Canada Writes

Canada Writes Blog

This year’s contestants tell us about their experiences with the game so far.

East

Margaret Beach (East York, ON)
Margaret Beach

Eastern Finalist 09

(April 27, 2009) Before Canada Writes, the only thing I excelled at was having babies. Number 1 arrived in only five hours. I didn’t even break a sweat. I had the knack. Right down to the last one. I squoze her out in two hours while painting a watercolour with the rest of my family watching and eating the homemade bread I baked myself before walking to the hospital.

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Kaveh Mohebbi (Toronto, ON)
Kaveh Mohebbi

Eastern Finalist 09

(April 27, 2009) I've learned now, that life is what happens to a writer between writing contests and drafts. Alas, as the sun sets on Canada Writes, I bid adieu to the cast and crew of GO! and feel an array of emotions: happiness and bliss for making it to the final round, yet humble sadness for not being crowned Mr. Canada Writes (ha ha ha). But I feel an overall sense of pride and accomplishment for having made it as far as I did, and the endless support from friends and family doesn't hurt either.

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Charles Mancini (Dartmouth, NS)
Charles Mancini

Eastern semi-finalist 09

(March 6, 2009) In a vain attempt to disguise my all-too-evident hangover one Saturday morning, I found myself up and at it, cleaning my room as I listened to the echoes of CBC Radio as it traveled down the hallway from my parents' room. Normally I'd have my own AM/FM radio tuned in, but I went out west last summer for work and returned to find my room ransacked and my alarm clock/radio (among many other things) in the possession of my youngest sister.

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Sarah Mian (Halifax, NS)
Sarah Mian

Eastern semi-finalist 09

(March 16, 2009) First contestant to get the trap door? ME?? Well, it happened. Was it my superfluous nod to hallucinogenic drugs or my lack of references to winter, Tim Hortons, Stephen Harper, Molson Canadian, the recession and/or Rex Murphy, all of which my fellow contestants managed to slide in the net like hockey pucks? Kidding aside, I do wonder how I'd have fared in the pressure pot of the lightning rounds. From the lonely oubliette, I played along with the micro-story challenge and in sixty seconds of real time came up with:

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West

Laurie Schwartz (Banff, AB)
Laurie Schwartz

Western Finalist 09

(April 27, 2009) Toronto. A far cry from the crisp mountain air of Banff. A thrumming mass of humanity fuelled by caffeine and street meat. The final showdown of Canada Writes 2009.

The main thing that I will take home from this experience (aside from a swell prize) is pride. Not so much for myself, but for the amazing talent that we have all across this country. It was thrilling to meet all of the other finalists. In true Canuck fashion, we were all genuinely supportive of each other, and commiserated about the crazy thing we were putting ourselves through.

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Katie Sanders (Nelson, BC)
Kaveh Mohebbi

Winner Canada Writes 09

(April 27, 2009) Canada Writes Finals! …It’s hard to know how to wrap this up. I’m having trouble remembering what it feels like to live without the constant stress and excitement of the Canada Writes competition. To be truthful, I know I’m going to miss it. I’m going to miss the random practice challenges from friends and family. I’m certainly going to miss the king size bed in my hotel room in Toronto…

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Kevin Flesher (Drumheller, AB)
Kaveh Mohebbi

Western semi-finalist 09

(April 6, 2009) The Canada writes trip and show was epic. Amazing, everyone was very sweet and it was a great experience.

I don't think I have ever been so nervous as when I was waiting to see if I would go down that trap door, Katie can attest to the fact that my hands were as cold and clammy as a freshly shucked oyster. David was quite content to leave the show first, like Obi Wan Kenobi being struck down to become more powerful than ever. I was pretty happy with how my song went, I thought it could be the theme song to a Canadian sci fi series with props made out of old cardboard boxes.

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David Tracey (Vancouver, BC)
David Tracey

Western semi-finalist 09

(April 6, 2009) It takes a big man to admit his mistakes. That's why I’m blaming my loss on someone else: ABBA.

I was fine until we reached the music challenge. I had to rewrite the lyrics to “Waterloo.” How many times did I listen to that profoundly annoying tune, trying to replace, “Oh yeah, and I have met my destiny in quite a similar way.”

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How It Works

  1. Write In!

    Out of hundreds and hundreds of entries, just twenty Canadians made it to the Short List and won themselves an audition with Canada Writes. Then eight semi-finalists were picked to play in the Eastern semi-finals and Western/Northern semi-finals.

    Read their winning songs, blogs, ads, rants and movie pitches!

  2. Tune In… or Join Us!

    On March 14th and April 4th, tune in to GO! on CBC Radio One at 10 am (10:30 am NT) for the Eastern and Western/Northern semi-final games in Halifax and Vancouver. The finals will be held in Toronto on April 18th. Or join us at any of the three shows to root for the contestants in person. Go to cbc.ca/go for tickets.

  3. Play Online!

    The Canada Writes 09 Online Challenge is now over. Thanks for playing!

Updates

(Toronto, April 25, 2009)

Canada Writes Finalists

It was a very tight race in the end. Our four finalists fought it out by blog, song, ad and a three-line story. First, they each drew a blog topic, from “the best hundred dollars I ever spent” to “one fact I would like to ‘un-know’”. Challenge number 2 was to re-write a song by Queen, with Valerie Stanois from the musical We Will Rock You bringing power vocals to their surprising new words. Then judges Geri Hall, Terry O’Reilly and Darrell Dennis sent Kaveh Mohebbi through the infamous Trap Door. Challenge number 3 was the radio ad. Clever ads for Cornhobbler’s Crematorium and Juice Bar (obviously not a real business) and Christmas greetings from the makers of Flank Chainsaws won Katie Sanders and Laurie Schwartz a last chance at writing glory, but it was Margaret Beach’s turn to go through the Trap Door. Finally, Laurie and Katie had to come up with the first two lines of a three-line story… on yellow writing pads on their laps…and in 90 seconds….

After weeks of effort and tension and achievement -- from the writing contest in January, through the auditions, the short list, the semi-finals and the finals – it was all over in a couple of minutes. Katie pulled ahead by a crucial point -- and became the winner of Canada Writes 09! Listen to the show! Read the blogs!

Canada Writes Judges

For more photos, go to http://www.cbc.ca/go/photogallery.html.

Winner of the Online Challenge! Ontario's Heather Smith is the winner of this year's People's Choice Award. Her winning entry was a re-write of the ABBA song 'Waterloo.' Take a look!