B.C. poet Susan Alexander wins $20K Mitchell Prize for poetry that explores religious faith

Alexander's poem Virgil was selected from 250 submissions. Her work has been featured on the bus in Vancouver’s Poetry in Transit.
Susan Alexander is a poet and author from Bowen Island, B.C. (Emily Angus)

B.C. poet Susan Alexander has won the 2019 Mitchell Prize.

The $20,000 prize is awarded every other year and recognizes poetry that explores religious faith.

The jury was comprised of Lorna Goodison, Chelene Knight and Scott Cairns.

"Vigil is an outstanding collection that is highly deserving of first place," Goodison said in a press statement. "The writer is a talented and accomplished poet who handles the language of poetry with great authority and the reader gets a strong sense that this is a voice rich in experience and wisdom."

Alexander's work has been featured on the bus in Vancouver's Poetry in Transit. She also previously won the 2016 Short Grain poetry prize and the 2015 Vancouver Writers' Festival Contest. She was longlisted for the 2018 CBC Poetry Prize.

Alexander's Vigil was selected from 250 submissions.

Liz Harmer of Hamilton, Ont., was the runner-up. She won $5,000 for her poetry collection A Long Engagement.

The three other finalists were Chantel Lavoie, Heidi Garnett and Benjamin Hertwig

The Mitchell Prize was founded in 2016 by the think tank Cardus, which is "dedicated to the renewal of North American social architecture."

All finalists will have their work considered for publication in the arts journal Image, which is also supported by Cardus.

The previous iteration of the prize awarded short story and poetry. The winners were Ontario-based poet Rowda Mohamud and Calgary-based short story writer Brandon Trotter.


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