Allergic to Food by Sarah Lord
2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist
Sarah Lord has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Allergic to Food.
The shortlist will be announced on April 15. The winner will be announced on April 22.
Sarah Lord is a writer of introspective prose themed around queer becoming, healing and resilience. She is published in Minola Review and Black Bear Review and was longlisted for a fiction prize in Room Magazine. She has a BA from Trent University and has authored research reports featuring narrative and culture. She is studying creative writing and working on her first novel in New Denver, B.C.
Entry in five-ish words
When sustenance is a saboteur.
The story's source of inspiration
"I kept thinking while it's almost impossible to eat ethically and cleanly, what would it mean to try? More broadly, I was curious about how we maintain relationships when there is so much to fear in the world."
The first time it happened, my mom made a falling-apart brisket and seven-layer salad with a rich mayonnaise dressing to celebrate my acceptance into graduate studies. My stepfather, David, murmured, "Joyce, you've outdone yourself," three times as we ate. My mom nodded with satisfaction, pulling at her allotted meat. Later, she brought out pie with Miracle Whip dolloped high and coffee for herself. I stuffed myself until I felt pressure in my throat.
When I noticed a glob of whipped topping dripping from David's chin, I felt a throbbing in my gut. As David wiped his ashen mustache, I ran to the bathroom and expelled the meal. Sweaty and empty, I rinsed with toothpaste, thinking of girls in undergrad who masked heaving sounds with flushing. I wasn't like them; I joined an anarchist feminist crew. We wore tattered clothing with hand-sewn patches and didn't shave or complain if our bellies drooped over our belts; my "angry stinky" phase.
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.