Literary Prizes·CBC Literary Prizes

Murmurations by Maria Lioutaia

Maria Lioutaia has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Murmurations.

2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Maria Lioutaia is Russian-Canadian author currently based in New York. (Will Pemulis)

Maria Lioutaia has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Murmurations.

About Maria

Maria Lioutaia was born in Moscow, lived for two decades in Toronto and is now based in New York, where she's completing her MFA in creative writing at NYU. She was a Tin House scholar and a finalist for the Iowa Review Awards. Her fiction can be found in Cosmonauts Avenue and the Masters Review and is forthcoming in Conjunctions. Her last name means "fierce" in Russian. This is her third time on the CBC Short Story Prize longlist. 

Entry in five-ish words

"Invasive species" exterminate invasive species.

The story's source of inspiration

"A conflation of factors: my own/my family's immigration; the current refugee crisis; living in New York and Toronto where there's such a deep striated history of immigration; changing societal attitudes of 'desirable' versus 'undesirable' immigrants. Then layering that over the idea of 'desirable' foreign species (e.g. imported orchids) versus 'invaders' (e.g. zebra mussels) in the natural world."

First lines

Every morning before sun-up, the van picks us up from the parking lot behind the Rite-Aid. We wait in the dark, sitting on the curb beside the Dumpsters with our lunch cooler bags at our feet, our caps pulled down low over sleep-puffed faces. Some of us smoke cheap hand-rolled cigarettes, some simply stare into the darkness across the expanse of cement, at the fog streaming in ghostly tendrils over the parking blocks and lapping at our steel-toed boots. We don't talk much, because it's too early, because our croaking throats haven't warmed yet with the day, because many of us don't know enough English yet for small talk.

About the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize

The winner of the 2018 CBC Short Story 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 10-day 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