Achimenes II by Mélisandre Schofield
2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist
Melisandre Schofield has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Achimenes II.
The shortlist will be announced on April 15. The winner will be announced on April 22.
Mélisandre's background is in visual arts. Her work consists of writing that oscillates between literature and media arts. Through her involvement with Lafin (the Liberal Arts Fictional Institute of Narrative: a fictional collective of artists and researchers), she has designed a series of poetic dream experiments, volunteered as an archivist, and written the novel Melancholy's Satellites, which is currently in final revision. She has also recently begun searching for a publisher for her novel Sky Paint.
Entry in five-ish words
Another writer published my story.
The story's source of inspiration
"I often bask in the vague memory of a story by Jorge Luis Borges, The Library of Babel, in which every book imaginable and each of its possible variations exist — some with only a comma removed, or a few words shifted. When I started writing Achimenes II, I was thinking about this decision to write, when the thing you're writing might already have been written in a thousand variations… and the loneliness of writing, and how that loneliness might shift, if you met the person who was writing the work right next to yours in Borges' Library of Babel."
Less than a week ago, I was standing near a magazine rack, flipping through a literary journal, when I recognized a title in the table of contents: "Achimenes." It was a title I had been considering for a short story I had just finished writing that very morning. Not a great work, but a solid attempt. Achimenes is a genus of plants with trumpet shaped flowers, sometimes called widow's tears. It is also an unorthodox anagram of mechanism which is where my story took root.
The winner of the 2020 CBC Short Story 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 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.