Fiction Contest 2024: The Winners

We are so excited to bring you the results of this year’s Fiction Contest, judged by Sarah Bernstein. The wait is finally over: here are this year’s winners!


FIRST PLACE: Sad Robot, by Camie Kim

Camie Kim’s work has appeared in Books in Canada, Fireweed, Matrix, Scribner’s Best of the Fiction Workshops, and elsewhere. She was the inaugural winner of The Writers’ Union of Canada Short Prose Competition. Most recently, she placed second in Grain magazine’s 2023 Short Grain contest. Camie lives in Waterloo, Ontario, where she works as a technical writer.

I loved this story about a slightly ornery grandmother whose children gift her a companion robot after the death of her husband. It is beautifully rendered and keenly observed. I admired its close attention to language, its surprising wry humour, its focus on the rhythms and disruptions of daily life. It approaches its themes, of ageing, grief, loneliness, in a manner that is at once poignant and playful. I was hooked from the opening line. — Judge Sarah Bernstein


SECOND PLACE: We, Fleeting, by Jody Chan

Jody Chan is a writer, community organizer, and care worker based in Toronto/Tkaronto. They are the author of sick(Black Lawrence Press), winner of the 2021 Trillium Award for Poetry, and impact statement (Brick Books).

In this moving story of ‘unlanguaged love’ two women who spent their girlhood in a Hong Kong orphanage find each other after 60 years of separation. I loved the language and rhythm in this piece, the pacing, the repetition and repetition with variation, through which unfolds a history at once vast and intimate, personal and political. History is here lived and felt through the body and the structures of relation. — Judge Sarah Bernstein


THIRD PLACE: Motherhood, (or the Stranger and the Cave), by Shelby Satterthwaite

Shelby Satterthwaite is a Canadian writer based in Vancouver, B.C. Her practice mainly consists of prose, poetry, and occasionally playwriting. Her work often explores beauty and pleasure within the grotesque, shameful, and secretive landscapes of womanhood. Currently, she is focused on letting her friends read her diary, eating well, and loving deeply.

This exquisitely-written piece about a being living at the mouth of a mysterious cave has shades of Angela Carter. Strange and baroque, with lush descriptions of landscape, the story follows the protagonist’s journey into the once-silent cave that has begun to return her offerings of pebbles and bones. The boundaries between self and other, body and world, animate and inanimate are made nebulous in this compelling story that doesn’t yield its secrets easily. —Judge Sarah Bernstein


Camie and Jody’s First and Second place pieces will be available to read in print, in Issue 48.2! Shelby’s piece is available to read on our website now, via the link above.

As always, we are hugely grateful to everyone who shared their writing with us here at Room. We hope that we get to read your work again in the future: be it for a contest, for a print issue, or for a website feature.

A final thank-you to this year’s judge, Sarah Bernstein, for making time in a busy schedule to judge this year’s contest submissions with such care and consideration. We are so grateful to have such a notable Canadian visionary be part of our contest!

If you’d like to try your hand at submitting to one of our contests, our Creative Non-Fiction Contest is open from now, until June 30th – we would love to read your work!

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ROOM 47.2 Seedpod
“Maple keys are built by nature like helicopter blades, which allows them to propel as far as possible from the mother maple… In these pages, we see the brave, touching, true ways we, too, must embrace the fear and the excitement that comes with leaving where we are rooted.”

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