Cre­ative Non-Fic­tion Con­test Win­ners


Our 2018 cre­ative non-fic­tion con­test was judged by Stacey May Fowles. Here’s how she de­scribes the win­ning works:

It was an in­cred­i­ble plea­sure to judge the 2018 cre­ative non-fic­tion con­test, with so much in­cred­i­ble tal­ent on of­fer and every piece on the longlist shin­ing in its own dis­tinct way. In the end, de­spite the skill ap­par­ent in every work I had the op­por­tu­nity to read, three pieces shone the bright­est for me. “Rop­ing It In,” the con­test’s honourable men­tion sub­mis­sion, is an ex­am­ple of truly in­ven­tive sports writ­ing, as quick-footed as its sub­ject mat­ter, danc­ing back and forth be­tween lit­er­ary ref­er­ences and box­ing rings with grace and ease. “The Things I Didn’t Know,” the sec­ond-place win­ner, is a pro­foundly af­fect­ing med­i­ta­tion on the per­ils and im­por­tance of iden­tity. Dis­tinctly lyri­cal and beau­ti­fully po­etic, the weight of its nar­ra­tive is out­paced only by the mov­ing weight of its prose.

But it was “Es­cape Ve­loc­ity,” this year’s first-place es­say, that ticks every box for me, do­ing all of the things I be­lieve great non-fic­tion should do. Beyond the ob­vi­ous skill and craft in sto­ry­telling on dis­play, this piece pulls you into the un­ex­pected, gen­er­ously invit­ing you into a mi­lieu you might not have thought to con­sider, and in do­ing so re­veals fa­mil­iar­ity and vi­tal broader truths. With clean, di­rect, well-ren­dered prose, this story pro­vokes em­pa­thy and hu­man con­nec­tion and en­cour­ages un­der­stand­ing, all while be­ing deeply per­sonal and finely told.

Con­grat­u­la­tions to our win­ners, and thank you to ev­ery­one who en­tered. Read “Es­cape Ve­loc­ity” and “The Things I Didn’t Know” next, and read the honourable men­tion “Rop­ing It In” by Justina Elias at room­

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