CBC Literary Prizes

Soft Spot by Justina Elias

Justina Elias has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Soft Spot.

2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Justina Elias is a writer and bookseller from Victoria, B.C. (Reuben Kellen)

Justina Elias has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Soft Spot.

About Justina

Justina Elias grew up in Winnipeg and holds an MFA in creative writing from the University of Guelph. She works as a bookseller in Victoria, B.C.

Entry in five-ish words

A late summer's growing pains.

The story's source of inspiration

"I've always felt melancholy during 'back-to-school' season, which strikes me as a particularly fragile time of year — all that bared flesh, all those private hopes and worries. I had also been reading a lot of Ali Smith, who makes brilliant use of the second person and writes so movingly about female adolescence. All these elements came together in Soft Spot, which explores an intimate, painful turning point in a young girl's life."

First lines

Look, he says. Look. You're all marked up again. And there's his finger, there's the always cool-damp of his skin, smooth for a man's but you won't tell him that. Once you might have — you used to tell him lots. How his chest made you think of an ice cream scoop, that deep, smooth dip between the ribs like someone scooped the skin out — you didn't mean it in a mean way, he understood, he laughed. It was summer, his shirt was off a lot, he was your brother's friend and your father's employee and when they finished work he was flecked with paint all over like birthday cake ice cream. You didn't tell him that. Your brother made fun of the scooped-out spot but Jacob laughed at that, too — watch out, it's a dangerous thing, a man without a heart — and your brother laughed harder—that's not all you're missing. Always they were laughing and they opened their Budweisers with their teeth, they filled the whole mudroom with brown bottles then the kitchen then the hall.

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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