CBC Literary Prizes

Titan Arum by Trent Lewin

Trent Lewin made the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Titan Arum.

2021 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Trent Lewin is a writer from Waterloo, Ont. (Cassandra Lewin)

Trent Lewin has made the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Titan Arum.

The winner of the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and have the opportunity to attend a two-week 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 work published on CBC Books.

The shortlist will be announced on April 22 and the winner will be announced on April 29.

About Trent Lewin

Trent Lewin is a writer of novels and short fiction. He has been longlisted for the CBC Short Story Prize three times, including in 2020 for The Arms of Village and was shortlisted one other time. He has also been shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. While he works in a scientific field related to climate change, and spends much time consumed by exotic acts of pranksterism, he is working to publish a novel called Girl Island. Currently, he is engaged in a subsequent novel writing adventure. He lives in Waterloo, Ont., in a house filled with the most wonderful family imaginable. The place is a mess. And it's fantastic.

Entry in five-ish words

"Then the corpse flower blooms."

The story's source of inspiration

"I heard a story about the corpse flower blooming at Toronto Zoo back in August 2020, and looked into it. It only blooms every decade or so, and when it does, it smells like death in order to attract insects. It's not the prettiest flower, either. I got to thinking about people in our lives who fit that character — unusual, strange, but how beautiful they can be and often are. Titan arum is the short-form name of the flower. The people — they have many names."

First lines

Mei is put on an airplane because of her congenital general hypertrichosis. CGH.

"Airplane go up!" says her brother. Danyy was never supposed to come on the trip, but Uncle said that if Mei had to go, Danyy had to as well. 

She combs her CGH beard. Uncle told her she'd better, because in Canada, there are people who really like CGH.

Danyy pulls Mei's beard. "Gross! Hairy sister!"

Mei is 12, two years younger than her brother. She combs her CGH beard. Uncle told her she'd better, because in Canada, there are people who really like CGH. On the plane, Danyy goes to the bathroom five times, who knows why. Mei just combs.

About the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize

The winner of the 2021 CBC Short Story 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 Poetry Prize is open for submissions until May 31, 2021. The 2022 CBC Short Story Prize will open in September and the 2022 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January 2022.

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