Short Forms Contest 2020: Winners!

Here’s some good news in during a brisk February day – the winners of the 2020 Short Forms contest are finally here! A big thank you goes out to our wonderful judge, Lisa Bird-Wilson, for the time and effort that went into choosing these pieces, and of course, to everyone who submitted something for consideration.


First Place: Berries, by Cayenne Bradley

Cayenne Bradley was born and raised on Hornby Island, known to the Coast Salish First Nations as Ja-dai-aich, and now resides in Vancouver, BC. Cayenne studies creative writing at the University of British Columbia and is working on a memoir.

“A magnificent dream-like reflection in which we see a daughter grappling with the untidy “conjured phantom” of her father. The images are rich and sensual—as beautiful as they are horrifying—crafted with just the right amount of restraint. The impact of this short piece leaves a booming echo.” – Lisa Bird-Wilson


Second Place: Theme Song for Loneliness in a Pandemic, by Anna Swanson

Anna Swanson is a queer writer and librarian living in St. John’s, NL. Her first book of poetry, The Nights Also, won the Gerald Lampert Award and a Lambda Literary Award. Her work appears in anthologies including Best Canadian Poetry, and In Fine Form: The Canadian Book of Form Poetry.

“Through the metaphor of being lost the author couples Bob and Doug McKenzie with a meditation on loneliness, offering us a moment to reflect on our shared bewilderment. Through a measured sense of peril, the straightforward prose offers a consideration of what it means to be alone together. An earworm “to sing to [us] while we fall.” – Lisa Bird-Wilson


Honourable Mention: Mind the Sentencing Gap, by Erin Klingmann

Erin Klingmann is an emerging writer and creative nonfiction student in the 2021 Writer’s Studio at Simon Fraser University. She lives in Victoria, B.C., where she works for the Province as an information designer and plain language specialist. She was born in Smithers in 1976 and raised in Vancouver.

“Cleverly depicted as a graph, “Mind the Sentencing Gap” is somewhat reminiscent of concrete or visual poetry. But at its heart the piece is prose—inventive, political, and pressing—demanding our attention to the truths of intimate partner violence.” – Lisa Bird-Wilson


You can find Cayenne and Anna’s pieces in the upcoming Room 44.2, which will be published in the summer. As for the honourable mention, you can read Erin’s wonderful essay right now via the link listed above. Our sincere gratitude to our esteemed judge, Lisa Bird-Wilson, for her thoughtfulness in the judging process and generosity in sharing with us her time. We would also like to thank every writer who shared their writing with us. In case you missed the previous announcements, you can click through the links for the 2020 Short Forms Contest longlist and shortlist.


Room‘s annual Short Forms Contest opens every year in September, and our Fiction Contest is open now, until March 15th, 2021.

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