SHORT WORKS PRIZE
to all Award Recipients and Honourable Mentions!
The Alvin A. Lee Award for Creative Non-Fiction:
Anuja Varghese: Spark Hunter: Secret Life of a Matchmaker
(Hobart Pulp, 2021)
“In “Spark Hunter: Secret Life of a Matchmaker” the author explores the subjective construct of “spark” in a multi-faceted story — the structure itself mimicking a diamond ring. The language is precise and the narrator’s journey toward spark as she lives it now provides the story with a satisfying arc. The final two paragraphs which depict present day, were striking and beautifully rendered.” – Juror comment
Nicola Winstanley: Signs of Covid
(Hamilton Arts & Letters magazine, issue 14.1, 2021)
“I kept returning to this hybrid work of graphic CNF. I appreciated the depiction of inequities within Hamilton — income, housing, “health” and belonging. The themes were amplified by the illustrations — early and repeated imagery of walls, fences and the written word (sloganeering, checklists). I felt “othered” while walking in the narrator’s shoes and keenly aware of how money, belonging, mental health, disability, early or ongoing trauma are invisible differences we carry through our day. This story reminds me that the impact of COVID was very unique for each individual and we can expect “recovery” won’t be homogenous either. The rhythm of nature and animals provided a welcome note of hope.” – Juror comment.
Melissa Kuipers: Suspension
(The Windhover, volume 25.2, 2021)
“The young narrator’s voice rings true throughout “Suspension.” A 9-year old protagonist wrestles with the question of “afterlife” which the author depicts through congruent sensory details. While introspective, the pacing of the story is maintained by gentle humour and dialogue.” – Juror comment
– JUROR: Laura Sergeant
The Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd. Award for Poetry:
Jaidyn Fenton: Amherst Island
(Breaking the Vault: Art and Poetic Liberty, Art Gallery of Hamilton, 2021)
“In the poem “Amherst Island” every beautiful word is reminiscent of warm memories of childhood and home. The imagery goes beyond the limitations of sight and delights the senses with lush descriptions of textures and aromas. We are invited to walk through this poem, sit for a while under the warm sun, and enjoy the delights of the fertile earth beneath us. It is a journey well worth taking.” – Juror comment
Robert Boates: Twisted
(Tower Poetry, Summer 2021)
“The poet’s voice rings true, awakened to the current challenges of our days. From the montage of overwhelming images, a sense of gratitude comes through, unravelling the small personal things that matter just as much to inspire us to go on, to survive the chaos that surrounds us. Intensity intersperses with calm and pleasure. Dramatic.” – Juror comment
Bernadette Rule: My Lady
(Literature for the People, Issue 2, Spring 2021)
“With a tight rhyme-scheme and sparse yet beautiful descriptions, “My Lady” has a calm surface that disguises a swift undercurrent of emotion flowing freely through the poet’s words.” – Juror comment
– JUROR: Chelsea Rainford
The Hamilton Public Library
Freda Waldon Award for Fiction:
P.A. Cornell: Splits
(Cossmass Infinities, Issue 6, 2021)
“This piece is immediately compelling to read, its mystery slowly opening up to the reader. It’s a unique science-fictional concept told with the perfect amount of distance. It suggests a larger message about family, self-parenting, and the multitudinous nature of identity without coming across as overly preachy or being too over-the-top with its theme.” – Juror comment
Anuja Varghese: Cherry Blossom Fever
(Plenitude Magazine, 2021)
“In addition to its gorgeous prose, this piece deftly used distinct perspectives, whose voices were all unique. I loved its multicultural and queer take on a love story, and the throughline of the Cherry blossoms. Its tongue-in-cheek self-awareness of CanLit was also commendable.” – Juror comment
Grace Evans: The Glaistig
(The Antigonish Review, Issue #205-06, 2021)
“The melancholy of this piece is accentuated by its use of time slips and retrospectives.” – Juror comment
JUROR: Lynne Sargent
The Gillett Awards for Creative Non-Fiction:
Marg Heidebrecht: Invasions
“A warm and witty story about familial change and acceptance. Sometimes scathing, the observations made are expertly driven by the juxtaposition of a children’s toy. ‘Forget the light getting in; that’s how the malice trickles out.’ Outstanding.” – Juror comment
Deena Sacks: Yellow Sneakers, A Memoir
