CBC Literary Prizes

"Another Absence" by Felix Clarence Berry

Felix Clarence Berry has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "Another Absence".

2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Felix Clarence Berry lives in Winnipeg and is a SSHRC-funded scholar of kinesiology at the University of Manitoba. (K.C. Adams)

Felix Clarence Berry has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "Another Absence".

About Felix

Felix Clarence Berry is an incognito half-breed slash kaleidoscopic travesty of ocean and prairie from the Azorean Islands and Muskoday First Nation. He lives in Winnipeg and is a SSHRC-funded scholar of kinesiology at the University of Manitoba.

Entry in five-ish words

A self-imposed, ritualesque vision quest.

The story's source of inspiration

"Less inspiration, more operation. A demented objective to surgically extract a mass of somatic shame. Either way, no matter. What matters is how affected I was by this idea of absence in Indigenous communities — and not just in Canada but worldwide — with an especial interest in absent men, the neglected variable in the equation of MMIW here in Canada. Absence. There is was, a clear no-brainer. A revelation. An idea that was ripe with resentment from the get-go, an idea that expressed itself through dissidence and em dashes and endnotes — endnotes of which were either lyrical digressions or genetic unspoolings, endnotes of which first went AWOL and then went missing… srsly, I can't find them… the undertow of my Mac's anonymous documents swallowed them up the way the Red River swallows our discardable women. Absence. Excision. Omission. A zealous mission to slenderize indigent long-windedness."

First lines

"The time is now. I pray, wheedle. Dear tutelary spirit —

"Amid a barrage of unctuous thanks, credits and promises to be better, I request a clear coast at my uncle's. It is highly possible that my aunty and my cousins are beetling in and around the joint because they always are. All of them so productive in a go-go way that puzzles me. Sets me on tenterhooks. Forces me to mask inadequacies with an erratic heart rate and a pair of wide lips that adeptly stretch and secure to lobeless ears. All of which, on most days, usually leaves my charged brown ass in a dead blue funk.

"Man up, boy. The time is now."

About the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have an opportunity to attend a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their story published on CBC Books and in Air Canada enRoute magazine. Four finalists will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their story published on CBC Books

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