CBC Literary Prizes

Words to that Effect by Nola Poirier

Nola Poirier has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Words to that Effect.

2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Nola Poirier is a writer and environmental researcher from Powell River, B.C. (Courtney Wing)

Nola Poirier has made the 2018 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Words to that Effect.

About Nola

Nola Poirier is a writer, environmental researcher, punk-choir member and binge television viewer. Her short fiction has been published in Canadian journals, including Room, Prairie Fire, and Vancouver Review. Her stories have nearly won various prizes, including the Malahat Review Far Horizons contest. Others were selected by the respective publications as their nominees for the Journey Prize and National Magazine awards, and one received an honourable mention in Glimmer Train's new writers contest. Nola is currently finishing up her first book of short stories, which will possibly be titled Naked. Shameless. Animal.

Entry in five-ish words

Testing the boundaries of unconditional love.

The story's source of inspiration

"This story was inspired by imagining loving someone you find out has done something horrible. I wanted to explore this in terms of a couple, because that's a relationship that can be dissolved, whereas a parent-child is a permanent connection. I chose a man and a woman because of all the stories surfacing lately. I wondered how the wife would feel, how it would be to have your love tested in that way and how would this test your relationships with the victims, with other women and with yourself."

First lines

Chemically speaking, the wings of honeybees, the crusts of barnacles, the cells of fungi are all made of sugar. I put four teaspoons in my coffee this morning. I want to grow wings, a shell, hide underground, rot my teeth.

I didn't do anything. That's what I think sometimes: I didn't do anything. So why can't I breathe? Why am I lurking in the body-care aisle of a Whole Foods, licking sugar crystals from a tester jar of natural face-scrub?

What would you call them? His... quarry? Is that the word? That makes me think of deer and wolves, Red Riding Hood. "No one was physically harmed, no one's pressing charges," his lawyer said. "I should be able to get him his job back." It's shocking how quickly the things that bring us comfort can change. Five days ago, it was the two of us making barbequed pizza in the hot yard in our underwear. Today it's the newspaper confirming that he didn't touch anyone, that he didn't call them liars, that none of them were underage.

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


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