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Surrey’s Louie Leyson has been named the winner of the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize.
Leyson’s entry, Glossary for an Aswang, was selected from more than 2,000 works from across the country.
As the grand-prize winner, Leyson will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and their work has been published on CBC Books. They will also have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point on Toronto Island.
“I’m happy, stunned and grateful to win this award,” said Leyson in a statement. “I’m grateful to CBC for the prize, the acknowledgment and the platform to share my work more broadly. It’s all very dreamlike. A disbelieving joy. I want to hug my younger self and tell them there’s disbelieving joy on the horizon.
“I’m especially grateful that my work was selected by an incredible jury of established authors in Canada—Eternity Martis, David A. Robertson and Merilyn Simonds—each with an abundant, distinguished body of work to their name. That might be the most exciting part of the win, for me. There isn’t a greater thrill than to have my work acknowledged by those whose work I already admire.”
In a statement, the jurors said this about Leyshon’s work:
“Glossary for an Aswang is a taut, polished piece that devastates with elegance. Part autoethnography, part reportage, this intense, unconventional meditation on Filipina identity is experimental in structure, using precise poetic language to shape deeply researched realities into a compelling and unforgettable narrative.
“The stories within this story are painfully fragmented—much like, the writer laments, the histories, families, and individual memories of the Filipino people, suppressed by colonization and dispersed across a globe dependent on Filipino domestic workers. Each fragment intimately situates the reader within the loneliness, isolation, injustice, violence, and even death faced by those who leave their families in search of a better life. The writer demands that you look, and not look away.”
You can find other work from Leyson in Catapult, The Malahat Review, Palette Poetry, The Rupture, Nat. Brut and Plenitude.
The four runners-up for the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize, who will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts are: Finnian Burnett of Princeton for That Poor Girl; Christine Lowther of Tofino for Environmental Services; Barbara Joan Scott of Calgary for Black Diamond; and Kelly S. Thompson, formally from Vancouver and currently based in Colorado Springs, Colorado for The Edge of Change.
CBC Books also announced Maxime Jolivel as the winner of the French grand prize for Histoire de pêche.
For more information on the CBC Literary Prizes, please visit CBCBooks.ca.
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