Namedropping Nonfiction Challenge: We have a winner!
...and a runner-up! Our judge, the inimitable JJ Lee, has pored over the hundreds of entries we received in our Namedropping Nonfiction Challenge and divulged his top two entries.
The winner of our first-ever Namedropping Nonfiction Challenge is Jennifer Goddard of Montreal, Quebec who receives an ipod Touch for her entry.
Jennifer's winning entry:
Here's what judge JJ Lee had to say about his choice:Jacqueline swallowed her saliva so she wouldn’t get dehydrated. Perhaps not the best decision, cutting hay alone. The John Deere had tipped on the incline, and here she was, a 68-year old woman with her arm pinned under a tractor, a curiosity for passing deer. Day, night, dawn. Jacqueline told God to decide: either she’d join her Jacques, who had died of Hodgins Lymphoma six months earlier, or stay with her living loved ones. Found after 22 hours, she lost the use of her left arm for the next 21 years. No matter - she lawn bowls with her right.
"Ms. Goddard recounts the dramatic tale of an accident. It contains a moment of reflection, a conversation with God, visceral details, and a poetic way of showing the passage of time. I appreciate how every detail flows from the fundamental moment. Because I hold the economic use of words paramount, I would quibble with the inclusion of numbers: 'day, night, dawn' reads more powerfully than the redundant 'after 22 hours' but who can resist the pluckiness of Jacqueline No-Last-Name, the right-handed bowler."
JJ Lee also chose this entry by Caro Rolando of Toronto, Ontario as runner-up:
When we first made eye contact, I adjusted my oversized Oakland A’s cap and glared at you. You weren’t fazed. “Wanna play cards?” you asked, in Texan twang. From there, we were inseparable. You introduced me to cornrows, Coolio, and Roald Dahl. We created friend-finding quizzes for other kids on the train, with questions like, “Are you scared of thunderstorms?” You agreed to call me “Kat,” just ‘cuz I liked the name. On the fourth night, we wanted a sleepover. But we weren’t allowed. The following morning, you were gone. Where’d you go, Jessica Garrick? I still have your book.
JJ Lee on this entry:
"I have to give kudos to Caro. In her story, her use of name-dropping rings truest among the entries submitted to me. As a school-boy, when speaking about my classmates, I used their first and last names. Megan Riggs will always be Megan Riggs. Never just Megan. So I like that quality in Caro’s submission. Plus it also reveals a keen yearning. The name feels talismanic. I suspect early mid-life crisis blended with nostalgia in the story and I identify. I believe if Caro had found another way to construct one or two active sentences without the verb 'to be', she would have emerged the winner. Regardless, I found her story outstanding."
Caro Rolando will receive a copy of Cabin Fever: The Best New Canadian Non-fiction (you can read some excerpts here) for his entry. Thanks to everyone who participated in the Namedropping Nonfiction Challenge. We will be drawing names to give away three more copies of Cabin Fever to participants, so watch your inbox.