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About the Award

Established in memory of writer Bronwen Wallace, this award has a proven track record of helping talented developing authors secure their first book deal. Two $10,000 prizes will be given for outstanding works of unpublished poetry and short fiction.

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award is sponsored by RBC Emerging Artists. Since 2007, RBC Foundation through RBC Emerging Artists has invested more than $119 million in arts organizations, supporting more than 35,000 artists.

2023 Winner

Short Fiction

Zak Jones

So Much More To Say

Jury Citation

“In ‘So Much More to Say,’ Zak Jones digs his shovel into narrative terrain perpetually at the risk of breaking apart, much like the flooding South Carolina cemetery where his story is set. We are invited into the world of a young gravedigger who has the Sisyphean task of reburying the bloated bodies that come loose after rains free them from the red mud in which they have been encased. Navigating race relations and human dignity, the impeccable drawl of the author’s first-person narrator turns potential horrors into profundities, and cautionary tales into wisdoms.”

2023 Winner


Cooper Skjeie

Scattered Oblations

Jury Citation

“‘Scattered Oblations’ paints an exquisite landscape. The poems are simultaneously soft and gritty, inviting introspection, exposing dark truths, and demanding imperative answers. Wonder and rage coexist in this collection, producing a scintillating narrative that is both personal and universal, seemingly expanding the bounds of time and space while remaining firmly rooted in the fundamental urgency of Indigenous land sovereignty.”

2023 Finalists - Short Fiction

2023 Finalists - Poetry


Poetry (2023)
A jury composed of Cicely Belle Blain, shalan joudry, and Sue Sinclair read 181 submissions to select finalists in the poetry category.


Short Fiction (2023)
A jury composed of David Huebert, Janice Lynn Mather, and Dimitri Nasrallah read 201 submissions to select finalists in the short fiction category.

About Bronwen Wallace

Bronwen Wallace (1945–1989) was a poet, short story writer, and mentor to many aspiring authors as a creative writing instructor at Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College in Kingston, ON. This prize was established in her honour in 1994 by a group of friends and colleagues. Wallace felt that writers should have more opportunities for recognition early in their careers. Hence, this annual award is presented to two writers — one each in the categories of poetry and short fiction — who have been published in literary journals or anthologies but have yet to publish in book form.