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English professor Dr. Alix Hawley has been named one of the four runners-up for the CBC Literary Prizes in the short story category.
“I had just about given up hope when I got the message from CBC. It was a happy way to start the day,” said Hawley, who will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts for her short story Tentcity.
The short story, which uses a satirical first person voice to reflect on lost love amid the backdrop of the 2003 Okanagan Fire, made its way to the 10-strong short list from more than 3,750 entries in the English language category.
One of the unique aspects of this year’s competition was the blog where readers were invited to post their comments on any of the competing stories.
“It was pretty unnerving to read through it and get all that feedback at once,” Hawley said. “Some people clearly preferred the more traditional format of short story, but I was relieved that there were positive comments too.”
The winning entry went to Daniel Karasik of Thornhill, Ontario for his story Mine. The other runners-up were Pamela Ferguson of Toronto, Ontario for Autumnal, Brooks McMullin of Prince Albert, Saskatchewan for Pax, and Terence Young of Victoria, for Mantra.
Hawley’s plan now is to incorporate the story into a collection that she hopes to publish in the near future. In the meantime, she’s working on a self-imposed deadline to complete the draft of a new novel by month end.
“I’ve got a working title right now, Not All Those Who Wander are Lost, but I’m still wandering a little myself,” she laughed.
Hawley has made a point of entering the CBC Short Story contest for the last few years and also made the long list in 2009. Her colleague, Okanagan College English professor Sean Johnston, also made the long list this year.
Hawley is the author of The Old Familiar, a short story collection. She completed her B.A. Honours degree in English Literature at UBC. She went on to Oxford University where she completed a Master of Studies and a Doctor of Philosophy degree. While in England, she also received an M.A. in Creative Writing at the University of East Anglia.
Tentcity, along with the other winning stories, can be read online at www.cbc.ca/canadawrites.