CBC Literary Prizes

Original Copy by Hugh Blackthorne

Hugh Blackthorne has made the 2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Original Copy.

2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Hugh Blackthorne has made the 2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Original Copy. (Submitted by Hugh Blackthorne)

Hugh Blackthorne has made the 2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Original Copy.

About Hugh

Hugh Blackthorne is a trans writer of queer fiction and poetry. His recent unpublished novel has been longlisted for the Bath Novel Award in the United Kingdom. He messes about with old stuff due to an archaeology affliction. His writing has been published by the Scottish Book Trust, Anti-Heroin Chic, Impossible Archetype, P.S. I Love You and The Junction. Blackthorne lives in the urban wilds of Victoria and spends his time trying not to fall into the Pacific Ocean.

Entry in five-ish words

"Secret identity makes new history."

The story's source of inspiration

"My story was inspired by a trip two years ago to Greece, when I met my estranged father for the first time in 17 years. The visit was full of mental, emotional and physical discomforts that made the experience vivid and powerful. The weight of carrying that secret of my trans identity versus family expectations made for strong contrasts."

First lines

The Byzantine-style icon, thin metal over wood, sits against the base of the antique circus poster. Art Nouveau strongmen perform feats of strength over Mary and the baby Jesus, which is how things went in the Bible, I'm fairly certain. One Herculean thing after another: it's all history.

According to you, the teller of many tales, the lead seal on top of the icon provides assurances this antique isn't stolen. Which is good, because given my work, I'd hate to be caught smuggling artifacts to Canada, where I advise archaeologists about legal permits.

"Don't worry," you said with authority last summer. "It was your grandmother's."

Tiny letters on the seal proclaim: handmade — original copy.

I could say the same about myself now. Handmade. Original copy.

Except I can't tell you the truth of me.

About the 2019 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2019 CBC Nonfiction 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.

The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 18, 2019. The winner will be announced on Sept. 25, 2019.

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