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Contest winners (beginning second from left): Jackie Bateman, Myrl Coulter and Rachel Thompson

Emerging writers honoured at ‘1st Book Competition’

November 4, 2010

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SFU’s Writers Studio announced the winners of its first national literary contest, the ‘1st Book Competition’, at the International Writers’ Festival in Vancouver in October. The organizers received 200 manuscript submissions, which was twice what they expected.

The judges chose winning manuscripts from each of the three contest categories: creative non-fiction, fiction and poetry.

They are:
  • Birthmother by Myrl Coulter (Edmonton), creative nonfiction;
  • Nondescript Rambunctious by Jackie Bateman (Vancouver), fiction;
  • Galaxy by Rachel Thompson (Vancouver), poetry
None of the winning authors has previously published a book.
  • Creative nonfiction judge Karen Connelly chose Birthmother because it “worked best” and was a “compelling act of narrative form.”
Says its author, Coulter, “The best part is the affirmation this honour brings. It’s so hard for new and emerging writers to get published today.”

Fiction Judge Mark Anthony Jarman, says Bateman’s novel, Nondescript Rambunctious, could be published as a thriller by a large press. “I was impressed by it,” he says.

Bateman, a commercial copy writer and mom says, “As an unpublished author, there was always a nagging voice in my head asking questions like, ‘am I becoming an unsociable writer hermit for no reason?’ Now that I know my book might actually be enjoyed by other readers, I have an even better excuse to lock myself away from my rowdy family.”

Galaxy,” says poetry judge Gregory Scofield, has “a ‘real’ and ‘true’ sense of place, love, longing, family, and the constant struggle and re-negotiation of self and experience.”

Galaxy author Thompson, who has published her poems in Canadian and international journals, says she’s “over the moon” about winning the competition. “I’m happy that I have found a home for the first collection and can give more attention to my new work.”

So what do they all win? Vancouver's Anvil Press will publish their manuscripts in 2011. For more information: www.thewritersstudio.ca.

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