Hole in the Wall by Aga Maksimowska
2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist
Aga Maksimowska has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Hole in the Wall.
The shortlist will be announced on April 15. The winner will be announced on April 22.
Aga Maksimowska lives in Toronto, where she writes and teaches. Her debut novel, GIANT, was published in 2012 and was a finalist for the Toronto Book Award in 2013. She has contributed essays to Brick: A Literary Journal, as well as articles and stories to several publications. Her efforts to publish a sophomore novel have been interrupted by the gift of parenting, which she has embraced wholeheartedly.
Entry in five-ish words
Oceans aren't meant for swimming.
The story's source of inspiration
"The Wild Coast of South Africa and the dangerously deceptive Indian Ocean."
One look at me and the woman on the beach can tell I'm trouble. I know this by the way she marches toward me in her sensible navy one-piece bathing suit. We are both white. She's older. The Apartheid is over, so she's no longer in charge. Who does she think she is? But I'm clearly the tourist, even though black people have invited me here.
"Don't swim over there," she motions toward the rocks jutting out into the Indian Ocean. The Hole in the Wall is just around the bend, a geological marvel on this Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape. "Better still," she adds, "don't swim at all." My eyes dart to a girl of maybe 14 or 15, splashing in the waves behind the woman. Same age as my boys. The woman follows my gaze. "That's my daughter," she tells me. "She has Down's syndrome."
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.