CBC Literary Prizes

Meet the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize readers

These 10 writers read the entries for the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize and selected the 33 longlisted writers from over 2,400 English-language submissions.
These 10 poets generated 2017 CBC Poetry Prize longlist from over 2,400 English-language submissions. The winner will be announced on Nov. 22, 2017. (CBC Books)

Readers are the driving force behind CBC Literary Prizes. Every year, CBC Books enlists the help of established writers and editors from across Canada to read the thousands of entries submitted to our prizes. These readers compile the longlist, which is given to the jury. The jury then selects the shortlist and the eventual winner from the readers' longlisted selections. 

The jury for the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize is comprised of Rosanna Deerchild, Gary Barwin and Humble The Poet.

The winner of the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize will be announced on Nov. 22, 2017 and will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their story published on CBC Books and in Air Canada enRoute magazine

Four finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have their story published on CBC Books.

The 2016 CBC Poetry Prize winner was Michael Fraser for his poem African Canadian in Union Blue.    

If you are interested in entering the CBC Literary Prizes, the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January 2018.

Here are the 10 writers who served as readers for the 2017 CBC Poetry Prize.

Guyleigh Johnson

Halifax writer Guyleigh Johnson is the author of the poetry collection Expect the Unexpected. (CBC)

Guyleigh Johnson is a 24-year-old poet and spoken word artist, a youth coordinator and an African Student Support Worker for the Halifax Regional School Board. Last year, she released her first poetry collection titled Expect the Unexpected which focuses on inner city youth and the challenges they face on a daily basis. She is currently studying journalism at Dalhousie University.

Richard Kelly Kemick

Richard Kemick is the author of the poetry collection Caribou Run. (Michelle Fleming)

Richard Kelly Kemick is a poet, journalist and fiction writer. He regularly contributes to The Walrus and has produced a documentary for CBC's The Doc Project. His debut collection of poetry Caribou Run was published March 2016. He won a National Magazine Award in 2016 for feature writing and another for fiction. He also received first place in the 2017 Norma Epstein Foundation Award for creative writing.

Gwen Benaway

Gwen Benaway is the author of the 2016 poetry collection Passage.

Gwen Benaway is the author of two collections of poetry, Ceremonies for the Dead and Passage. In 2015, she was the recipient of the inaugural Speaker's Award for a Young Author and in 2016 she received the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers from the Writer's Trust of Canada. Her third poetry collection What I Want is Not What I Hope For is forthcoming in 2018.

Raoul Fernandes

Raoul Fernandes is the author of the 2015 book of poems Transmitter and Receiver. (Megan Chursinoff)

Roul Fernandes is a Vancouver poet. He has been published in numerous literary journals and anthologies, including the Best Canadian Poetry 2015. That same year, his first book of poems, Transmitter and Receiver. It won the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize and the Debut-litzer Prize in 2016 and was a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award and the Canadian Authors Association Award for poetry. 

Nyla Matuk

Nyla Matuk is the of the 2016 poetry collection Stranger.

Nyla Matuk is the author of two books of poetry, Sumptuary Laws in 2012 and Stranger in 2016. Sumptuary Laws was nominated for the League of Canadian Poets' Gerald Lampert Memorial Award. She has received grants from the Ontario Arts Council and the Whiting Foundation, and in 2015 was the Reynolds Atelier Visiting Artist at McGill University. Her poems have appeared in magazines and anthologies such as The New Yorker, The Walrus and Carcanet Press' New Poetries VI.

Garry Gottfriedson 

Garry Gottfriedson is the author of the 2010 poetry collection Skin Like Mine.

Garry Gottfriedson is a writer and rancher. He was awarded the Gerald Red Elk Creative Writing Scholarship by the Naropa Institute in Boulder, Colorado where he studied under Allen Ginsberg, Anne Waldman, Marianne Faithful and others. His published works include the 2002 First People's Publishing Award nominee Glass Tepee and Whiskey Bullets, a 2006 collection of cowboy and Indian heritage poems and a finalist for the Anskohk Aboriginal Literature Festival Award. He is also the author of the 2010 poetry collection Skin Like Mine. He currently teaches at Chief Atahm School.

Adèle Barclay

Adèle Barclay is the author of the 2016 poetry collection If I Were in a Cage I'd Reach Out for You. (Michael Stevens)

Adèle Barclay is a poet, the interviews editor at The Rusty Toque, a poetry ambassador for Vancouver's poet laureate Rachel Rose and the 2017 critic-in-residence for Canadian Women In Literary Arts. Her debut poetry collection If I Were in a Cage I'd Reach Out for You was published in 2016 and won the 2017 Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize. She is also the recipient of the 2016 Lit POP Award for poetry and the 2016 Walrus Readers' Choice Award for poetry. Her work was recently featured on an episode of CBC's North by Northwest.

Owain Nicholson

Owain Nicholson is the author of the 2016 poetry collection Digsite. (Eva Beyeler)

Owain Nicholson is a poet and archaeologist. His poems often use the digsite as a source of image and metaphor. Digsite is Nicholson's debut collection of poetry. He is currently working on fiction project.

Faizal Deen    

Faizal Deen is the author of the 2000 poetry collection Land Without Chocolate.

Faizal Deen is a poet, novelist and researcher. He is the author of Land Without Chocolate. His work appears in numerous journals, magazines and anthologies, including Thomas Glave's Our Caribbean: A Gathering of Lesbian and Gay Writing from the Antilles. In 2016, he became a graduate fellow in Migration and Diaspora Studies at Carleton University. A year later, his poetry collection about Caribbean identities, The Greatest Films, was published. 

El Jones

El Jones is the author of the 2014 book on spoken word poetry, Live from the Afrikan Resistance! (Rob Short/CBC)

El Jones is a spoken word poet, journalist, community activist, educator and radio host in Nova Scotia. She was the fifth poet laureate of Halifax from 2013 to 2015. Her book of spoken word poetry Live from the Afrikan Resistance! was published by Roseway Press in 2014. El was recently named the Nancy's Chair in Women's Studies at Mount Saint Vincent University for the 2017-2019 term.

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