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New national prize awards $25,000 for faith in literature

George Elliott Clarke (photo: Camelia Linta)

Poetry judge‚ parliamentary poet laureate George Elliott Clarke (photo: Camelia Linta)

North American think tank Cardus‚ as part of its Faith in Canada 150 initiative‚ has launched a new national literary award recognizing authors who take on themes and elements of faith in their writing. The Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Faith and Writing will award $25,000 to writers of poetry and short stories‚ with $10,000 going to a first-place winner and $2,500 to a second-place winner in each category. Shortlisters will also have their work published in a special anthology‚ to appear in 2018. The prize will be administered every other year‚ and will only accept original‚ unpublished work to “catalyze the new generation of such writers‚” according the prize’s project lead‚ Doug Sikkema.

“Consultation with publishers and literary groups has confirmed our suspicion that more can be done to help the diverse writers of faith in Canada‚” Sikkema says. “The prize is meant to show a real picture of the joys and struggles, the pleasures and the pains, of what being religious in Canada entails.”

The poetry prize will be judged by parliamentary poet laureate George Elliott Clarke‚ University of Cambridge writer-in-residence Todd Swift‚ and Redeemer University College English professor Deborah Bowen‚ while the short-story prize will be judged by Randy Boyagoda, PEN Canada president and St. Michael’s College principal and vice-president‚ novelist and poet Susan Lynn Reynolds‚ and Journal of Canadian Poetry editor and University of Ottawa English professor David Staines.

The submission deadline is June 30‚ 2017. A prize gala will take place in the fall.