical laughing, followed by short bursts of truly awful singing, though it appears I have blocked that from my memory.

Out of the shortlist, and besides yourself, who would you have chosen as the winner and why?

My favourite entry, all the way through, was Christine Lovelace's "If I Had a Clawhammer". I laughed every time I read it! Part of that is due to an inside joke I have with my mother, and the other part is just because of the hilarious way it was written, and the topic itself. I thought it was brilliant, and I truly felt like it was going to win. 

What's the first thing you'll do with your new iPad 2?

The first thing I will do will be to install a passcode lock on it (probably the same one as on my iPod, so that I can actually remember it). If I don't, my brother will probably make one for me, and conveniently forget to tell me what it is. Other than that, I am planning on staring at the iPad in awe, and maybe framing it. Oh, and possibly putting some music on it, if I get around to that.

Brianne's winning entry: 

"So What If I Waddle?" by Brianne Morgan
Speaking out for the first time about the trials and tribulations of being raised by penguins, Brianne Morgan delivers a heart-wrenchingly sarcastic account of the stereotypes and misconceptions that contemporary society has against the tuxedo-wearing waddlers of Antarctica.

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