CBC Literary Prizes

Meet the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize readers

These 11 readers determined the longlist for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize.

These 11 readers determined the longlist for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize

Eleven readers from across Canada chose the longlist for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize. (Credits for all individual photos below)

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.

Our readers compile the longlist, which is given to the jury. The jury then selects the shortlist and the eventual winner from the longlisted selections.

The 2021 jury is comprised of Louise Bernice Halfe, Canisia Lubrin and Steven Heighton.

The winner of the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize 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 have their work published on CBC Books

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

The shortlist will be announced on Nov. 18 and the winner will be announced on Nov. 24. 

If you're interested in the CBC Literary Prizes, the 2022 CBC Nonfiction Prize opens in January and the 2022 CBC Poetry Prize opens in April.

Here are the 11 writers who served as readers for the 2021 CBC Poetry Prize

Aaron Tucker

Aaron Tucker is a writer and a PhD candidate at York University living in Toronto. (Submitted by Aaron Tucker)

Aaron Tucker is the author of the poetry collections Catalogue d'oiseaux, Irresponsible Mediums: The Chess Games of Marcel Duchampas and punchlines. His novel Y: Oppenheimer, Horseman of Los Alamos was translated into French in the summer of 2020. He is currently a PhD candidate in the cinema and media studies department at York University, where he is an Elia Scholar, a Vista doctoral scholar and a 2020 Joseph-Armand Bombardier doctoral fellow studying the cinema of facial recognition software and its impacts on citizenship, mobility and crisis.

Bertrand Bickersteth

Bertrand Bickersteth is a poet and teacher at Olds College who is currently living in Calgary. (Nathan Elson)

Bertrand Bickersteth was born in Sierra Leone, raised in Alberta and has lived in the United Kingdom and the United States. He is an educator who also writes poems and plays. His poetry has appeared the Antigonish Review, Cosmonauts Avenue and the Prairie Journal, as well as the anthology The Great Black North: Contemporary African Canadian Poetry. In 2018, he was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize. His most recent work, The Response of Weeds, is a collection of poems published by NeWest Press. Bicketsteth lives in Calgary, teaches at Olds College and writes about black history in western Canada. The Response of Weeds won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award.

Billeh Nickerson

Billeh Nickerson is an author, editor and educator based in Vancouver. (Submitted by Billeh Nickerson)

Billeh Nickerson is a Vancouver-based author, editor and educator whose sixth book, Duct-Taped Roses, was published with Book*Hug Press in spring 2021. He is a co-chair of the creative writing department at Kwantlen Polytechnic University in Surrey, B.C. 

David Bradford

David Bradford is a poet and editor based in Montreal. (Sarah Bodri)

David Bradford is a poet and editor based in Montreal. He holds a MFA from the University of Guelph. His work has appeared in the Capilano Review, Tiny Mag, filling Station, the Fiddlehead and Carte Blanche. He is the author of several chapbooks, including Nell Zink is Damn Free and The Plot. Dream of No One but Myself, a collection of poems on the possibilities and limitations for writing through trauma, is his first book.

Jenna Lyn Albert

Jenna Lyn Albert is a queer Acadian poet based in Frederiction. (Lacey Little)

Jenna Lyn Albert is a queer Acadian poet living on the unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik people, where she served a two year term as Fredericton's poet laureate from 2019 to 2020. Albert co-hosts the elm & ampersand poetry podcast with Rebecca Salazar and is a member of the Fiddlehead's editorial board. Their debut collection of poetry, Bec & Call, was published with Nightwood Editions in 2018 and won the New Brunswick Book Awards' Fiddlehead Poetry Prize.

Michael Lithgow

Michael Lithgow is a poet and an associate professor at Athabasca University. He's based in Edmonton. (Reisa Klein)

Michael Lithgow is a poet and educator based in Edmonton. His poetry and essays have appeared in the Literary Review of Canada, Canadian Literature, Event, the Antigonish Review, Poemeloeon, Contemporary Verse 2 and the Fiddlehead. His first collection of poetry, Waking in the Tree House, was shortlisted for the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. Work from this collection was included in Best of Canadian Poetry 2012. Lithgow's second collection, Who We Thought We Were As We Fell, was published in the spring of 2021. He's currently an associate professor at Athabasca University.

Rhea Tregebov

Rhea Tregebov is a poet, novelist and an associate professor emerita at the University of British Columbia. (Sam Znaimer)

Rhea Tregebov is the author of seven books of poetry, most recently All Souls'. Her poems have earned her the Pat Lowther Award, Prairie Schooner Readers' Choice Award and the Malahat Review Long Poem Award. She is also a novelist and author of children's picture books. Born in Saskatoon and raised in Winnipeg, Tregebov worked for many years as a freelance writer and editor in Toronto. From 2004 to 2017 she was a professor in creative writing at the University of British Columbia. Tregebov continues to live and write in Vancouver, and is now an associate professor emerita at UBC.

Sharanpal Ruprai

Sharanpal Ruprai is a poet and an associate professor at the University of Winnipeg living in Calgary. (The University of Winnipeg)

Sharanpal Ruprai is a poet and an associate professor in the department of women's and gender studies at the University of Winnipeg. Her debut poetry collection, Seva, was shortlisted for the Stephen G. Stephansson Award for Poetry in 2015. Her second collection, Pressure Cooker Love Bomb, was shortlisted for the 2020 Lambda Literary Awards, the Robert Kroetsch Award for poetry and the Lansdowne Prize for Poetry. She was the 2019-2020 Canadian Writer-in-Residence at the University of Calgary. Ruprai is the new editor for Contemporary Verse 2.

stephanie roberts

stephanie roberts is a poet who lives in Quebec. (River Roberts)

stephanie roberts was born in Panama, raised in Brooklyn and has lived most of her adult life in Quebec. Her poetry collection, rushes from the river disappointment, was a finalist for the A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry. Her work earned first place in the collection The Sixty-Four, best poets of 2018, which was curated and published by Black Mountain Press.

Therese Estacion

Therese Estacion is a poet and an elementary school teacher who lives in Tkaronto. (Kat Fournier-Bedard)

Therese Estacion is part of the Visayan diaspora community. She is an elementary school teacher and is studying to be a psychotherapist. She is also a bilateral below knee and partial hands amputee, and identifies as a disabled person. She lives in Tkaronto. Her poems have been published in Contemporary Verse 2 and Pank Magazine, and were shortlisted for the 2021 Marina Nemat Award. Estacion's first collection of poems, Phantompains, was published by Book*Hug Press in spring 2021.

Wade Kearley

Wade Kearley is an author and poet living in St. Johns. (Submitted by Wade Kearley)

Wade Kearley is a published author and poet. His most recent book and third collection of poetry, Narrow Cradle, was shortlisted for The Miramichi Reader's The Very Best! Book Award. Among his five works of nonfiction are the travel books, The People's Road and The People's Road Revisited, both based on his 900-kilometre trek along Newfoundland's abandoned rail line. He grew up on the banks of Manuels River and in the woods of Conception Bay on Newfoundland's east coast. This largely unspoiled natural world continues to show up in his work and his keen observations of nature. Kearley is a graduate of the University of Victoria's fine arts program and lives in St. John's.

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