2012 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize Winner

The Malahat Review congratulates Carla Funk, the winner of its 2012 Creative Nonfiction Prize. The Victoria, BC writer’s entry, “Returning,” was chosen by final judge Madeline Sonik.

As final judge, Sonik singled out “Returning” from the one hundred and twenty-five entries submitted and commented, "I was initially hooked by the relentless, poetic list of images that opens this piece and leads the reader to the leitmotif of the 'snow geese.'  Just as the narrator is distant from the dying, self-destructive father (both physically and emotionally) the reader, too, enters this story with a long-distance view of the narrator’s world.  Skilfully, the writer uses small and subtle details to draw us closer, revealing the tragedy of estrangement and the grace of consciousness and reconciliation.  The narrator tells us, 'the decades locked like winter in me seemed to shift' as the father, a diabetic with vascular dementia who is expected not to 'last long,' returns from a near death experience.  Interestingly, it’s not the narrator’s desire to make peace with the past that facilitates this thawing, but the father’s new-found vulnerability, which is never stated, but rendered with authenticity and precision. Dialogue, though spare, captures the essence of characters and the constructions of family. For example, as the father begins to rally, asking for watermelon, his own 90-year-old mother, sitting in her wheelchair, announces: 'This happens to the dying…They need a little something to make it to the end.'"  

photo of Carla Funk

Congratulations to Carla Funk, winner of the 2012 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize!

CARLA FUNK served as the City of Victoria’s inaugural poet laureate from 2006-2008. Her work first appeared in the landmark anthology Breathing Fire: Canada’s New Poets, and she has since published four collections of poetry, the most recent of which is Apologetic (Turnstone Press). She teaches in the Department of Writing at the University of Victoria.

MADELINE SONIK  is an eclectic, award-winning writer and anthologist whose fiction, poetry, and creative nonfiction have appeared in literary journals internationally. Her published book-length works include a novel, Arms, a collection of short fiction, Drying the Bones, a children’s novel, Belinda and the Dustbunnys, and two poetry collections, Stone Sightings and The Book of Changes. Her most recent collection of personal essays,  Afflictions & Departures, was nominated for the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction and was also a finalist for the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

You can read Carla Funk's "Returning" in our Winter, 2012 issue (#181). Or, read it in full on our website, here.

Finalists for the 2012 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize are:

Josiah Neufeld, “Stalemate”
Eve Joseph, “Nine Bouquets from Nine Sailors”
Sean Minogue, “Chasing Ghosts at the Belly of the World”
Carol Matthews, “Control of the Colour Blue”
Trevor Corkum, “The Moon in Scorpio”
Heather Tucker, “Frozen Section”
Kate Neuman, “A Brave New World”
Tik Maynard, "Critical Theory and International Relations"

Read "Writing with Funk: John Threlfall in Conversation with Carla Funk" (interview upon winning the 2012 Constance Rooke Creative Nonfiction Prize).

Read "When the Emotion Burns Off: PJ Grace in Conversation with Carla Funk" (interview one year post-win).

The Malahat Review thanks all the entrants for their continuing support.