No Escalator by Karen-Maria Tratt
2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist
Karen-Maria Tratt has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for No Escalator.
The shortlist will be announced on April 15. The winner will be announced on April 22.
Karen-Maria Tratt was born and raised in Montreal then moved to Toronto in the late 1970s. She went to visit Yellowknife in 1979 for the summer and stayed for a decade. She wrote her first freelance article for News North. Calgary has been her home since 1989. She has been a periodical writer, contract editor and radio producer. She now writes stories and songs without deadlines. Her literary heroes include Dorothy Parker, Guy de Maupassant and David Sedaris.
Entry in five-ish words
Northern escalator's ups and downs.
The story's source of inspiration
"When my daughter was born in Yellowknife, a new mall had recently opened and it had an elevator — but no escalator. It occurred to me that Yellowknife had no escalators! Our children were being deprived of an escalator! I found the idea amusing and wrote this whimsical account of a small Northern city that decided to get an escalator."
This was no ordinary big event. This was the day of the unveiling of the city's new escalator. "Can you imagine?" some people said when they heard about it. "Can you imagine, we never had an escalator?" And others would say, "I never thought about it before, but, yeah, why shouldn't we have an escalator like other cities?"
This was a small northern city, small for a city, and things like the opening of the new courthouse, erection of a highrise with a pool or a visit from the prince were some of the highlights that made up for the lowlights of the long, dark winter.
The winner of the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week 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 work published on CBC Books.