Kelowna writer and professor Corinna Chong has won CBC’s short story grand prize for 2021.
Chong’s story, titled Kids in Kindergarten, shows how isolating miscarriage and loss can be. The story follows an unnamed protagonist as she processes her most recent miscarriage. Chong’s story is one of the five finalists and was picked as the winner of nearly 3,000 entries.
The jurors said in a statement that Chong “has a wonderful ear for sound and speech — a sense for what a real voice can do on the page, filling in character, and creating talk that reveals and feels so true to life.”
As the grand prize winner, Chong will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts as well as a two-week writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.
In an interview with Capital News, Chong said it was a shock just being part of the shortlist.
“It feels amazing. I’m so thrilled,” she said. “I didn’t expect to get this far and I was just so happy to be on the longlist.”
When she first told her family, Chong said her mother asked her if she thought she had a shot at winning.
“’Are you excited about maybe winning this thing?’ she asked me. I just laughed at her. I said, ‘I’m not going to win.’
“I’m just amazed and so happy.”
Chong teaches creative writing and applied publishing courses at Okanagan College, though she is currently on leave as she works on finishing her second novel Bad Land.
“While I am passionate about my own work, I am also committed to engaging in the writing community, especially through guiding and mentoring emerging writers,” she said.
The four runners-up for the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts.