Literary Prizes·CBC Literary Prizes

Charlie is Surviving by Raechel Huizinga

Raechel Huizinga has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Charlie is Surviving.

2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Rachel Huizinga is an English literature major at Queen’s University. (Tessa Warburton/The Queen's Journal)

Raechel Huizinga has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Charlie is Surviving

About Raechel

Raechel grew up in Lambton County with her mother and five siblings. She is now an English literature major at Queen's University in Kingston, Ont., heading into her final year. She always loved writing, but became passionate about it after taking creative writing classes from Carolyn Smart, a professor at Queen's. She is currently the news editor for the student newspaper, The Queen's Journal, and will be its editor-in-chief next year. She has a dog named Waffles and a cat named Roma, christened after Al Pacino's character in Glengarry Glen Ross. She loves tacos.

Entry in five-ish words

Learning the opposite of pain.

The story's source of inspiration

"The story was heavily inspired by my own experience surviving sexual violence. I didn't feel like a survivor right away, and I think sometimes people forget about the surviving part. It takes time, it's ugly, and people react in different ways. I just wanted to get that across. I don't speak for everyone, but this was my experience."

An excerpt from Charlie is Surviving 

The rain came and Charlie got out of bed, pushing her feet across her bedroom floor, pushing her feet down the hallway and outside, pushing her feet over and over, graceless and weak, out into the world and back into her bathroom where she turned off the lights and sat down in the shower, her arms wrapped around her legs, where she sat for hours and hours in the darkness, the boiling water beating into her back, her face between her knees as if she was praying. The sun could not touch her there.

About the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize

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.

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