CBC Literary Prizes

Living Room by Barbara Tran

Barbara Tran has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Living Room.

2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Barbara Tran is a Toronto-based poet. (Barbara Tran)

Barbara Tran has made the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Living Room.

About Barbara

Born in New York City, Barbara Tran is an immigrant. Her poems have appeared in Women's Review of Books, Ploughshares and The New Yorker. Honours include a MacDowell Colony Gerald Freund Fellowship, Pushcart Prize and Lannan Foundation Writing Residency. Tran is indebted to Hedgebrook for radical hospitality at a crucial time, as well as to the Canada Council for the Arts and the Ontario Arts Council for support that makes it possible for her to write in the vibrant city of Toronto, where she lives with her partner and their two canine adoptees, Tashi and Sprocket.

Entry in five-ish words

Family album as incomplete puzzle.

The story's source of inspiration

"When a family migrates under duress, so many things are left behind. One can only fit so much into the suitcase (assuming fortune enough to have a suitcase), so much in the heart, so much in the head. Some things are left behind on purpose. Some things are lost on the way to the future. My father took many photographs after the family left Vietnam and landed in New York City. The photographs withhold as much as they tell."

First lines

  "There are a few things I know — believe — to be true. My father's name was Nguyen Long Nghi. Some of his documents transpose his first name with his last or his first with his middle. My mother's name is either Nguyen Thi Marie or Nguyen Thi Maria, depending on whether you trust her passport over her other documents. She herself uses both names. When I was 28, I saw my baptismal certificate for the first time. On it, Juyeng is written in the space where my mother's name was to be entered. This is not a Vietnamese (or French) name, nor is it a phonetic spelling of one."

About the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize will receive $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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