Thin Skinned by Karl Meade
2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist
Karl Meade has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for Thin Skinned.
The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 24. The winner will be announced on Oct. 1.
Karl Meade is a poet and novelist living on Salt Spring Island with his family. He has been previously longlisted for three CBC Literary Prizes (Nonfiction, Short Story and Poetry), shortlisted for Arc Magazine's Poem of the Year and shortlisted for the Malahat Review's Open Season Creative Nonfiction Award. His work has appeared in literary magazines such as the Literary Review of Canada, Contemporary Verse 2, The Fiddlehead and Event. His novel, Odd Jobs, was a ForeWord Reviews book of the year finalist for humour.
Entry in five-ish words
"How do we stay open?"
The story's source of inspiration
"I've always been challenged by this paradox, between the so-called thick-skinned and thin-skinned, the closed fist and open palm. As a father, I want my daughters to live a rich and meaningful life, but I also want to protect them. So how do I teach them, or better yet show them, how to live open to the wonder and pain of the world, and not close themselves off?"
This is my daughter at five: the precocious naturalist in pink bunny bikini, her blue eyes wide and pleading. "Dad, why can't we walk around naked outside?"
Behind her out the west window the sun has half-set behind a treed hill, like a diamond over her shoulder.
"Because we're a sensitive species, honey. When we go out into the world, we have to protect ourselves."
"The earth." I don't mention other humans. I wave vaguely into the ether. "The elements."
She isn't convinced. She's at that age of dawning realisations: that I'm not exactly a normal father, that other fathers, and mothers, don't wander the hardwood wearing nothing but spectacles. She waves a tanned limb, imitating me. "But the earth has a skin too. The crust. And we're part of the earth."
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.