“An extremely well-organized piece that holds the tension throughout. A devastating topic (school violence) treated with a strong first-person account that drops in dialogue effortlessly and keeps perfect pace.” – Juror comment
Duncan Appleford: Who Do You Say That I Am
“A nice choice of setting, laying out numerous possibilities for biblical interpretations that are really well organized with a strong ending.” – Juror comment
JUROR: Denyse Terry
The FirstOntario Credit Union Award for Fiction:
Carol Greene: Tommy’s Ojek Repair Shop
“Spanning years, with a meticulously plotted timeline, the themes, voice and word choice are fantastic. Some unconventional sentence construction that really works. ‘Jay loved anything and learned everything…’ The reader is moved forward and back seamlessly. A real stand out.” – Juror comment
Ian Kolesnikoff: Knew and Seen
“Sweet coincidence – I had just finished reading Lucy Ellmann’s Ducks, Newburyport when this story landed on my desk. The voice and sentence structure are unique indeed and somehow managed to pick up steam and strength as they went along. Similes to make one weep, and lines like. ‘… a gilded toilet seat that squirts lukewarm water when you’re finished scrolling through your news feed.’ Really well done.” – Juror comment
Hannah Rose Rosales: Hand-me-downs
“Great character development and settings. A strong, touching story.” – Juror comment
Silvia Taylor: The Song
“Divinely rich in setting and scope.” – Juror comment
Lis Jakobsen: Mr. Chuckles
“Laugh out loud funny! Dizzyingly fabulous vocabulary. Sharp and taut, and really, really good.” – Juror comment
JUROR: Denyse Terry
Hamilton Arts & Letters Award for Poetry:
Nevena Kovacevic: Fragments That Remain
“A poem comprised of more than 50 lines that twist and evolve, telling a story of siblings finally stepping forward and leaving bloody footprints behind. Ours is an age inured to genuine pathos, but “Fragments That Remain” reignites the reader’s world-hardened emotions.” – Juror comment
lisa borkovich: this escarpment
“Another poet not afraid to take the reader on a long evocative journey. A bit of John Terpstra, of Frank Kerr, of e e cummings, and a whole lot of Hamilton delivered with distinct and original verve.” – Juror comment
Ritwik Temburni: The Death of a Jackal
“A good poem puts the best words in the best order and that happens here. Opens a door to imagery magically revealed.” – Juror comment
Rochelle Rosales: Dear October
“Third line: ‘my hidden warmth thins, dissipates like a nervous ghost. So I surrender’. A poem impeccable in style, language, imagery.” – Juror comment
JUROR: Denyse Terry
“This was an astonishing year for Off-The-Radar entries. So much amazing work!”
The Rotary Club of Hamilton AM Young Writers Awards
Youth Creative Non-Fiction Award:
Keisha Wanniarachchige: Too Brown
“In his book The Racial Mosaic, Daniel Meister shows how the philosophy of cultural pluralism in Canada normalized racism and the entrenchment of whiteness. ‘Too Brown’ shows us the entrenchment machine and then throws a wrench in it.” – Juror comment
Youth Fiction Awards:
Julia Boden: Living in the Fog
“A mysterious muffled tale both haunted and haunting. Original with echoes of Edgar Allan Poe.” – Juror comment
Sofia DiGiacomo: A Party Girl’s Guide to Kissing Girls
“In this story I read the most affecting lines of the year: ‘You don’t know whose house this is. You don’t know most of the people here. You feel a little bit at home.’ It won’t come easy, but everyone deserves a chance to build a life filled with good things.” – Juror comment
Maria Anastasia Corkery: The Waiting Room
“Detailed and fog-shrouded / provoking and lasting. Just 300 words making a world. Well, that’s unexpected and a rewarding read.” – Juror comment
Sam Hounsome: a kettle whistles
“There is story telling skill evident in this tale. A sharp-eyed glimpse of setting, character, plot. Maybe a resolution. The reader is left unsure and wanting more.” – Juror comment
Youth Poetry Awards:
Jaime Morton: The Fighting
“Flowers and bullet wounds. Anger and hurricanes. Trauma. Peace. A big, majestic piece of writing.” – Juror comment
Julia Kaemingh: My Island
Yet, here by the window, all we see are Luna moths tapping their wings while fireflies / etch melodies and June bugs rap rhythmic tunes. All of this, illuminated by the peaceful / water we are safely surrounded by.
I know summer will expire as it has done before. We roll up the rugs, put away the / dishes, and strip down the beds. I trade my swimsuit for a warm sweater because the / summer sun is dwindling down one last time.
