Books

John Elizabeth Stintzi wins $10K RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for emerging writers

The prize, which alternates between poetry and short story each year, recognizes writers under 35 years of age who have yet to publish a book.
John Elizabeth Stintzi poses with The Next Chapter host Shelagh Rogers after winning the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for emerging writers. (CBC)

John Elizabeth Stintzi has won the 2019 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for emerging writers for their work Selections From Junebat.

The $10,000 prize, which alternates between poetry and short story each year, recognizes writers under 35 years of age who have yet to publish a book.

The 2019 award is recognizing poetry. The award was given out at an event in Toronto on May 28, 2019, hosted by CBC Radio's Shelagh Rogers. 

Following the ceremony Stintzi spoke about what it means to win the award.

"It's so very humbling and I'm so grateful," they said. "I still don't quite believe it to be honest."

Stintzi also said that the win is validation for more than just their writing.

"It's done a lot for me spiritually. All of these poems are about my gender identity and it's something that I've been thinking about and questioning and working on a lot. So the award is also, weirdly enough, validating my identity and the work that I'm doing."

The annual prize was established by the Writers' Trust of Canada to help up-and-coming writers make the leap from emerging to established.

Stintzi is a non-binary writer and visual artist from northwestern Ontario. The novelist, poet, teacher and visual artist lives in Kansas City, Mo.

The jury panel of Jordan Abel, Sue Goyette and Emma Healey chose the three finalists from 212 anonymous works of poetry.

"Selections from Junebat is a compelling collision of content and form disrupting gender identity and reckoning with the liminal and silent space that such disruption instigates," the jury said in a statement. "This reckoning and reclamation of self asks readers to consider their own concepts of gender and the difficulties that are faced when gender norms are disrupted. These are brave and timely poems."

You can read Selections from Junebat and the other finalists' work on the Writers' Trust of Canada website.

The other finalists were Rebecca Salazar and Ellie Sawatzky.

Past winners of the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award include Maria Reva, Michael Crummey, Alison Pick and Alissa York.

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