CBC Literary Prizes

Inside of Crazy by Leslie Bock

Leslie Bock has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Inside of Crazy.

2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Leslie Bock is a writer from Barrie, Ont. (Danielle Clements)

Leslie Bock has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Inside of Crazy.

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  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 Leslie

"I have enjoyed writing stories since I was a child. Back then it was about pirates, evil fairy queens, ogres and the like. Once I hit adolescence, a different kind of fictional world unfurled in my brain and my life was greatly altered. Then I had something far more important to write about. I want people to understand mental illness and the true horrors of it, but also the potential for recovery. I like to read the wonderful writing out there, on all subjects, in all genres, and I am most content walking in the woods with my dogs."

Entry in five-ish words

"A quick trip through psychosis."

The story's source of inspiration

"Mental illness is a monster to deal with and once I lived through what I believe were the worst parts of it, I needed a record of what I survived." 

First lines

It's the summer, I am 18 years old and dressed in an outfit made up of a tight-fitting blue tank top and long vibrantly coloured gypsy skirt I fished out of a bag of my mom's old hippie clothes. I wear a pair of vintage Reeboks I purchased at Value Village and since worn down to the point where my toes are peeking through holes in the tops of them. My strikingly red pixie cut with bangs is growing out into a shaggy mess fading into a rust-like colour. I feel incredibly self-confident.

My dad has brought me along to take my grandfather in to take his driving test because I can't be left alone unsupervised. While we pass the time sitting on some grass next to the parking lot, there are a group of teenagers nearby blasting Eminem music from their car speakers. I hear the words, "Please stand up" and follow the command, because I am the real Slim Shady. They laugh at me from within the darkness of the vehicle and my dad directs me to sit back down.

It starts with insomnia and a high school dance show.

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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