Jen Neale wins RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers

Via Writers’ Trust of Canada

A literary prize with a track-record of uncovering the next generation of great Canadian writers was awarded to a 28-year-old Vancouverite during an event at Toronto’s Royal Conservatory of Music hosted by a previous prize-winner, novelist Alyssa York.

Jen Neale received the $5,000 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers for her short-story “Elk-Headed Man.”

The prize recognizes writers under the age of 35 who are unpublished in book form. It is supported by the RBC Foundation through the RBC Emerging Artists Project, which invests in up-and-coming artists and helps them build professional careers in their artistic field.

A jury composed of Alexander MacLeod, Johanna Skibsrud, and Madeleine Thien selected the winner from amongst 110 submissions. They said of the winning story:

“Elk-Headed Man” has it all: pure imaginative power, sharp humour, emotional honesty and real insight. Throw in a hard-to-resist main character – he’s the strong silent type – and add a few flourishes of raw writerly style and you get a finely crafted story that re-plants the hot seed of Latin American magic realism into the cold heart of the Canadian wilderness.

Jen Neale’s work has appeared in OCW Magazine and the collection of short fiction Writing Without Direction (Clark-Nova Books). She is working toward an MFA in creative writing at the University of British Columbia, and is the executive editor (circulation and promotion) of PRISM international. “Elk-Headed Man” includes characters from her novel-in-progress.

Two finalists received $1000 each: Dina Del Bucchia, a 32-year-old from Vancouver for her story “Under the ‘I’;” and Kathy Friedman, a 29-year-old from Toronto for her story “At the Bottom of the Garden.”

Stories by the winner and finalists are available for free download exclusively on Apple’s iBookstore ( The iBookstore is accessible via the free iBooks App for iPad, iPhone, and iPod touch, and at

Additionally, a booklet featuring the finalist works was distributed at the prize presentation and is available by request at

“I would like to congratulate our winner on this important accomplishment in her writing career,” said Shari Austin, vice president, corporate citizenship and executive director of the RBC Foundation. “We believe it is critical to identify, nurture, and reward the next generation of Canadian talent and are proud to support promising new Canadian writers like Jen Neale.”


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