CBC Literary Prizes

The Curve of Forgetting by Sheila Brooke

Sheila Brooke has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for The Curve of Forgetting.

2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Sheila Brooke is a writer from Gabriola, B.C. (Auralia Brooke)

Sheila Brooke has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for The Curve of Forgetting.

The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and will have their work published by CBC Books.

Four finalists will receive $1,000 from  Canada Council for the Arts and will have their work published by CBC Books.

The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 24. The winner will be announced on Oct. 1.

About Sheila

Based from a small off-grid Gulf Island cabin, Sheila spends her summers working as a wildfire lookout observer in Canada's boreal forest and her winters working as a relief lighthouse keeper for the Canadian Coast Guard along B.C.'s beautiful coastlines. She punctuates the two jobs with treasured intervals of time spent with her daughter's family on the east coast, travelling and crewing sailboats. Sheila is working on a book of essays.

Sheila has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist twice. Her other nominated submission is Le Trajet / The Way There.

The Curve of Forgetting was also longlisted for the 2018 CBC Nonfiction Prize.

Entry in five-ish words

"A story of solitude."

The story's source of inspiration

"Seventeen seasons alone on a remote boreal fire tower."

First lines

There is a moment after the helicopter leaves me behind that always catches at my heart — is it joy? It comes at great expense, after weeks of mental and physical preparation, after a final week of safety orientations and last-minute panic stops for extra treats. After goodbyes and 'take care!'s, after loadings and unloadings; first the warehouse pallets, then a truck, then the helicopter. In a rush and a flurry, in a hurry-up-and-wait, amidst an incoming wave of dispatchers, firefighters, camp staff, other lookouts and data entry people; finally, on an outgoing wave of supplies to air bases; it's my turn.

Just a few weeks before almost three billion birds start arriving from different parts of the world to nest-build in Canada's great boreal forest, I am a blip on the migratory species curve. Human, fire lookout, seasonal. There are about 125 of us in Canada.

About the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2020 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 the 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 2021 CBC Short Story Prize is currently open for submissions. The 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2021 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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