CBC Literary Prizes

Another Girl by Nayana Suchak

Nayana Suchak has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Another Girl.  

2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist

Nayana Suchak is a poet and family physician who lives in Toronto. (Nageen Hameed)

Nayana Suchak has made the 2019 CBC Poetry Prize longlist for Another Girl.

The winner of the 2019 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 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. 14, 2019. The winner will be announced on Nov. 21, 2019.

About Nayana

Nayana Suchak writes poetry, creative nonfiction and fiction mostly within the confines of a group of supportive friends and writers. Her family immigrated to Canada from East Africa in the early 1970s. She grew up and completed university in Winnipeg and now calls Toronto her home. She works as a family physician in Markham, Ont.

Entry in five-ish words

Girl, Woman, Lessons: Explicit, Implicit.

The poem's source of inspiration

"I read Jamaica Kincaid's Girl, which was published in 1976, in a creative writing course at University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies. I was so moved, that I immediately sat down to write my own version: Another Girl. This poem describes the messages and lessons imparted to me, from my family, my community and society, as I grew up in the prairies."

First lines

(for Jamaica Kincaid)

     This is how you keep a child's hands safe from the wind-chill: attach her mittens to a
long piece of yarn and thread them through the sleeves. This is how you get a child to eat: slice a
banana, sprinkle it in sugar, and roll it up in a chapatti. This is how you use only your right hand
to eat. Using both is uncivilized.

      Study. This is how you get ahead in life, being brown is a no advantage.

      This is how you fold a samosa, and make the glue that holds it all together. Wrap it tight,
or it will come apart in the bubbling, boiling, oil. Be careful! This is how your grandmother died,
burning in her sari.

In Partnership With

Comments

To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.