CBC Literary Prizes

If I wax poetic the pain feels worthwhile by Lily Chang

Lily Chang has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize shortlist for If I wax poetic the pain feels worthwhile.

2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize shortlist

Lily Chang is a writer and editor based in Montreal. (SuAnne Yang)

Lily Chang has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize shortlist for If I wax poetic the pain feels worthwhile.

She will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have her work published on CBC Books.

The winner was Sandra Murdock for her story Easy Family Dinners.

You can read an excerpt from  If I wax poetic the pain feels worthwhile below.


In high school, I stole textbooks. I wrote my name on one for the semester but took another home instead. Each new word I read was mine. The more I claimed as a possession the more definitive my edges, the shape of my identity, the stretch of my power. When I moved out of the house in Surrey bought by the man who brought us to Canada, this ownership extended to clothing, cities, but never lovers. I could feel bigger in a sweater I'd bought for myself as if swiping a credit card meant I was self-sufficient. I could talk someone's ear off about the city I chose to live in and believe that the city also chose me. I could never own a person, mutable in nature, despite being forced to say, "This is my whoever." I'm with someone, whom I've coincidentally met, until the changes we go through become incompatible. This might sound practical, almost romantic.


Read the other finalists:

About Lily Chang:

Lily Chang is a writer and editor based in Montreal, on the traditional and unceded territory of the Kanien'kehá:ka people. She is a graduate of Concordia University's MA program in creative writing. Her work has appeared in Headlight Anthology, Word and Colour, Voices Visible and Frog Hollow Press's The City Series. She is currently working on a collection of speculative stories exploring immortality and a screenplay about mail-order femmebots.

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