Zehra Naqvi and Anna Ling Kaye have each won the Writers’ Trust of Canada’s $10,000 RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Two prizes are awarded annually in the categories of unpublished poetry and short fiction.
Naqvi, who was raised on unceded Coast Salish territories (Vancouver) and is now based in the U.K., won for her unpublished collection The Knot of My Tongue. In a citation, a jury composed of poets Irfan Ali, Domenica Martinello, and Jacob McArthur Mooney wrote, in part, “These heartfelt poems play with form and structure as they weave their way through Quranic tradition, the conspiratorial silence of community and family, and the poet’s inner world towards a beauty that speaks beyond the limitations of language.”
Ling Kaye, also from Vancouver, won for her short story “East City,” about rural workers in a manufacturing city in China. A jury composed of J.R. McConvey, Zalika Reid-Benta, and John Elizabeth Stintzi wrote in a citation, “Like the best fiction, this story is both attentive to its own specifics and filled with the universal shadows of human experience, gesturing outward at the stark reality of life for migrant workers around the world.”
The winners were announced on June 16 in a virtual ceremony hosted by Carrianne Leung. The Bronwen Wallace Award was established in 1994 as a tribute to the late poet, short fiction author, and creative writing instructor. Previous winners have included Michael Crummey, Sonnet L’Abbé, Marjorie Celona, Noor Naga, and last year’s winners Leah Mol and Alexa Winik. This year the prize was opened to writers of all ages, having previously been capped at the age of 35.