5 Canadian emerging writers named Writer's Trust 2021 Rising Stars

Each writer will receive $5,000, a mentorship opportunity and a writing residency at the Banff Centre.

Each writer will receive $5,000, a mentorship opportunity and a writing residency at the Banff Centre

From left: Eddy Boudel Tan, Djamila Ibrahim, Keriann McGoogan, Amanda Peters and Rebecca Thomas are the 2021 Writers' Trust Rising Stars. (Writers' Trust of Canada)

Eddy Boudel Tan, Djamila Ibrahim, Keriann McGoogan, Amanda Peters and Rebecca Thomas are the 2021 Writers' Trust of Canada's Rising Stars.

Launched in 2019, the Rising Stars program is a career development initiative for early career Canadian writers. Each year, five exceptional emerging authors are selected and mentored by prominent Canadian authors.

The recipients will also participate in a series of career development events and a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre of Arts and Creativity.

The Banff Centre is a partner of the CBC Literary Prizes.

Boudel Tan has authored two novels — After Elias and The Rebellious Tide. He is currently writing a third one.

Based in Vancouver, Boudel Tan is also the co-founder of the Sidewalk Supper Project, which serves home-cooked meals to unhoused people.

Boudel Tan was selected by Brian Francis.

"You can see it beating in his language, sense it pulsing beneath his characters' skins, and feel it breaking in the lives he lays bare in his novels," Francis said in a press statement.

Ibrahim was selected by Lawrence Hill. Heading Somewhere, a story from her debut story collection Things Are Good Now, was anthologized in The Penguin Book of Migration Literature in 2019.

A creative writing graduate from the University of Toronto of Continuing Studies, Ibrahim has received recognition for her stories and poems.

"Djamila Ibrahim's writing is clear, honest, and grounded in a mature vision of lives rooted and uprooted in North America, the Middle East, and East Africa," Hill said in a statement.

Keriann McGoogan is a primatologist and board member for Planet Madagascar. She is the author of Chasing Lemurs: My Journey into the Heart of Madagascar. The book is based on her experience living and working in Madagascar. McGoogan is currently living in Guelph, Ontario and working on a manuscript recounting her study on wild primates. 

McGoogan was selected by Deborah Campbell.

"Working in some of the remotest places on earth, she shows courage and resourcefulness in the face of profound obstacles, bringing back fascinating insights into culture, history, the consequences of resource extraction, and the primates whose lives hang in the balance," Campbell said in a statement.

Peters is a mixed race Mi'Kmaw/settler living in the Annapolis Valley, N. S. 

Peters is pursuing a MA creative writing at the Institute of American Indian Arts. She is also working on a collection of short fiction, Waiting for the Long Night Moon, and a novel.

Peters was was selected by Katherena Vermette. 

"Her fiction embraces generations and through it, every one of her characters comes alive in every way," Vermette said in a statement.

"They each have a unique voice and being, but somehow all feel connected, to each other, to all readers."

Another Mi'kmaw recipient, Rebecca Thomas is the daughter of a residential school survivor living in Halifax. 

Thomas is the former poet laureate of Halifax. Her debut poetry collection, I place you into the fire, came out in 2020. She is currently working on her first novel and her second collection of poetry, which tells the story of how a traumatized child navigates interpersonal relationships while moving into adulthood.

Sue Goyette selected Thomas for the 2021 Rising Star Program. 

"Her work is as fierce as it is tender. Humour is audacious and quick like a river and vulnerability is a source of strength, dignity," Goyette said.

The five recipients participated in a virtual live discussion and shared about their goals and creating during the pandemic. 

The Writers' Trust also plans to bring them together for a series of digital professional events later this year, providing them with networking opportunities in the Canadian publishing industry.

"Building deep connections between leading and developing Canadian authors is always important, but especially during the pandemic when so many of us are living in self-isolation," Charlie Foran, the executive director of the Writers' Trust, said in a press release. 

"The Rising Stars program is designed to spotlight tomorrow's leading literary lights. Established artists are uniquely equipped to appreciate and uncover the next generation of literary talent and help advance their careers." 

The Writers' Trust of Canada is an organization that supports Canadian writers through literary awards, fellowships, financial grants, mentorships and more. 

It gives out seven prizes in recognition of the year's best in fiction, nonfiction and short story, as well as mid-career and lifetime achievement awards.

The organization gave out more than $970,000 to support Canadian writers in 2020.

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