CBC Literary Prizes

Our Father by Zilla Jones

Zilla Jones has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Our Father.

2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Zilla Jones is a defence lawyer and writer from Winnipeg. (Submitted by Zilla Jones)

Zilla Jones has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Our Father.

The shortlist will be announced on April 15. The winner will be announced on April 22.

About Zilla

Zilla Jones has an undergraduate degree in music (voice performance) and a law degree, but one of her first passions was writing. Before the age of three, she was writing and illustrating her own stories. Life took her in other directions and she is now a criminal defence lawyer in Winnipeg as well as a busy mother, while continuing to write for pleasure. She is currently working on a novel.

Entry in five-ish words

Forgive those trespassing against us.

The story's source of inspiration

"I am descended from African slaves brought to the Caribbean. Their resilience lived on in my grandmother, and I was interested in the lives of the slave women who came before and how they preserved hope and dignity for their children even in the most degrading of circumstances."

First lines

The sun rises early near the equator, breaking as a calabash into the dawn and spilling its light across the ocean, baptizing the hills with a pink glow that drips from them like icing. It rises and sets almost exactly twelve hours apart, every day of the year. Its rising brings with it the rising of the slaves. They exit their cabins in their burlap shirts to splash rainwater on their faces from the barrels in the yard and to eat the mush dumped into the troughs lining slave row. Then they sharpen their machetes and spend the day cutting a swath through the sugar cane, whose undulating rows stretch like a green sea across the plantations into which this island is divided.

About the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize

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.

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