CBC Literary Prizes

"The Plunge" by Rena Graham

Rena Graham has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "The Plunge".

2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Rena Graham is a 2013 graduate of the Writer's Studio at Simon Fraser University and current co-host for the the Writer's Studio Reading Series. (Brian Harris)

Rena Graham has made the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for "The Plunge."

About Rena

Rena is a 2013 graduate of the Writer's Studio at Simon Fraser University and is the current co-host for the Writer's Studio Reading Series. Her work has been published  in Cobalt Review, the Bookends Review and chróma magazine Her nonfiction pieces have also been shortlisted in Malahat Review's Open Season Awards and the Writer's Union of Canada Short Prose Competition. As an editor, Rena helps other writers get their personal stories on the page. 

Entry in five-ish words

A story of forbidden love.

The story's source of inspiration

"I wanted to bring a contemporary twist to one of the oldest stories out there — the adulterous affair. It's something I'm both living and writing in my 60s, a time of life where many people are thinking deeply about their own love lives — or lack thereof. Writing this first chapter helped me understand my motivation for this counter-intuitive involvement."

First lines

"On my 61st birthday, the Skype calls started early. 'That man at the swimming pool I told you about? He disappeared, so he can't be real. I must have conjured him up.'

"My girlfriend's face mirrored the confusion in my voice. 'I doubt that,' she said. 'If anyone's a realist, it's you. I'm just surprised to find you this interested in someone. You said that part of your life was over.'

"It had been over. With four decades of the he-she thing behind me and no luck attracting a mutually interested partner, I'd walked away from the emotional expense of it in my mid-50s. I'd never been in love, never met anyone who triggered that depth of feeling and while I remained curious as to what all the fuss was about, there were now other things I wanted to do. I was happy with my simple, quiet life."

About the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize

The winner of the 2017 CBC Nonfiction Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have an opportunity to attend a 10-day writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and have their story published on CBC Books and in Air Canada enRoute magazine. Four finalists will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their story published on CBC Books

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