Literary Prizes·CBC Literary Prizes

The Unforgiving Minutes by Jesse McLean

Jesse McLean has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for The Unforgiving Minutes.

2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Jesse McLean is a writer from Port Hope, Ont. (Darlene Longo)

Jesse McLean has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for The Unforgiving Minutes.

About Jesse

Jesse McLean has written pop culture books for ECW Press and Titan Books, fiction for House of Anansi, contributed humour to Reader's Digest and film articles to Movie Entertainment magazine. He writes quickly but edits slowly. 

Entry in five-ish words

Kids,take a deep breath.

The story's source of inspiration

"A similar incident happened to me as a young boy. I didn't think about it much until I had my own son, and I started to truly consider the consequences."

First lines

Women raised George Finnerman, and while this resulted in a perfectly serviceable upbringing, it did leave noticeable gaps. Not only was he left to walk the family's bulldog without proper training — his mother and aunts considered that "man's work", for which young George had no patience and resulted in the boy yanking on the lead until the poor beast gagged — but he was never taught how to shave.

"Up and down, never across," George's mother said when he asked for advice, waves of Barbasol cresting across his face. "That's what my father always said."

"But what about — "

"Honestly George, I just don't know," his mother snapped through a sharp spear of menthol smoke. "I'm a war widow."

About the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize

The winner of the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, will have their story published on CBC Books and will have the opportunity to attend a 10-day 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 story published on CBC Books