5 writers make the 2022 CBC Short Story Prize shortlist
The winner will be announced on April 28, 2022
Five writers from across Canada have made the 2022 CBC Short Story Prize shortlist.
The finalists are:
- Me Against Jim Bailey by Susanna Cupido (Sackville, N.B.)
- Desire Path by Jeremy Elder (Toronto)
- Dinner With Friends by Nancy Hui Sulaiman (Windsor, Ont.)
- Nesting Season by Anna Ling Kaye (Vancouver)
- Beneath the Softness of Snow by Chanel M. Sutherland (Montreal)
The remaining four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts.
All five finalists had their work published on CBC Books. You can read their stories by clicking on the links above.
This year's finalists were selected by a jury comprised of Omar El Akkad, Casey Plett and David Bergen. They will also select the winner.
Last year's winner was B.C. writer and professor Corinna Chong for her story, Kids in Kindergarten.
Get to know the 2022 CBC Short Story Prize English-language finalists below.
Susanna Cupido is a student from New Brunswick. She attends university in Halifax where she's currently completing an undergraduate degree in English and psychology. Her poem The Door won the Accenti Poetry Contest in 2021.
Why she wrote Me Against Jim Bailey: "I was inspired by the research I've done in psychology and by some of my own personal experiences around mental health and therapy. Writing this story, I was particularly interested in exploring the different ways that people who struggle with mental health might relate to each other."
I was particularly interested in exploring the different ways that people who struggle with mental health might relate to each other.
Jeremy Elder is a Toronto-based advertising copywriter and part-time aspiring poet. His personal creative writing explores his own history and aims to add to the legacy of queer literature, art, storytelling and community that has always deeply inspired him. Desire Path is his first work of personal fiction.
Why he wrote Desire Path: "I've been deeply moved by Félix González-Torres's art for years and how his partnership with Ross Laycock inspired their lives. I've thought a lot about what Felix and his cohort of queer artists, who were denied longer life by the HIV/AIDS crisis, might want us to know and remember about them a generation later. Their loss continues to impact us, and we have to work harder to go back in time and find the messages in their work to fully receive them today.
I tried to expand on the power of the queer imagination and the ways we go through the world differently.
"I wanted to combine memoir with fiction to open up their worlds through my own experience of seeing Félix's art in person for the first time. I began writing by researching Ross, who's mentioned throughout but never really given a voice of his own.
"I tried to expand on the power of the queer imagination and the ways we go through the world differently. To reflect on our unique experiences of companionship, mentorship, intimacy and sex and then take all of it one step further: to communicate backward and forward across decades, with our real and imagined selves. It's an ode to the power of art to communicate despite death, a thank you note to Félix and Ross for the ways they've enriched my life, and a love letter to my gay self and the potential of my own imagination."
Nancy Hui Sulaiman is a Chinese Canadian writer from LaSalle, Ont. She has a Honours BA from the University of Windsor in English literature and communication studies and a MA in journalism from Western University. She is currently working on writing short stories and a novel. In 2020, her story, What Fits in the Palm of Your Hand, was chosen as a runner-up in the Little Birds Contest from the Sarah Selecky Writing School.
Why she wrote Dinner With Friends: "The main trigger for this story was the use of terms like 'the Asian flu' or 'the China virus' when the pandemic first began. My inspiration came from looking for a way to understand my response to these xenophobic names used for COVID-19. Looking back, I think my writing for this story was a way for me to unravel and untangle what it is like to be a Chinese-Canadian woman in today's society.
Looking back, I think my writing for this story was a way for me to unravel and untangle what it is like to be a Chinese-Canadian woman in today's society.
"How does it feel being Chinese in a mostly white community? What makes a person Chinese? Or Canadian? And how are we disruptive and/or complicit in upholding racial stereotypes? Through my main character, Eileen Sze, I tried to explore my responses and thoughts surrounding these questions."
Anna Ling Kaye is a writer and editor based in Vancouver. Her fiction won the 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and has been shortlisted for the RBC/PEN Canada New Voices Award and the Journey Prize.
Why she wrote Nesting Season: "This story brings together themes, occurrences and images I have been collecting for years as someone who lived in Hong Kong — before and after the handover, and more recently in Vancouver. Roddy Doyle's Life Without Children was one of the first fictional pieces set during the pandemic and I wanted to respond to it from an East Asian perspective. When I realized how the 7 p.m. cheer might resonate for someone with Jeremy's background and what his worldview might have been in the early days of lockdown, the whole story gelled very quickly."
This story brings together themes, occurrences and images I have been collecting for years as someone who lived in Hong Kong — before and after the handover, and more recently in Vancouver.
Chanel M. Sutherland won the 2021 CBC Nonfiction prize for her story Umbrella and is the recipient of the 2022 Mairuth Sarsfield Mentorship, a component of the Quebec Writers' Federation Fresh Pages initiative. Born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Chanel moved to Montreal when she was 10 years old. She holds a BA in English literature from Concordia University and is currently writing her first book, a collection of short stories that explore the Black Caribbean immigrant experience.
Why she wrote Beneath the Softness of Snow: "This is a story about immigrant mothers, of which my mom was one. I was raised in St. Vincent and the Grenadines by my grandparents and didn't come to know my mother until I was 10 years old. As a child, I didn't understand the full weight of my mom's sacrifice — leaving my sister and me behind to carve a better life for all of us across the ocean.
I wanted to write a story that captured those first moments of a young mother in a foreign country, one that was hostile toward her in many ways.
"I wanted to write a story that captured those first moments of a young mother in a foreign country, one that was hostile toward her in many ways. The sisters in the story are an amalgamation of many Caribbean mothers I've met over the years. Among other things, the 'you' point of view addresses those mothers — saying, 'I see you.' In a way, it's a love letter to any mother who has had this experience."