CBC Literary Prizes

Kids of 7C by Kate Gies

Kate Gies had made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Kids of 7C.

2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Kate Gies is a Toronto-based writer and teaches at George Brown College. (Lise Sorokopud)

Kate Gies had made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Kids of 7C.

About Kate

Kate Gies teaches personal narrative, expressive arts and public speaking at George Brown College. Her writing has appeared in Word Riot, the Town Crier, the Conium Review and the Canadian flash prose anthology Release Any Words Stuck Inside of You. She was born and raised in Kingston, Ont., and currently resides in Toronto.

Entry in five-ish words

Friendship on children's hospital ward.

The story's source of inspiration

"The story relates to a larger piece I'm working on about ownership and identity of a body that has been medicalized from a young age. This story takes place on a reconstructive surgery ward, which was my home for nine of my 14 surgeries to construct the simulacrum of an outer ear. It was a place that terrified me, but also a place where I had a community of fellow children that truly understood my experience in the world. I have vivid memories of the friends I made there. These friendships, even if only forged for the duration of the hospital stays, are very close to my heart and were the inspiration for the piece."

First lines

"My friends on Ward 7C are, like me, kids under construction. Cut to fit the shapes of other kids.

"Cynthia is three. Her hair is shaved, and a big scar stretches from ear to ear across to the top of her head, like a worm fat with rain. She was born with her eyes drooped into her cheeks and the doctors cracked her skull open to set things right. She's too sick to leave her bed, but sometimes she clutches its metal bars and pulls herself up. Sometimes she sings The Wheels on the Bus in a squeaky little voice and we come to her room and sing and clap along. She giggles and her eyes roll around like lost marbles, searching for our faces. When we get loud, the nurse comes in. She tells us Cynthia needs to rest. She pulls Cynthia's hands from the metal bars and settles her into the bed. Cynthia tries to close her eyes and they turn into white slippery balls. Her eyelids don't work yet."

About the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner receives $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have their story published on CBC Books and will have the opportunity to 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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