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Joelle Barron, Lindsay Nixon, Casey Plett named finalists for $5K LGBTQ emerging writers prize

The Dayne Ogilvie Prize is awarded annually to a promising writer who identifies as gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender or queer.
Joelle Barron, Lindsay Nixon and Casey Plett are the three finalists for the 2019 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. (Submitted by Writers' Trust)

Joelle Barron, Lindsay Nixon and Casey Plett have been nominated for the Writers' Trust of Canada's $5,000 Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ emerging writers.

This annual award, which has increased the prize money by $1,000 for 2019, is given to a promising writer who identifies as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender or queer. 

The 2019 finalists were selected by a jury composed of two previous prize winners: novelist and filmmaker Amber Dawn and author and performance artist Kai Cheng Thom.

Barron's work has been published in literary journals across Canada. Their first full-length poetry collection, Ritual Lights, was published in 2018.

"Barron understands that poetry can be a bright witness," the jury said in a statement. "In this current age of trauma-informed literature, Barron not only broadens the vital conversation, they remind us that challenging content can be crafted into lasting lyrical testaments."

Nixon is a Cree-Métis-Saulteaux curator, editor and writer. Their memoir, nîtisânak, was published in 2018. Their writing has appeared in The Walrus, Malahat Review, Room, and Teen Vogue. Nixon is currently a PhD student in art history at McGill University.

"Nixon is a new, vital voice for queercore culture, ancestral and chosen family inheritances, sex and kink positivity, and Cree and prairie wisdom," the jury said in a statement.

Plett is a Windsor, Ont.-based writer, poet and publicist originally from Winnipeg. In 2015, she won the Lambda Literary Award for transgender fiction for her debut short story collection, A Safe Girl to Love. Her debut novel, Little Fish, is currently a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award.

"Plett challenges us to see the lives of the trans women, sex workers, and other marginalized people she writes about with greater clarity and depth: a lasting gift that will leave its mark on Canadian and LGBTQ literature," the jury said.

The winner will be announced on June 1, 2019 at the OnWords conference in Halifax. 

Last year's winner was poet Ben Ladouceur. Other previous winners include Farzana Doctor, Zoe Whittall and Tamai Kobayashi.

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