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Writer’s Studio alum wins PRISM’s 2013 fiction contest

May 06, 2013
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By Natasha Townsend

Shana Myara, a 2006 graduate of The Writer’s Studio, a creative writing program at Simon Fraser University, won PRISM’s annual fiction contest in March 2013 with her short story "Remainders." Her win was made especially sweet because the competition was judged by one of Myara’s idols: the well-known Canadian author Annabel Lyon.

Myara is no stranger to success in the contest circuit: She won subTerrain’s annual fiction contest for her piece "Poolside" in 2011, and in 2008, she placed second in Geist’s first annual Short Long-Distance Writing Contest with her piece "Miracles, Plural."

Shana Myara. Submitted photo.

Myara completed The Writer’s Studio in 2006. She was drawn to it, in part, because it was part-time—she knew she wanted to be a writer, but she didn’t want to quit her job to do it. The Writer’s Studio was a perfect solution.

When Myara began The Writer’s Studio, she thought she’d be studying creative writing. She soon realized she was doing much more—she was joining a rich community of writers.

“The Writer’s Studio really focused on the community aspect of writing—being in the program connected me with a strong group of writers all working towards a shared goal,” she says.

Myara’s mentor was Wayde Compton, who currently directs The Writer’s Studio. “He really encouraged us to develop close ties with each other—circles that would extend beyond the length of the program,” she says.

Years after graduating from The Writer’s Studio, Myara continued to meet with two of her fellow writers from the program, Vaughan Chapman and Sarah Turner. Even as she went on to complete her MFA at the University of British Columbia, she continued to rely on them for support and encouragement.

This helped Myara stay motivated and focused on her writing. “We would hold each other to goals like finishing a chapter by the end of the week,” she says. “Sort of like taking a buddy to the gym.”

Her recent contest success suggests the support has paid off.

Her next step?

“Finish my book of short stories and have it published.”