CBC Literary Prizes

Hitchcock in Havana by Bernardine Stapleton

Bernardine Stapleton has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Hitchcock in Havana.

2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Bernardine Stapleton is a writer and performer from St. John's. (Ritche Perez)

Bernardine Stapleton has made 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Hitchcock in Havana.

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 Bernardine

Bernardine Stapleton is a Newfoundland-Labrador writer and performer. Her play, The Pope and Princess Di, was recently listed on the Playwrights Guild of Canada's list of top 23 plays from female playwrights in Canada. She was the recipient of the 2018 Arts and Letters best dramatic script for her one-woman play, Dolly. Stapleton was a writer-in-residence at Memorial University of Newfoundland-Labrador in 2019 and is a recipient of the Rhonda Payne Award from Arts NL.

Entry in five-ish words

"Divided selves meet in Havana."

The story's source of inspiration

"My inspiration for this story was a life changing visit during the last days of 2019 to Cuba for a yoga retreat. I was a stony Newfoundlander amongst a hothouse riot of colours, feelings, tastes and textures. Playas del Este is a tiny place outside of Havana and I steeped there. I returned home to 'Snowmaggedon', followed not long after by the pandemic and the loss of most of my livelihood. I realized that in Cuba I was living moment to moment and not season to season."

First lines

Hitchcock spends her 60th birthday dancing Salsa with handsome strangers in a flowery bower while God's Thumbnail shines in a black Cuban sky. She had taken the dance lesson the day before, all the women lined up in rows across from paid partners. It probably cost more than 10 cents a dance, but not by much.

There were two rows of women. She stood in the back row. Safe.

She remembered the old high school dances, when the boys lined up across from the girls and sauntered across the gym one by one to kick the foot of the girl they wanted to dance with, or grunt and point, or in some cases to be cruel and head to one girl only to veer off at the last minute and choose someone else.

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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