CBC Literary Prizes

November by Benjamin Hertwig

Benjamin Hertwig has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for November.

2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Benjamin Hertwig was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry for his debut collection, Slow War. (Courtesy of Benjamin Hertwig)

Benjamin Hertwig has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for November.

About Benjamin

Benjamin Hertwig is the recipient of a National Magazine Award for personal journalism. His debut poetry collection, Slow War, was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. His writing has appeared in the New York Times, The Walrus, Maisonneuve, THIS, Ricepaper, Prairie Schooner, the Sun Magazine, EVENT and Prairie Fire, among others. He's currently working on a novel, a collection of short stories and a longer nonfiction project.

Entry in five-ish words

Kendall drives the narrator crazy.

The story's source of inspiration

"I worked for a couple of years in Edmonton's inner city, first in the agency's winter drop-in, and later as a housing worker. People used to tell me all kinds of stories, some true, some true in a different way. I saw a lot of pain, a lot of goodness and so much resilience."

First lines

Kendall used to drive me crazy, like really. The first time I saw him he was trimming his beard into the sink where I was supposed to be washing that morning's dishes. I yelled at him: he laughed. I told him to get his ass out of my kitchen, that I had work to do. From then on out he thought we were friends.

He'd swoop into the shelter each morning at half past six, pounding on the door of the kitchen, shouting at me in his scratchy voice. Jesus, Frank. Stop working so hard! The fact that folks at the shelter were tired of his routine — that some were even yelling at him from across the drop-in to shut the hell up — didn't change a thing. Every morning. But he'd say it like I wasn't working hard when I was, and he knew it. I'd have been in the back all morning, slapping margarine onto at least three hundred pieces of toast, slopping porridge into at least three hundred little plastic bowls. I'd have been up since 4:30. It was hot like hell back there with all the pots. I have arthritis in both knees. Kendall was so full of shit.

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


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