CBC Literary Prizes

All the Clutter and All the Space by Richard Upton

Richard Upton has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for All the Clutter and All the Space.

2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Richard Upton is a writer based in Toronto, Ont. (Courtesy of Richard Upton)

Richard Upton has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for All the Clutter and All the Space.

About Richard

Richard Upton was born and raised in London, Ont. He attended Western University before moving to Toronto, where he has lived and worked since. He's currently working on his first novel, a little sci-fi gem that's taking quite a while to complete.

Entry in five-ish words

Clutter between two distant sisters.

The story's source of inspiration

"I still have a few boxes of things that belonged to my Mom. She passed away a few years ago, and she was beyond awesome. It's a bizarre experience boxing up the things of someone you love, so I guess this story came out of that. I wanted to write about our relationships with all the stuff we buy and own. People can hoard and be greedy and get in fist fights on Black Friday, but we can also donate when we no longer need something and laugh when a new shirt gets stained because in the end, it's all boxed up and temporary. I don't know where the two sisters in the story came from, but I guess they were born to reflect the two extremes."

First lines

Turns out Dad had a secret. He was a hoarder.

It was never obvious. Wasn't like you stumbled through piles of magazines and coat hangers to get from the living room to the kitchen. He was a closet case. I had all the evidence on the front lawn. Boxes, bins, stacks of clothes and mysterious trinkets. A mountain of crap, formed over a lifetime but discreetly scattered in every corner and shelf and closet. Always thought he was a simple man  cigarettes, whiskey, ball games and daughters to curse at. I lugged his rubbish outside myself. A two day job had taken five.

I made two piles.  One was donations, the other for the dump. Katie requested I make a special pile just for her but she was out west and I wasn't feeling charitable. I worked to schedule, with robotic efficiency. Shunned attachment and nostalgia, discarded every item that wasn't necessary for the eternal nourishment of my soul.

About the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize

The winner of the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have their story published on CBC Books and will have the opportunity to attend a 10-day 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 story published on CBC Books


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