CBC Literary Prizes

Blue Desk by Kathryn Edgecombe

Kathryn Edgecombe has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Blue Desk.

2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Kathryn Edgecombe is a writer from Hanover, Ont. (Tony Luciani)

Kathryn Edgecombe has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Blue Desk.

The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and will have their work published by CBC Books.

Four finalists will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have their work published by CBC Books.

The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 24. The winner will be announced on Oct. 1.

About Kathryn

Kathryn Edgecombe started working in a factory at 16 and explored several careers before sharing her love of language as a Grade 7 teacher. Her passion for learning first led her to community college, then to the University of Guelph and finally to Lakehead University for a teaching degree. She retired after 17 years in the classroom in order to focus on writing. She has published two full-length books of poetry and a number of short stories. One story from her memoir won the Eden Mills Writers' Festival's nonfiction prize. She has been published in numerous anthologies and was shortlisted for poet laureate of Owen Sound.

Author Kathryn Edgecombe discusses her story Blue Desk, which made the long list for the CBC non-fiction prize. The former Waterloo region teacher also offers some tips to other people who may be mulling over a story in their mind but haven't written it down. 6:20

Entry in five-ish words

"First narrative in my memoir."

The story's source of inspiration

"I am writing a memoir about how war affects the warrior and then how the PTSD they endure is passed down through generations. This is the first story in that memoir.

"Around time of the incident portrayed in this story, I had read the book The Diary of Anne Frank and realized I wanted to be writer. I also saw first-hand what war did to families."

First lines

1945  

The war ended.
Men returned as strangers,
creeping back to their wives like fugitives.
Concealing who they'd become
— even from themselves.
Their memories warped by images
no one could comprehend.

1957 

The room at the top of the stairs I share with my four-year-old sister has a sloping ceiling that is painted sky blue. A double bed is tucked into a corner under the eaves and a dark brown wooden dresser stands across from the bed. On the other side of the room sits an old roll-top desk without the roll-top. It is painted the same blue as the walls and sort of disappears. Lots of other colours peek through the chipped paint. The desk was here when we moved into the rented house. I love the desk, and its little shelves and drawers where I keep my treasures.  

About the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2020 CBC Nonfiction 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 the 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 2021 CBC Short Story Prize is currently open for submissions. The 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2021 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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