Where are they now?
Where are they now: Challenge winner Brianne Morgan
As we approach the first anniversary of Canada Writes, we're checking in with our inaugural "Hall of Famers"—the winners of our first year's worth of writing challenges. First up: Brianne Morgan, the winner of our Autobiography Challenge held last August.
What's new with you these days?
Well, I'm a teenage girl, so everything around me is overly dramatic, giggly, and a little bit psychotic. I've spent most of my summer working, watching the Olympics, reading, and playing Civilization: The Board Game. I've also become quite adept at making bracelets and origami cranes, two skills which will be very useful to me later on in life. I got to participate in all the traditional graduating-high-school rituals (hat throwing, prom-enading, forking over tons of money to go to school next year) and that was all fairly exciting, though I am very glad to be done with it all.
Last year, you were finishing up your final year of high school. What are your plans for the coming year?
In less than a month, I'll be heading to Trent University in Peterborough to study Forensic Science. I love Peterborough; it's a beautiful town, and I'm extremely excited.
How's the writing been going?
Right now, I've been quite busy with preparing to go off to school, and working, and all of that stuff, so I haven't really written much since summer started. However, during the school year I became very preoccupied with writing poetry (so much so that most of my calculus notebook was filled with poems and poetry scraps instead of equations and formulas), which is something I've always had difficulty with. I think I'm getting better though, so I'm very happy about that. I've filled several more notebooks with short stories, endings of stories, and quotes that could potentially go in a story, so I'm going to have to go to Chapters soon and stock up on more environmentally friendly journals before school starts, even though my mother tells me I will hardly have any free time in university.
How did winning the Autobiography Challenge affect your writing, and how you felt about writing?
Even though it was only 55 words, winning the Autobiography Challenge gave me so much more confidence in my writing. I've actually been allowing certain people to read some of the things I've written lately, which is a very big deal for me as I've always kept my notebooks locked away under my bed before, where absolutely no one could find them. It's also made me write more, which I think has helped me improve a lot.
Have you entered any other Canada Writes challenges since, or kept up with what's been going on?
I have definitely been keeping up with the other Canada Writes challenges, and I have written pieces for a few of them, though I've haven't submitted any. I kept missing the deadlines, or throwing out what I had written, or (in the case of the Crime Month challenge, which I wrote on receipt paper at work) losing my entries. But, even though I haven't been entering them, I think the challenges are really fun to do, and they've given me some great ideas on other things I can write about.
What about the CBC Literary Prizes? Have you submitted, or thought about submitting?
I did actually write a story for the CBC Short Story Prize, but again, decided against submitting it. I wanted to spend a little more time with it, and have it edited before I did anything with it. I might submit it this year, or perhaps I'll write something else. I would like to say though, that Daniel Karasik's story, "Mine," was brilliant, and definitely deserving of the first place prize. I've actually printed it out, and have pasted in into my "Writer's Block Removal" notebook, because I find it so inspiring.
What have you been doing with your iPad 2?
Well, right now I'm using it to answer this Q&A! I also use it for browsing the Internet, listening to music, watching videos, that sort of thing. I've gotten it a handy carrying case now too, so it pretty much comes with me everywhere, including Peterborough in a few weeks.
When you won the challenge, you were concerned about your brother hacking into your iPad 2. Did that fear materialize?
He's been pretty good about that actually, or at least, he's pretty good at hiding the evidence that he uses it. I think he occasionally plays games on it, but it doesn't appear to be any worse for the wear, so that's good.
Read Q&As with other writing challenge Hall of Famers: