Congratulations to the winners of Room’s 2009 Fiction, Poetry, and Creative Non-Fiction Contest!
Thank you to all who participated this year’s contest. Look for first and second place winners in issue 33.1, coming to newsstands soon!
Our winners for 2009:
1st Place: “The Glorious Mysteries” Audrey J. Whitson
2nd Place: “Ghosting” M.E. Powell
Honourable Mention: “Sisters” Kimberley Alcock
1st Place: “I told my first stranger I was pregnant” Jessica Hiemstra-van der Horst
2nd Place: “Funny Bone” Wenda Nairn
Honourable Mention: “The Virgin Mary is a Collapsed Umbrella” Julie Mahfood
1st Place: “April the Cruelest” Adrianne Kalfopoulou
2nd Place: “Why Wake Dayo?” Carla Hartenberger
Honourable Mention: “Behind the Glass” Ruth Morris Schneider
Thank you as well to each of our esteemed judges. Each judge shares her thoughts on the winning pieces in each category.
Fiction: Mary Borsky
Mary Borsky has written two collections of short stories: “Influence of the Moon” (Porcupine’s Quill), and “Cobalt Blue” (Thomas Allen). She has also written the Benny Bensky books for children (Tundra), and is now in the midst of writing another book of fiction.
“In short stories – as in life! – I value emotional connection, truthfulness and energy. The winners are small gems that have stayed with me. “Glorious Mysteries” is a quiet story, but it engaged me completely. I was pulled into Natalie’s world, the world of the hospital and the world of loss. Natalie’s rebellion felt important and real.”
Poetry: Sachiko Murakami
Sachiko Murakami’s first collection of poems, The Invisibility Exhibit (Talonbooks 2008), responds to narratives written and unwritten about Vancouver’s missing and murdered women. She holds an MA in English Literature and Creative Writing from Concordia University (Montreal). Her poetry has most recently appeared in Prairie Fire, EVENT, and West Coast Line. She has worked for Matrix, Room, Event and the Capilano Review, and is a past member of Vancouver’s Kootenay School of Writing collective. The Invisibility Exhibit was shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award for best first book of poetry from the League of Canadian Poets, and the 2008 Governor General’s Award for Poetry. Recently moved from Vancouver, she now lives in Toronto.
“The emotion of this poem, like the unborn child that is its subject, makes itself known quietly: beneath surfaces, unrelentingly present. The act of reading is transformed from an incorporeal, intellectual activity as the irreducible body edges its way into consciousness at the literal edges of the page. Preoccupation edges its way into the life of the speaker’s mind, and inconsequential scraps of everyday life become powerful markers for her pregnancy: library books greased with a stranger’s meal, her desire to change the plot of novels already written. Reading becomes matter, and it is a matter of life and death. A moving and well-crafted poem.”
Creative Non-fiction: Deborah Campbell
Deborah Campbell is an award-winning writer whose work has appeared in Harper’s, The Walrus, The Economist, Guardian, Adbusters, New Scientist, Asia Times, Utne, and has been included in anthologies and essay collections on three continents. Known for literary nonfiction that involves spending long periods of time in the regions she covers, she is the author of the nonfiction book This Heated Place. An adjunct professor in the Creative Writing Department at the University of British Columbia, she has guest lectured at universities around the world. In 2008 she won the Dave Greber Freelance Writers Award for her writing on Iraqi refugees for Harper’s and in 2007 won two National Magazine Awards for her reportage on Iran.
“This essay, which weaves together the story of a woman’s visit from Greece to see her university-aged daughter in New York with the myth of Persephone and the history of displaced Palestinians, is a poetic exploration of the nature of grief and desire. Pieced together from fragments, it is also a study in lost identity and the arrival of a new season. This piece stood out from the rest not only for the elegance and clarity of the writing but for the way it successfully brings together numerous narrative strands, each of them detailed and specific (for the universal can only be found in the specific), to illuminate the complexity of the human journey. An intelligent, poignant meditation on love and loss.”