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:
“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.”
Photo credit: Susan Buie