The Intensive by Michelle Doyle
2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist
Michelle Doyle has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for The Intensive.
The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 24. The winner will be announced on Oct. 1.
Michelle Doyle is a writer, wellness speaker, yoga teacher and stand-up comedian in Toronto. She completed her certificate in creative writing at University of Toronto's School of Continuing Studies and her post-graduate certificate in creative writing at the Humber School for Writers. In 2018, she was one of 49 artists whose work appeared in Cuarenta Y Nueve, a book commemorating the 49 lives lost at Orlando's Pulse nightclub. She recently completed her first manuscript, a memoir.
Entry in five-ish words
"Right person. Wrong time. Choices."
The story's source of inspiration
"For years, I struggled with my identity on many levels. Although my corporate career was flourishing, I was riddled with shame, frustration and anger. It didn't make sense to me, so I felt the need to explore why this was. Little did I know that in attending a personal development course to begin this work, I'd meet someone who would inadvertently change the trajectory of my life. The Intensive is the beginning of that story, in addition to being the opening scene of my recently completed memoir."
North of Toronto, the pebbled driveway was barely visible from the main road. Chirping birds replaced the sound of screeching tires. Rustic and green, the inviting property housed a large residence, with ample space for walks and contemplation. I imagined it was what a rehab centre looked like. Not the type where celebrities or rich kids go, but a destination for middle-class folk to detox. Peering through sunglasses, I signed the waiver at the registration desk.
In the lobby, the weight of someone's gaze prompted me to look up. I locked eyes with a short-haired blonde. Tanned, athletic and feminine, an unexpected jolt hit me as she extended her hand.
"Hi. I'm Willa."
Something familiar exuded from her. A knowing of sorts. A shared language that didn't involve words.
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.