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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 get their first book deal. Two $10,000 prizes will be given for outstanding works of unpublished poetry and short fiction.

The prize is sponsored by Royal Bank of Canada. Due to the pandemic, the winners will be announced via a digital event in June.

2021 Winner

Short Fiction

Anna Ling Kaye

East City

Jury Citation

“In ‘East City,’ we are embedded alongside rural workers living displaced lives in a Chinese manufacturing metropolis. Anna Ling Kaye renders their world in crisp, efficient prose, guiding the protagonist, Lan Lan, as she finds work — and friendship — on the assembly line in a doll factory. Like the best fiction, this story is both attentive to its own specifics and filled with the universal shadows of human experience, gesturing outward at the stark reality of life for migrant workers around the world. ‘East City’ is a compassionate and electric story for these times.”
— 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award short fiction jury (J.R. McConvey, Zalika Reid-Benta, and John Elizabeth Stintzi)

2021 Winner

Poetry

Zehra Naqvi

The Knot of My Tongue

Jury Citation

“Just as the revered Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz commanded us to speak in his seminal piece ‘Bol,’ so too does Zehra Naqvi’s ‘The Knot of My Tongue’ compel us to unpack the complexities of that seemingly simple act. In a voice that is equal parts theologian, autobiographer, and linguist, Naqvi calls us to consider the possibilities and impossibilities, the power and failures of the written word. These heartfelt poems play with form and structure as they weave their way through Quranic tradition, the conspiratorial silence of community and family, and the poet’s inner world towards a beauty that speaks beyond the limitations of language."
— 2021 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award poetry jury (Irfan Ali, Domenica Martinello, and Jacob McArthur Mooney)

2021 Finalists - Poetry

2021 Finalists - Short Fiction

Jury

Poetry
A jury composed of poets Irfan Ali, Domenica Martinello, and Jacob McArthur Mooney read 250 anonymous submissions to select the finalists in the poetry category.

Jury

Short Fiction
A jury composed of fiction writers J.R. McConvey, Zalika Reid-Benta, and John Elizabeth Stintzi read 295 anonymous submissions to select the finalists in the fiction category.

About Bronwen Wallace

Bronwen Wallace was a poet, short story writer, and mentor to many young authors as a creative writing instructor at Queen’s University and St. Lawrence College in Kingston. This prize was established in her honour in 1994 by a group of friends and colleagues. Wallace's first book, Marrying into the Family, was published when she was 35 and she felt that writers should have more opportunities for recognition early in their careers. And so this annual award is given to writers who have published poetry or prose in literary magazines or anthologies, but have not yet been published in book form.