Princeton local up for prestigious Canada-wide nonfiction award

Local up for writing award

A Princeton resident is one of just five finalists Canada-wide in the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize.

Offered annually through CBC Books and the Canada Council for the Arts, the prize recognizes excellence in original, unpublished nonfiction writing under 2,000 words, picked by a jury comprised of distinguished journalists and writers.

Finnian Burnett of Princeton's piece That Poor Girl made the shortlist.

Burnett recently obtained their Canadian citizenship, having moved from the United States in 2018.

"Their writing explores intersections of identity — fatness, mental health, disability, queer joy," reads a press release from CBC Books.

That Poor Girl is very personal for Burnett. It explores in first person Burnett's relationships with their sisters, and their complicated feelings for their father.

"We've talked about him, sometimes haltingly. The conversations are hard because we all experienced him differently, some from a place of abuse," reports CBC Books.

"This story was difficult to write. Even the thought of sharing it made me sick with anxiety. If I was going to share it, I wanted it to be somewhere special."

Burnett joins four others in the finals, waiting to hear on Sept. 21 who wins the $6,000 grand prize which comes with a two-week residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point, a prestigious creative space on the Toronto Islands.

The four other finalists will receive $1,000.

All five have already had their works published on CBC Books. Read Burnett's That Poor Girl online here.

Next up for Burnett, regardless of the prize, is their second novella-in-flash, The Price of Cookies, forthcoming from Off Topic Publishing, and they are working on novel told in letters, described as being "about a trans man trying to reconcile a complex relationship with his dead mother."

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