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Creative Nonfiction Prize

The CBC Creative nonfiction Prize is now open!

With the launch of the CBC Creative Nonfiction prize, Canada Writes editor Jennifer Warren serves up some truth and inspiration.

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The CBC Creative Nonfiction Prize is now open, and that's got us all at Canada Writes thinking about the importance of the "creative" in the "nonfiction." 

What makes a true story compelling? For me, it's as much about the storyteller as the story being told. One of my greatest Canadian writing heroes is the late Edna Staebler, who's probably best known for her 1968 cookbook Food that Really Schmecks. (Full disclosure - it contains possibly the best banana-bread recipe ever. Almond extract - who knew?) 

As well as being one of the best food writers this country has ever known, Edna Staebler was also an esteemed journalist and nonfiction writer who was renowned for her keen interest and curiosity. In 1928, she wrote the following in her diary:

"Interest is everything."

To me, this is the essence of what makes nonfiction creative. If a story is interesting to you, then it's probably an interesting story. 

Now, as for the craft of conveying this interest? We've got some pointers.

  • First, some excerpts from the books that have made the finals of this year's Canada Reads: True Stories.
  • Second, some writing tips from some of the nonfiction authors nominated for Canada Reads, like Ken Dryden and Margaret MacMillan.
Feeling inspired? Good. Now get writing and tell your story.

--Jennifer Warren
Editor, Canada Writes 

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