Announcing the short fiction and poetry finalists for the $10,000 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award has a storied track record of discovering Canada’s brightest young writers at the outset of their careers. The finalists each receive $2,500 and the opportunity to be mentored by an established editor.

Today begins a week-long celebration of emerging writer prizes by the Writers’ Trust that will include the announcement of finalists for the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers and the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. The winners for all three prizes will be announced on Wednesday, October 21 via a digital event — the Writers’ Trust Awards: Emerging Writers Edition.



Selected by a jury composed of fiction writers Kris Bertin, Djamila Ibrahim, and Carrianne Leung.

Jamaluddin Aram for This Hard Easy Life. A painful, beautiful story. Aram gives the reader a nuanced look at life before and after displacement.
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Omer Friedlander for Palestinian Still Life. Friedlander melds beautifully the personal to the political, the mundane to the extraordinary, the past to the present.

Leah Mol for Six Things My Father Taught Me About Bears. A deeply moving snapshot of a family whose conditions are unstable but their love resilient.



Selected by a jury composed of poets Klara du Plessis, Benjamin Hertwig, and Canisia Lubrin.

nina jane drystek for c:ode. These are poems that bind architecturally together as a collection and unfold into surprising images, moments, and ripples of thought.

Zoe Imani Sharpe for Selection from [CA$H4GOLD]. In a Canadian poetic context where certain histories are still overlooked, this work is urgent and entirely its own.

Alexa Winik for Selections from Winter Stars Visible in December. A clever cross-pollination of astrology and literature, Winik’s poems make a disturbance on the page that dares to linger in the mind.

Nominated fiction and poetry by each finalist, along with featured works of past years’ finalists, are available for free download on Apple Books at


About the Award

Open to writers who are under age 35 and unpublished in book form, the prize is sponsored by the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Project, which supports artists in the early stages of their development to help them gain national recognition as they advance from emerging to established in their artistic field.

“During a year that has brought so much uncertainty and financial vulnerability to the country’s writing community, the Writers’ Trust is elated to have such generous support from the RBC Foundation to enable the expansion of this important program for young, developing writers,” said Charlie Foran, executive director, Writers’ Trust.

Since it was established in 1994, the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award has recognized 78 young writers, many of whom have gone on to receive literary acclaim. Past winners include Michael Crummey, Alissa York, Sonnet L’Abbé, Alison Pick, and Marjorie Celona. The last three prizewinners — Noor Naga, Maria Reva, and John Elizabeth Stintzi — all published debut works to critical acclaim this spring.

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 felt that writers should have more opportunities for recognition early in their careers, and so this annual award is given to a writer below the age of 35 who has published poetry or prose in a literary magazine or anthology, but has not yet been published in book form. This spring McGill-Queen’s University Press published the Collected Poems of Bronwen Wallace, edited by Carolyn Smart.

About the RBC Emerging Artists Project

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