Canada Writes

Canada Writes Blog

Margaret Beach (East York, ON)

Margaret Beach

Eastern Finalist 09

(April 27, 2009) Before Canada Writes, the only thing I excelled at was having babies. Number 1 arrived in only five hours. I didn’t even break a sweat. I had the knack. Right down to the last one. I squoze her out in two hours while painting a watercolour with the rest of my family watching and eating the homemade bread I baked myself before walking to the hospital.

I‘m not lying.

Nor am I lying when I say that from start to finish, Canada Writes was JUST LIKE CHILDBIRTH. From the fun of trying, through the landmarks of good news -- short list, semi-finalist, finalist -- I walked around with that special glow.

Then the Big Day. Boy? Girl? 10 fingers & toes? Lyrics or prose? What is it? By the grace of God and the will of the French people, get it out. My head is about to rip open! GET IT OUT!

The idea, I mean.

Then it’s over --with or without a trip through the trap door. And you are so totally thrilled with the really nice prize you get --- which you naturally think is better than everyone else’s -- and everyone congratulates you.

I think my brain has stretch marks.

(March 16, 2009) Some Laws of Nature must have been broken. I had so much fun playing “Canada Writes,” and NONE of it was illegal, immoral or fattening.

Pinch me! (Especially you, cutie-pie judge Shaun Majumder.)

If all that wasn’t enough I get to go to the finals!

Maybe I am breaking some code of secrecy here, but I’ve found that inside the radio, the micro-creatures we imagined as tots aren’t there – it’s an all-clown multiple-ring circus barely contained by the Herculean efforts of ringmaster producers. I saw the strings, smoke and mirrors behind the show. None of it diminished the thrill -- it sent it over the top.

In Alternate Radio Reality I suffered no nerves. Perhaps it was the CBC coffee and treats. Perhaps it was the celebrity sighting of Theodore Tug Boat in the Halifax harbour. Regardless, I had a blast and I have made some resolutions.

  1. Switch my obsession from one Newfoundlander to another. Rex, you’re done. I’m all about Shaun now.
  2. Establish the Contest Nana Fan Club –because she is a peach, and because the words form a funky rhythm.
  3. Write more than charts, notes and emails.
  4. Have more fun at the Canada Writes Finals.

(March 6, 2009) The highlight of my LIFE had to be Susan walking into my operatory and announcing “Margaret, CBC! Line 1! For you!” She said it with the same thrill in her voice as her “Whadya get?!” when anyone returns from lunch at the mall with a new purchase.

I didn’t spill immediately. I wallowed a bit, smiling mysteriously above my mask, looking dreamily at my patient’s bleeding gums, sighing.

Then I confessed. My fixation with CBC was well-known. But they think it’s all dry news and salt cod. I had to explain it’s so much more.

CBC’s on all the time at home. Not that I have much time to listen. Between the Wall Of Chat my 4-year-old keeps up, preparing for the classes I teach, gathering up the necessities of life (food, art supplies, my older children from work and school, any little novelty light that Ikea sells), I caught wind of Canada Writes. It was an epiphany. Speedwriting -- my road to fame. With fingers crossed, I logged in, typed madly and hit send. Then I secretly hoped.

I was gobsmacked to hear I was on the short list and the highlight of LIFE had to be.......

How It Works

  1. Write In!

    Out of hundreds and hundreds of entries, just twenty Canadians made it to the Short List and won themselves an audition with Canada Writes. Then eight semi-finalists were picked to play in the Eastern semi-finals and Western/Northern semi-finals.

    Read their winning songs, blogs, ads, rants and movie pitches!

  2. Tune In… or Join Us!

    On March 14th and April 4th, tune in to GO! on CBC Radio One at 10 am (10:30 am NT) for the Eastern and Western/Northern semi-final games in Halifax and Vancouver. The finals will be held in Toronto on April 18th. Or join us at any of the three shows to root for the contestants in person. Go to for tickets.

  3. Play Online!

    The Canada Writes 09 Online Challenge is now over. Thanks for playing!


(Toronto, April 25, 2009)

Canada Writes Finalists

It was a very tight race in the end. Our four finalists fought it out by blog, song, ad and a three-line story. First, they each drew a blog topic, from “the best hundred dollars I ever spent” to “one fact I would like to ‘un-know’”. Challenge number 2 was to re-write a song by Queen, with Valerie Stanois from the musical We Will Rock You bringing power vocals to their surprising new words. Then judges Geri Hall, Terry O’Reilly and Darrell Dennis sent Kaveh Mohebbi through the infamous Trap Door. Challenge number 3 was the radio ad. Clever ads for Cornhobbler’s Crematorium and Juice Bar (obviously not a real business) and Christmas greetings from the makers of Flank Chainsaws won Katie Sanders and Laurie Schwartz a last chance at writing glory, but it was Margaret Beach’s turn to go through the Trap Door. Finally, Laurie and Katie had to come up with the first two lines of a three-line story… on yellow writing pads on their laps…and in 90 seconds….

After weeks of effort and tension and achievement -- from the writing contest in January, through the auditions, the short list, the semi-finals and the finals – it was all over in a couple of minutes. Katie pulled ahead by a crucial point -- and became the winner of Canada Writes 09! Listen to the show! Read the blogs!

Canada Writes Judges

For more photos, go to

Winner of the Online Challenge! Ontario's Heather Smith is the winner of this year's People's Choice Award. Her winning entry was a re-write of the ABBA song 'Waterloo.' Take a look!