“These 2 stanzas are perfect:” – Juror comment
Abbey Hanson: Three Days
“Well-crafted and the structure properly enhances the story behind the poem.” – Juror comment
YOUTH HONOURABLE MENTIONS:
Emily Marshall: Till death do us part (Fiction)
“Zips along like a fast-tracked train bound for a noire film set. A story peopled by Hollywood characters. A title mightily weighed down with foreboding.” – Juror comment
Fiza Karim: Breaking Point (Fiction)
“Brief and fiercely written, like words scratched by raw fingers in glass and stone.” – Juror comment
– JUROR: Hamilton Arts & Letters magazine
The Gillett Reminiscence Awards for Memoir Writing:
Shannon Chartrand: She was wrong
“The first two sentences have you hooked: ‘My seven siblings and I were ‘nee pour un petit pain’ – born for a small loaf of bread. But, we never settled for it.’ What follows is a remarkable blend of reportage, parable, and epic reminiscent of Steinbeck.” – Juror comment
Laurie Reece: More Beautiful
“The term ‘Memoir’ does not do justice to the story-making craft displayed in this piece. A perfectly shaped narrative that pulls the reader into the room to see the couch, smell the recently bleached mugs, and know these women are taking care of themselves the best they can.” – Juror comment
– JUROR: Paul Lisson
Congratulations to all who have been
Recognized with a Short Works Prize this year!
CLICK HERE TO READ THE WINNING ENTRIES
on the HPL website >>>
to our SWP Sponsors and Community Partners!
The Short Works Prize for Writing is presented in Partnership by Hamilton Arts & Letters magazine and the Hamilton Public Library. Many thanks to McMaster University, Judy Marsales Real Estate Ltd., James Gillett, The FirstOntario Credit Union, The Rotary Club of Hamilton AM, the City of Hamilton, and The Hamilton Spectator!
Meet our 2022 SWP Jurors!
LAURA SERGEANT’S creative non-fiction has appeared in Canadian and American literary magazines. She won Hamilton’s Short Works Prize for CNF in 2021, was runner-up in 2020 and was finalist for the Icelandic Writing Retreat (2018) and Grit-Lit Festival (2018). She was a reader for Toronto’s Emerging Writer’s series (2021) and looks forward to reading at Hamilton’s LitLive in March. In her twenties, she pursued songwriting and was lead guitarist in several indie rock bands; writing is her earliest creative passion. She’s currently completing a book-length memoir. You can find her on Instagram @laurahsergeant.
CHELSEA RAINFORD is a poet who was born and raised in the city of Hamilton. She has been writing for most of her life and is driven by a belief that beauty can be found all around us. As a person with autism Chelsea has a unique perspective on the world that she feels allows her to see beyond the mundane. Rainford is a past SWP Award recipient.
LYNNE SARGENT is a writer, aerialist, and holds a Ph.D in Applied Philosophy. They are the poetry editor at Utopia Science Fiction magazine, and their work has been nominated for Rhysling, Elgin, and Aurora Awards. Find their short stories in venues such as Orion’s Belt, The Arcanist, and Daily Science Fiction. To find out more, reach out to them on Twitter @SamLynneS or for a complete bibliography visit them at scribbledshadows.wordpress.com.
DENYSE TERRY is a writer and editor living in Hamilton’s Corktown neighbourhood. Past publicist with the Hamilton Fringe Festival. Bill Dunphy writing in The Hamilton Spectator described Denyse’s story BOOM as a “lyric essay, with Terry finding echoes and after-images of explosions throughout her search of Hamilton’s history and her own family’s past.” Denyse is SWP’s most experienced juror and says that the many submissions to the OFF-THE-RADAR categories “are rich, varied, honest and frankly, inspiring.”
PAUL LISSON is a poet, editor, and visual artist. Hamilton Arts Award for Arts Management (2017) and for Visual Art and Writing (1997). Founding Member of the Ontario D/deaf/HoH, Disabled, Mad, Sick and Neuroatypical Poetics Collective, (OD/d/HoH/DMSNPC) 2018. Recipient of the McMaster University Rand Memorial Prize for writing and an International Merit Award for poetry from the Atlanta Review. Facilitator – the AbleHamilton Poetry Festival – among the first dis/Ability-focused poetry festivals in Canada, 2018 and 2019. Member of the League of Canadian Poets. Co-editor of Hamilton Arts & Letters magazine. Paul acknowledges the support of the Ontario Arts Council for both his writing and visual art. (PaulLisson.com).
The Short Works Prize Awards Celebration will not take place at the Hamilton Public Library this year due to Covid-19 / Flu / RSV.
Note to all Award Recipients and Honourable Mentions:
– Your SWP Award Certificate will be sent to you in the mail by the Hamilton Public Library in the coming weeks.
– Please send HA&L a photo of yourself with your SWP Certificate and we’ll tweet it @ShortWorksPrize !
Email your photo to: HAL@HALmagazine.com
With permission of each writer the Hamilton Public Library will post the 2022 SWP poems and stories on the HPL website in the new year. Check back here for a link.
Follow SWP on Twitter: https://twitter.com/shortworksprize
Many thanks to ALL who participated in SWP this year!
The Short Works Prize for Hamilton-area authors was founded by Hamilton Arts & Letters magazine, Bryan Prince Bookseller, and the Hamilton Public Library in 2014.