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Emerging queer writers celebrated as finalists announced for Dayne Ogilvie Prize

jaye simpson, Kama La Mackerel, and Jillian Christmas

jaye simpson, Kama La Mackerel, and Jillian Christmas (La Mackerel: Noire Mouliom; Christmas: K. Ho)

Poets Jillian Christmas, Kama La Mackerel, and jaye simpson have been announced as this year’s finalists for the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ2S+ Emerging Writers. The finalists will each receive $1,000 and the winner, to be announced in a virtual event on June 23, will receive $10,000. This year’s prize is endowed by one anonymous donor.

The finalists were chosen by a jury composed of authors Daniel Allen Cox, Eva Crocker, and Danny Ramadan. The award is presented to an emerging queer writer whose work shows “great literary promise.” Previous winners include Zoe Whittall, Kai Cheng Thom, and last year’s recipient Arielle Twist.

Vancouver’s Jillian Christmas is the author of the poetry collection The Gospel of Breaking (Arsenal Pulp Press), which the jury called “an unforgettable book that speaks to lineages of Black queerness while showing how poetry and cadence can inhabit a body.”

Montreal’s Kama La Mackerel is the author of the poetry collection ZOM-FAM (Metonymy Press). The jury called La Mackerel’s work “a sensuous and fiercely political exploration of gender, familial love, and the intergenerational impacts of colonization.”

Vancouver’s jaye simpson is the author of the poetry collection it was never going to be okay (Harbour Publishing). The jury wrote, “The love simpson’s poetry offers to their trans Indigenous kin is definite. They are a vital part of Canada’s literary future: when simpson speaks, you listen.”

“Now in its 15th year, the Dayne Ogilvie Prize is a testament to Canada’s thriving and vibrant LGBTQ2S+ literary community and its influential place within the country’s arts scene,” Writers’ Trust executive director Charlie Foran said in a statement. “All three of this year’s finalists write in the genre of poetry and it’s wonderful to highlight their unique voices and draw attention to their original and thought-provoking work.”