CBC Literary Prizes

What Remains by Rachel Lallouz

Rachel Lallouz has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for What Remains.

2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist

Rachel Lallouz is a writer based in Edmonton. (Submitted by Rachel Lallouz)

Rachel Lallouz has made the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize longlist for What Remains.

The winner will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, attend a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and will have their work published by CBC Books.

Four finalists will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will have their work published by CBC Books.

The shortlist will be announced on Sept. 24. The winner will be announced on Oct. 1.

About Rachel

Rachel Lallouz is a working-class queer femme born and raised on Coast Salish Territory (Vancouver). She is completing her PhD in English literature at the University of Alberta as a Joseph-Armand Bombardier Doctoral Scholar. Rachel's work has been shortlisted for The Malahat Review's 2020 Open Season Awards Contest (creative nonfiction) and Room Magazine's 2019 creative nonfiction contest. She is the winner of Plenitude Magazine's inaugural Cornucopia Literary Prize. Her publications include Grain Magazine, the League of Canadian Poets LGBTQI2S poetry chapbook and Gush: Menstrual Manifestos for Our Times, among others.

Entry in five-ish words

"Seeing beauty in the ephemeral."

The story's source of inspiration

"As I was writing this piece, I found myself caught in the crossfire of several major forces: I was falling in love — dizzyingly, madly in love — I was finally confronting the passing of my father to stomach cancer some 12 years ago, alongside the newer diagnosis of my mother, and I was developing a sense that the world as I knew it was coming to an end. At the moment of writing, everything felt in flux, everything felt subject to dissolution — socially, politically, personally. Writing was the only tether to my body and to the material world. I had to document that experience of trying to hold on." 

First lines

We moved into an old house next to the railroad tracks. Or rather, the tracks curved around our squat little home, cupping our backyard full of weeds and stunted crabapple trees, stiff with ice now in the deep of a prairie winter.

I stub my cigarette out on the deck railing and pull the quilt tighter around me. In the distance, smokestacks chug away, filling the night sky with a reflective layer of white that absorbs the glow of Edmonton's light pollution.

Though my feet are planted firmly in the snow, I'm dreaming of moss. Heavy moss, wet moss fuzzy with water droplets. The scent of rotting bull kelp in the sun. I can almost smell the prehistoric-looking skunk cabbage, whose giant butter-yellow petals unfold pungently on the floors of coastal old growth forests.

About the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize

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.

The 2021 CBC Short Story Prize is currently open for submissions. The 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January. The 2021 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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