Books

5 emerging Canadian writers named 2020 Writers' Trust Rising Stars

The annual program recognizes five authors in the early stages of their careers, highlights their work and awards them $5,000 to support their careers. 

They will receive $5,000, a writing residency and will be mentored by an established Canadian author

Canisia Lubrin, Carleigh Baker, Lorax B. Horne, Troy Sebastian and Laura Trethewey are 2020 Writers' Trust of Canada rising stars. (Submitted by the Writers' Trust of Canada)

Canisia Lubrin, Carleigh Baker, Lorax B. Horne, Troy Sebastian and Laura Trethewey are this year's Writers' Trust Rising Stars.

The annual program, launched in 2019, recognizes five authors in the early stages of their careers, highlights their work and awards them $5,000 to support their careers. 

The emerging writers are each chosen by five notable Canadian authors, who also serve as their mentor.

The recipients will participate in a series of career development and networking events and also have an opportunity to attend a two-week self-directed writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

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

Lubrin, a writer, editor and teacher from Whitby, Ont., was chosen by novelist and playwright Anosh Irani.

"Encountering Canisia Lubrin's work is like suddenly being thrown into terrain that is both sombre and uplifting, unearthly and grounded at the same time. Her landscapes — physical, linguistic, and psychological — displace you in ways that are disturbing yet delightful," said Irani in a press release.

Lubrin's debut poetry collection Voodoo Hypothesis was named one of the best poetry collections of 2017 by CBC Books. It was longlisted for the Gerald Lambert Award and the Pat Lowther Award and was a finalist for the Raymond Souster Award.

Her second collection,The Dyzgraphxst, was published in March 2020. 

Baker is a nêhiyaw âpihtawikosisân/Icelandic writer from Vancouver. She was selected by novelist Thomas King.

"Baker is blessed with an exacting eye for the disturbing and humorous detail and an ability to hear pain and sorrow, joy and delight, a rare talent who can make you smile and cringe and think in the same sentence," said King in the release.

Baker's debut short story collection Bad Endings won the City of Vancouver Book Award in 2017 and was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize and the Emerging Indigenous Voices Award for fiction. 

She is currently completing her novel,The Matriarchs.

Horne is a journalist based in Dartmouth, N.S. and was selected by journalist Rachel Giese.

"What binds this work is Horne's propulsive desire to better understand themselves and others, and the systems and technologies that shape how we live. At a time of such uncertainty and upheaval, Horne's voice feels more vital than ever," said Giese in the release. 

Their work has appeared in The Guardian, Newsweek, CBC, Maisonneuve, the Globe and Mail and Elle Canada. They were recently named editor-in-chief for Distributed Denial of Secrets, a publishing collective that promotes the free transmission of data in the public interest.

Sebastian is a Ktunaxa writer working in fiction, nonfiction, poetry and film. He was chosen by novelist and journalist Lynn Coady.

"Everything about the work of Troy Sebastian feels original. His unpredictable structure, his extraordinary characters, his way with a completely unanticipated metaphor. You get the sense of a writer burrowing deep inside his own experience, history and culture, fitting together the discarded fragments and treasures he finds along the way, until he emerges with something familiar yet utterly fresh — utterly dazzling," said Coady in the release.

Sebastian's writing has been published in The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire and Ktuqckakyam. He is a recipient of the 2017 Hnatyshyn Reveal Indigenous Arts Award and graduate of the Indigenous Writers Program at the Banff Centre.

His story Tax-Niʔ-Pik̓ak (A Long Time Ago) was longlisted for the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize and the Journey Prize. It was first published in the Walrus and appeared in the anthology Best Canadian Stories 2019.

Sebastian is completing his first novel.

Trethewey, a Toronto-raised, San Diego-based environmental journalist, was selected by poet Rosemary Sullivan.

She writes about travel, technology, sustainability and community. She published a collection of nonfiction essays, The Imperilled Ocean in February 2020. 

"Her writing has an urgency because she knows our human survival is at stake. Trethewey sets an example of the kind of fervent and heartfelt writing about our environment that we need now if we are to save our world," said Sullivan in the release. 

Her writing has appeared in Smithsonian Magazine, Hakai Magazine, The Walrus, and other online and print publications. 

The Writers' Trust plans to gather the 2020 Rising Stars for a series of professional and social events later this year, either in person or online. 

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