CBC Literary Prizes

April 1977, Cape Breton by Pamela Tarlow-Calder

Pamela Tarlow-Calder has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for April 1977, Cape Breton.

2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Pamela Tarlow-Calder is a White Rock, B.C.,-based writer. (Walker Jennings)

Pamela Tarlow-Calder has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for April 1977, Cape Breton.

About Pamela

Pamela Tarlow-Calder's writing has appeared in ROOM, filling Station, Binnacle, Dylan Days Anthology, BC Parent, Thrive and various art education journals and study guides. She won first prize in the Surrey International Writers' Conference Poetry Contest and is currently working on her first poetry chapbook, Finder's Blue. She has a BA in art education from the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design and an MA in art education from the University of British Columbia. Tarlow-Calder has also worked for many years within the museum education community. She lives in White Rock, B.C., with her son and family of siamese appleheads.

Entry in five-ish words

Exploration of displacement and loss.

The story's source of inspiration

"Several years ago, on a drive from Vancouver to White Rock, two friends and I told each other our virginity stories. We ended up talking in the car for hours about how those experiences shaped our lives and relationships on so many levels. We put ads in Craigslist, the Globe and Mail and the London Times and invited women to submit their virginity stories for a compilation called the Virginity Book. Stories poured in — compelling, sad, hilarious, terrifying, wonderful — all powerful. We added our own stories as well. A few publishers contacted us, and we worked on it with a lot of passion until life interfered and the book project dropped away."

First lines

  "I've tried everything to make my period come. Jogging, jumping jacks, ginger tea until my bladder almost burst, tons of celery, king-size Du Maurier's with the filters cut off. Not even a spot of discharge. Stress can shut your body down, right? And I've got plenty to be stressed out about — the prophesy, Father McPhee, losing my virginity, my best friend, and Donnie too. Get real — I never had him anyway."

About the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their story published on CBC Books and attend a 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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