CBC Literary Prizes

The Imposter by Penelope Arnold

Penelope Arnold has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for The Imposter.

2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Penelope Arnold is a writer from Hillsburgh, Ont. (Jemima Swenor)

Penelope Arnold has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for The Imposter.

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 Penelope

Penelope Arnold was born in England in 1970 and her family emigrated to Canada when she was three years old. She is a community pharmacist working full time in Orangeville, Ont. She met her husband at Queen's University, Kingston and they live in Hillsburgh, a rural town 90 km northwest of Toronto, with their three children. She enjoys reading, writing and gardening.

Penelope Arnold of Hillsburgh, Ont., talks about her story The Imposter, which made the long list for the CBC non-fiction prize. Arnold is also a pharmacist and is working on a story about the opioid crisis. 6:50

Entry in five-ish words

"My daughter's illness and recovery."

The story's source of inspiration

"Dealing with a serious mental illness affects the mental health of those who cope with it. Writing this story helped me to overcome my sadness and fear and also guilt about my daughter's health. It's also about letting go of your children." 

First lines

I drove to Toronto Pearson airport, filled with expectation. Today, my daughter was coming home for the summer. She had spent a year at university abroad, and was returning home for a couple of months. I had really missed her — our late night chats, shopping together, exchanging thoughts. You can just be yourself with your children; it is very comforting. 

Nearing the airport, the planes overhead came down with alarming suddenness, and then landed so carefully, like benevolent giants trying not to squash the miniature life swarming beneath them. It always gives me a good feeling, watching this precision. 

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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