Alessandra Naccarato, winner of the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. Photo credit Katrina Afonso.
On a hot and humid May evening in Toronto, the Writers’ Trust of Canada handed out its “thing in the spring,” the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers. The winner was Alessandra Naccarato for her poetry collection “Re-Origin of Species.”
The Bronwen Wallace Award recognizes emerging writers under 35 who have yet to publish in book form. Past winners include many then-unknown but now-familiar names, such as Michael Crummey, Alissa York, Alison Pick and Jeramy Dodds.
Host Tanis Rideout (another past winner) set the perfect tone: fun, celebratory, reverential. The crowd schmoozed to classical renditions of Top 40 songs (we were in the Royal Conservatory of Music, after all) in a stunning all-glass room with views of Philosopher’s Walk and the Royal Ontario Museum. The atmosphere was fun, lively, and distinctly emerge-from-hibernationy. This was, said Tanis “our thing in the spring.”
Alessandra Naccarato won $5,000. Her fellow nominees each won $1,000. They were: Irfan Ali for “Who I Think About When I Think About You,” and Chuqiao Yang for “Roads Home.”
Find out more about the prize and this year’s nominees here.
Read stories from CBC Books, the Toronto Star and Quill and Quire here, here and here.
And check out a Facebook photo gallery from the event courtesy of the Writers’ Trust here.
Here are the three nominees chatting with me and (via the magic of Periscope) the world on the pre-ceremony “red-carpet.”
Chatting to award finalists Irfan Ali, Alessandro Naccarato and Chuqiao Yang before the ceremony. Photo credit Katrina Afonso.