CBC Literary Prizes

A Sichuan Diaspora Daughter's Kitchen by Yilin Wang

Yilin Wang made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist with A Sichuan Diaspora Daughter's Kitchen.

2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Yilin Wang is a writer, editor and Chinese-English translator from Vancouver. (Joy M. Kaegi Maurer)

Yilin Wang has made the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for A Sichuan Diaspora Daughter's Kitchen.

The winner of the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

The shortlist will be announced on Nov. 5 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 12.

About Yilin Wang

Yilin Wang is a writer, editor and Chinese-English translator. Her fiction, poetry and creative nonfiction have appeared in Clarkesworld, The Malahat Review, Arc Poetry Magazine, Grain, CV2, carte blanche and The Tyee. She was a finalist for the Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction and longlisted for the Peter Hinchcliffe Short Fiction Award. Wang is a member of the Clarion West Writers Workshop 2020/2021. She is currently at work on a book-length speculative fiction short story collection inspired by Chinese folklore.

Entry in five-ish words

"Subversion through cooking and dialect."

The poem's source of inspiration

"As a member of the Sichuanese diaspora, my understanding of home and language is inseparable from my love of hot and spicy food. After encountering a wave of Chinese rap songs performed in the Sichuanhua dialect, I became interested in writing a poem about how one's relationship with food, code-switching and language changes across time and distance.

My poem draws simultaneously on my struggles with home cooking and my thoughts on writing and translating as acts of reclamation and resistance.

"My poem draws simultaneously on my struggles with home cooking and my thoughts on writing and translating as acts of reclamation and resistance."

First lines

You must teach yourself how to carry loan words,
tiny seeds gifted-wrapped like hand-me-down
heirlooms as you crisscross past borders.
How do you cook a dish called 虎皮辣椒,
Hu Pi La Jiao, Tiger-Skin Hot Peppers,
when you only have bell peppers?
No planting guides exist for foreign veggies
that haven't yet grown roots and sprouted
overseas. No family recipes readied you
for the acrobatic dance of code-switching
from Sichuanhua to academic Mandarin
to every shade of English accent.

About the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize

The winner of the 2020 CBC Poetry Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for the Arts and Creativity. Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

The 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2021 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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