The Echoes Are All Mine by Brent van Staalduinen
2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist
Brent van Staalduinen has made the 2020 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for The Echoes Are All Mine.
The shortlist will be announced on April 15. The winner will be announced on April 22.
Brent van Staalduinen is the author of the novels Boy and Nothing But Life and Saints, Unexpected (both forthcoming in 2020). His stories have won numerous awards and have appeared in The New Quarterly, Prairie Fire, The Sycamore Review, The Fiddlehead, Event, Litro and elsewhere. A recovering tree planter, army medic, radio host and high school English teacher, Brent now finds himself wandering around Hamilton, Ont. looking for stories, working at the public library, and figuring out what it means to be a family guy.
Entry in five-ish words
No, you don't understand me.
The story's source of inspiration
"I'm fascinated by the idea that we're all misunderstood, and that everyone has surprising stories that they often have no desire to share. Here, I started with the idea of putting a high school guy with a shadowed past into a crappy summer job, then found that he was crushing on his more worldly coworker; when they discover a tragic secret together, his blind affection — and his desire to impress — clash with his potential to do the right thing."
Say you find a rough-looking guy living inside the marshland park where you work, and you follow your co-worker's lead when she says not to report it. Say your crush on her blinds you to the ramifications of not saying anything about the tidy campsite hidden at the far end of the rocks. Or the tall man who bolted into the woods when he saw your boat draw near.
Frankly, the decision snags like a hangnail — there's the right choice, and there's all the others, Dad used to say. Today's shift has just started and we're in the boathouse loading the gear. The skiff rests on its sling at chest level, where Mason left it last night, even though we're supposed to winch it higher. She's good at finding ways to expend half the effort, even when the full deal wouldn't cost that much anyhow.
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.