Photo credit: Carissa D'andrade
The results are in. Our warmest congratulations to the three winners of our 2020 Creative Non Fiction Contest!
Room's 2020 Creative Nonfiction Contest: The Winners
First place: “You, Too?” by Lorraine Robson
Lorraine Robson is a writer based in North Vancouver, BC. Her publications include work in Fugue: UBC’s Journal of Literary Non-fiction, The Vancouver Sun, and Pearls 38: An Anthology of Work by Douglas College Creative Writing Students. She is a first reader for EVENT Magazine’s Non-Fiction Contest.
In prose that’s at once unassuming and electric, “You, Too?” charts the atrocities of sexual assault—the instant wounds, and the insidious, slow-creeping ones that show their faces again and again through the years. The unflinching exploration of the experience—and the ways in which it ricochets outward in one’s life, making something as mundane as a scarf seem terrifying—holds within it a masterful mixture of restraint and rage. This essay simmers with eloquence, weariness and also, strangely, hope—in speaking the unspeakable, it wrests power from those who might take it and puts it back where it belongs.—Amanda Leduc
Second place: “Natural Disaster” by Sarah Hamill
Sarah Hamill is a writer from the prairies currently making her home in Victoria, BC. her work can be read in Funicular, Agnes & True, San Joaquin Review and The Pinch. when she isn’t writing, she spends her time watching trash television, lifting heavy things, and staring at the ocean.
“Natural Disaster” is alive with the magic and yearning of childhood. An exquisitely careful exploration of the disasters that lie in wait in our own families and a wrenching account of watching someone struggle with addiction, this essay slides right into your heart (opencloseopenclose), stepping at once closer and away from the centre of this storm.—Amanda Leduc
Honourable Mention: “Memories and Where to Keep Them” by Nat Lyle
Nat Lyle is a Minneapolis native presently living in Vancouver as she muddles through a career in public accounting. By night, she is an emerging writer in fiction. Previously, she was the recipient of McGill University’s Chester Macnaghten prize for creative writing and her work has appeared previously in Glass Mountain. [Editor's note: Nat's fiction writing was also shortlisted earlier this year for our 2020 Fiction Contest!]
In “Memories and Where to Keep Them,” the power of a childhood miracle floods a life with desperate meaning—a meaning that persists even as the elements of the miracle slowly fall away and then reveal themselves to be something else altogether. A moving meditation on the power of childhood stories and the magic that we make out of memory.—Amanda Leduc
You can find Lorraine’s and Sarah’s winning essays in Room 44.2, to be published in June of 2021. As for the honourable mention, you can read Nat’s piece via the link above.
Our heartfelt gratitude to every writer who shared their stories with us. A huge thank you to our esteemed judge, Amanda Leduc, for the time and care she took in going through the submissions and determining the shortlist and winners. If you're interested in sharing your work with us, check out our Short Forms Contest that's currently open until November. Our Creative Nonfiction Contest will open again in April, 2021.