CBC Literary Prizes

Zugzwang by Shaelin Bishop

Shaelin Bishop has made the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Zugzwang.

2021 CBC Short Story Prize longlist

Shaelin Bishop is a writer from a Vancouver. (Sophie Crocker)

Shaelin Bishop has made the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for Zugzwang.

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 Shaelin Bishop

Shaelin Bishop lives and writes on unceded Squamish, Musqueam and Tsleil-Waututh lands, otherwise known as Vancouver. Their fiction has appeared in The Fiddlehead, The Puritan, PRISM international, Carosuel, The New Quarterly and Minola Review as runner-up in their 2019 fiction contest. They studied writing at the University of Victoria.

Entry in five-ish words

"Night, entropy, and false sisterhood."

The story's source of inspiration

"I tend to write stories from a single image and the feelings associated with that image, but rarely know what the exact source of inspiration is. For this story, I was compelled by an image of a woman standing on a sidewalk at night, with the light from a neon sign shining against her face, and the bizarre energy I felt surrounding the character and the setting. I'm the type of writer who has to write through my drafts to learn what they're about, so I followed that image until the central relationship of the story emerged."

First lines

The woman smoking meth across from the bodega looks like your sister, so you offer her a pack of cigarettes and 43 dollars if she'll pretend to be her for one night. You could afford to pay more, but this is all you have in cash and she takes it.

The woman smoking meth across from the bodega looks like your sister, so you offer her a pack of cigarettes and 43 dollars if she'll pretend to be her for one night.

Up close, she looks less like Reed — acne sockets her forehead, her jaw is too canine, cheekbones industrial instead of suburban, eyes minnows instead of hummingbirds, but you've already paid up. She wears an olive parka unzipped over bike shorts and an iridescent bralette with a pyramid cut-out over her solar plexus. A refugee from the future.

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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