Young writers from Victoria, Edmonton and Toronto are finalists for the Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers, given to writers under age 35 who have not yet published a book.

Each of the writers submitted short fiction to qualify for the award, named for the late Kingston, Ont.-based author Bronwen Wallace, who was a mentor for many young writers.

The finalists are:

  • Marjorie Celona, 27, of Victoria, for Othello. She has a degree in creative writing from the University of Victoria and is studying at the Iowa Writers' Workshop.
  • Ben Lof, 29, of Edmonton, for When in the Field with Her at His Back. He has a master's degree from the University of Alberta.
  • Grace O'Connell, 23, of Toronto, for The Bottlenecks. She has been published in Strong Words 2 and Lichen Arts & Letters Preview.

They each win $1,000 cash and the winner, to be announced Jan. 15,  takes a prize package valued at $5,000.

The award package was recently increased with a sponsorship from Royal Bank, according to the Writers Trust of Canada, organizer of the award.

The award, presented for the first time in 1994, alternates each year between poetry and short fiction. Past winners include Michael Crummey, Alissa York and Jeramy Dodds.