Thursday, February 19, 2015

Rains/Pours, or the Snow Equivalent Thereof

So much good news in 2015! I recently learned that one of my essays, "Big Ideas, Small Feet," placed third in the creative nonfiction category of Prairie Fire's annual writing contest!

Many thanks to judge Wayne Grady and the hard-working people at Prairie Fire, who put out a great publication.

I'm particularly excited because this essay came from a year (the first of many I foresee) of reading and writing about the natural world and our--humans'--relationship to it, for which I received a grant from the Ontario Arts Council. It was really fun to encounter many of the fabulous ideas at work in the world and engage with them at the level of the lives we live every day.

One of my favo(u)rite books of the past year, which I consider in the essay, was Braiding Sweetgrass, by scientist and poet Robin Wall Kimmerer. I like science, and scientists, a lot. Their passion for what they do is infectious, and Kimmerer combines her scientist-self with a mother-self and a native-woman-self and a poet-self, all with great humor and honesty. She also writes with hope, which is also infectious, and rare in books about the environment nowadays.

Winning entries from the contest will appear in future issues of Prairie Fire--possibly this summer. You can also read excerpts of all winning entries in all categories here.

Lots to be grateful for this year!
Sunday, February 1, 2015

Also at the Reading...

As I have mentioned, this coming Tuesday, I'll be reading as part of the launch of a really cool program, the electronic-writer in residence program of NOWW

Besides reading from an essay that is appearing in Best Canadian Essays 2014, I'll also read an excerpt from a short story. A little more than three years ago, the first electronic writer in residence gave me very useful feedback on it. 

And I discovered recently that this story has won an award! It placed first in the annual Ten Stories High contest sponsored by the Canadian Authors Association-Niagara Branch. The current list of winners is here.

It's exciting! As I said on Facebook, I feel as if one of my favorite people has finally found some friends. I look forward to seeing the final anthology. 

Many thanks to the Canadian Authors Association-Niagara Branch for running its contest! I know how much work goes on behind the scenes to create opportunities for others. Speaking of hard work, NOWW--the Northwestern Ontario Writers Workshop--offers not only the electronic writer in residence program but also a contest, with a deadline of March 13. More info on both programs is at their home page, here.

The external events are a nice balance to the writing work, which is always rewarding in its own way, too. So much is happening this winter, and spring is still ahead.