CBC Literary Prizes

"Enchanted by the Oxford English Dictionary" by Thelma Fayle

Thelma Fayle has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "Enchanted by the Oxford English Dictionary".

2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Thelma Fayle spent 25 years as a systems analyst and plain-language writer for the B.C. government. (Daryl Jones)

Thelma Fayle has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "Enchanted by the Oxford English Dictionary".

About Thelma

Thelma Fayle spent 25 years as a systems analyst and plain-language writer for the B.C. government. She was a weekly columnist with Postmedia, and her writing has appeared in publications such as the Globe & Mail, Reader's Digest, the Tyee, the Times Colonist, the Montreal Gazette, Boulevard and Senior Living. She is also the author of Ted Grant: Sixty Years of Legendary Photojournalism.

Entry in five-ish words

Dictionary provides meaning of love.

The story's source of inspiration

"The beautiful, kind and intelligent nature of the good man I fell in love with inspired me to want to write this story.  I believe his ability to listen, and listen well, is the resource in short supply on our planet."

First lines

"In 1975, my friend Bill paid $90 for a dictionary. The sober purchase took a bite out of his sorry little courier's paycheck.

"While the flies were going in and out of my cranked jaw, Bill confided more than the price. He said his two-volume set of the Oxford English Dictionary (OED) was the "condensed version". His treasure weighed 12 pounds with its magnifying glass stashed in a little drawer above the side-by-side books shimmied into their royal blue case. He told me there was also a 20-volume set, and it was "the best dictionary in the world".

"I was 17 then, and have wanted that book booty ever since."

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

In Partnership With

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