CBCBooks on  Twitter CBCBooks on Facebook

CBC Short Story Prize

How writing began for Jane Eaton Hamilton


Jane Eaton Hamilton is the winner of the 2014 CBC Short Story Prize for her story "Smiley", about a child's gender issues against a backdrop of poverty. But this is by no means her first time up to bat. Jane won the prize in 2003 for her short story "The Lost Boy," and her other publications include two books of poetry, Body Rain and Steam-Cleaning Love, and two volumes of short fiction, July Nights and Other Stories and Hunger.

But Jane didn't take the direct route to writing. In our Q&A with Jane, she said "I wanted to be what I still want to be: a zoologist working on animal communication. Writing was what I got to be instead when I became too sick to go back to school in my early thirties."

In one of her blog posts, she describes how she came to writing:

For-Colored-Girls-Who-Have-Considered-Suicide-When-the-Rainbow-is-Enuf-Playbill-11-76.jpg “It was spring semester, my last year of undergrad, and I didn’t sign up for classes. I thought I ought to see the shows on and off Broadway in the two weeks before I flew out, and then go north to visit my mother in Canada, and my brother in Vancouver, en route. I saw dozens of plays, and I finally saw, by accident, For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide But the Rainbow Was Enuf by Ntozake Shange, and when I stepped blinking back into daylight, gobsmacked, I was a writer. I could have walked right back into my going-along life, but because of Shange’s stirring words, everything changed, and I walked out a writer. At first, I just made myself write a poem a day for six months to making writing habitual, then I started writing the poems and stories that would eventually become my books.”

("Writing - how it began." July 30, 2013)

Photo credit: Susan Buie


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Submission Policy

Note: The CBC does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comments, you acknowledge that CBC has the right to reproduce, broadcast and publicize those comments or any part thereof in any manner whatsoever. Please note that comments are moderated and published according to our submission guidelines.

?set count down final date: 03/02/2015?set count up final date: 03/02/2015?show ENTER NOW menu 0?