Thursday, April 02, 2009

Winner Annouced for Emerging Writer Award

Winner of RBC Bronwen Wallace Award For Emerging Writers Announced

TORONTO – April 2, 2009 – A literary award with a track record for identifying some of this country’s finest developing writers has been presented to Emily McGiffin, a twenty-eight-year-old from Smithers, British Columbia.

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers is given this year to a Canadian author under the age of thirty-five, not yet published in book form, for a sample of poetry. Supported by the RBC Foundation, the prize carries a cash value of $5,000. The prize was presented last night at an event at Toronto’s Royal Bank Plaza.

Emily McGiffin studied biology and geography at the University of Victoria and is currently working toward an MSc in rural development through the University of London. McGiffin’s poetry has been twice shortlisted for the CBC Literary Awards and has appeared in The Malahat Review. Her non-fiction appears regularly in Small Farm Canada magazine.

“This award attracts the attention of publishers and literary agents, and can often lead to a writer’s first book contract,” said Don Oravec, executive director of the Writers’ Trust of Canada. “We applaud the RBC Foundation for getting behind writers at this stage of their career. Support like this helps to develop and promote this country’s next generation of great writers.”

Finalists were selected by a jury of Don Domanski, Jeanette Lynes, and Anne Simpson. They received 135 submissions. Of McGiffin’s poetry submission, “Wokkpash and Other Poems,” they wrote:

"These deeply resonant poems are perceptive, visceral, and steeped in lyrical wisdom. The linguistic orchestrations of this work inhabit a fully engaged intelligence and sensibility. There is heart-seeing here, expressed with an authentic strength and a luminous eloquence. This is poetry linked firmly to the invisible labouring of a raw faith, which has grown out of body and mind. The vision here is one aesthetically grounded in the world, a world that in turn is replenished by these poems, by this poet’s beautifully cadenced work."

Two finalists each received cash prizes of $1,000: Michael Johnson (Vancouver) for “The Minnow and Other Poems” and Jeff Latosik (Toronto) for “How the Tiktaalik Came onto Land and Other Poems.”

This prize was presented for the first time in 1994 and alternates each year between poetry and short fiction. Past winners include Michael Crummey, Alissa York, and, most recently, Marjorie Celona.

Bronwen Wallace was a mentor for many young writers as well as a creative writing teacher at St. Lawrence College and Queen’s University in Kingston. She was also the editor of Quarry Magazine, and during her editorship the magazine gave many writers their first publication. Wallace wrote four books of poetry and a collection of short stories before her death at age forty-four. She felt strongly that unpublished writers should receive recognition at an earlier age.

The RBC Foundation invested $51.5 million in charities in hundreds of communities worldwide in 2008. Its support of this literary award is one of thirty partnerships that constitute the RBC Emerging Artists Project, supporting talented young adults in their development of professional careers in the arts.

About the Writers’ Trust of Canada

The Writers’ Trust of Canada is a charitable organization that supports Canadian writers and writing through various programs, including literary awards, financial grants, workshops, scholarships, and a writers’ retreat.

For further information about the Writers’ Trust and to receive a booklet containing the submissions of this year’s finalists, please visit


For further information, photo requests, or interview opportunities, contact James Davies at 416.504.8222, ext. 245, or