CBC Literary Prizes

High Stakes by Christine Barbetta

Christine Barbetta has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for High Stakes.

2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Christine Barbetta is a Toronto-based writer. (Caitlin Free)

Christine Barbetta has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for High Stakes

About Christine

Christine Barbetta writes about family and a career teaching critical care nursing. Writing provides an imperfect but extraordinary form to explore the grace notes of connection. It also enables a socially acceptable way to accumulate vast quantities of pens and notebooks.

Her work has been published in the Globe and Mail, a nursing textbook, ROOM and a Notable Essay in Memoir Magazine. Barbetta is a finalist in the Writers' Union of Canada's creative nonfiction contest and longlisted in the 2018 CNFC/Carte Blanche contest. She is a member of Amherst Writers & Artists, the CNFC Society, WCDR and two Toronto writing groups — The Buffleheads and Veritas.

Entry in five-ish words

The high stakes of caregiving.

The story's source of inspiration

"Loving and providing practical support to my youngest sister during a life-threatening illness disrupted everything I thought I knew about caregiving, capacity and resilience.

"Because health care professionals and families rarely talk about the realities of caregiving beyond the tasks it entails, there is often an inherent silence and shame when the inevitable exhaustion sets in. Despite remnants of regret and vulnerability I still feel remembering this story's day of high stakes love and depletion, I wanted to offer a candid and raw account of the complexities of being a caregiver. I hope it will lessen the solitude of others in similar situations and prompt more openness and conversation."

First lines

  "I check my watch: 10:20 am.

"I should call.

"I'm sitting at my home office desk, the computer mouse warm under my hand. Hearts, I think. The Hearts game is pretty quick. Then I will call my sister and see if she needs me. Or maybe she's doing okay and it's a free day for me. Since her diagnosis, a free day should be used to catch up on my yearlong, neglected to-do list."

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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