Announcing the Finalists for the Year’s Best Published Short Story by an Emerging Canadian Writer

The $10,000 Journey Prize recognizes new and developing writers for the best short story published in a Canadian literary journal or annual anthology. The prizewinner will receive $10,000, each finalist receives $1,000, and the publication that originally published the winning piece receives $2,000.

Now in its 32nd year, the prize has become a celebrated honour that introduces readers to the next generation of great Canadian writers. Past prizewinners include Yann Martel, Alissa York, Saleema Nawaz, and Sharon Bala.

Today’s announcement caps a week-long celebration of emerging writer prizes by the Writers’ Trust that included the announcement of finalists for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers and the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers. The winners for these three prizes will be announced on Wednesday, October 21 via a digital event — the Writers’ Trust Awards: Emerging Writers Edition.


The finalists for the 2020 Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize were chosen by a jury composed of Amy Jones, Doretta Lau, and Téa Mutonji.

Lisa Foad for “Hunting” published in Taddle Creek.  “In ‘Hunting,’ a gang of five motherless girls fight to survive in a dystopic city ravaged by the unchecked appetites of men,” said the jury. “Written in gripping, clear-eyed prose, the story is shot through with violence that is neither romanticized or gratuitous. In Foad’s masterful hands, each act is essential — and even beautiful — with an internal velocity that hurls itself towards a heartstopper of a final line.”

David Huebert for “Chemical Valley” published in The Fiddlehead. “In ‘Chemical Valley,’ the narrator’s remarkable voice is laced with dark humour while displaying a tremendous depth of feeling as he cares for his dying partner and navigates a dangerous workplace replete with unpleasant coworkers,” said the jury. “The attention to language is so meticulous that tragedy is imbued with an aura of beauty.”

Jessica Johns for “Bad Cree” published in Grain. “‘Bad Cree’ explores the truth inside a dream and the relationship between memory and grief,” said the jury. “The narrator searches for solace while meditating on conceptual forgiveness. With a dash of humour and a swift poetic hand, this is the kind of story that wakes you up in the middle of the night, purposefully and uncomfortably. Not with a question, but with an answer.”


About the Prize

This prize is made possible by James A. Michener’s donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his 1998 novel Journey. Each year, in association with the prize, McClelland & Stewart publishes The Journey Prize Stories, a collection of the stories that form the longlist for the prize. This year’s anthology is currently available for pre-order and will hit bookstore shelves starting September 22, 2020. The 2021 edition of The Journey Prize Stories will be dedicated to celebrating the work of Canada’s best emerging Black writers.

About the Writers’ Trust

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that seeks to advance, nurture, and celebrate Canadian writers and writing through a portfolio of programs including ten national literary awards, a fellowship, financial grants, career development initiatives for emerging writers, and a writers’ retreat. Writers’ Trust programming is designed to champion excellence in Canadian writing, to improve the status of writers, and to create connections between writers and readers. Canada’s writers receive more financial support from the Writers’ Trust than from any other non-governmental organization or foundation in the country.

Writers’ Trust Awards Partners

This year’s Writers’ Trust Awards: Emerging Writers Edition is made possible by presenting partner The Humber School for Writers as well as numerous corporate, foundation, and individual sponsors. Media partner The Globe and Mail provides additional support as do project partners CBC Books and Indigo Books & Music. The project is partially funded by the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage.