Congratulations to the 2015 Open Season Awards Winners

Congratulations to Rebecca Salazar (Fredericton, New Brunswick), Wanda Hurren (Victoria, British Columbia), and Mike Carson (Prince George, British Columbia) on winning The Malahat Review's 6th annual Open Season Awards in the Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction categories respectively.


Of Rebecca Salazar's winning poem, "Synaesthesia," judge Jan Conn says: "What a striking lyrical poem this is, beginning with an astute observation, 'you can't grow hungry / or forget when each sensation has a taste.' At one level this could be translated as the primacy of taste, but I think it also argues that the imagination can override everything. I love this poem addressed to you, because it places the responsibility of figuring out who the you is on the reader. The poem swings along from 'a paper-cut's smell' described as both sound and touch, to 'its taste is the way it feels to dig your nail / into a maple's wet green seed / peeled slowly back from its husk.' It's a shivery idea that 'your name pronounced,' rather than merely spoken, could produce a sensation 'against your teeth / like cold and cloves.' The final stanza is a brilliant firecracker describing a painful taste reaction to being 'pinched upon the neck or on the wrist' of falling downstairs. Listen to this ending: 'hardwood: / shiny, dark / with fire / that is smothered in the gloss.' When I began this poem, it felt like a doorknob. Inside was something highly original and unexpected that shook me awake."

Rebecca Salazar

Rebecca Salazar, winner of the 2015 Open Season Award for Poetry

Rebecca Salazar is a creative writing MA student at UNB, managing editor of Qwerty Magazine, and editorial assistant at The Fiddlehead. Originally from Sudbury, Ontario, she was a co-founding editor of Sulphur: Laurentian University's Literary Journal. She recently received an honorable mention in CV2's Young Buck Poetry Contest, and her writing has appeared in Existere, Poetry is Dead, Dead Gender, tagueule!, terra north/nord, and in a Scrivener Press anthology.

Read an interview with Rebecca Salazar about her winning poem.


Of Wanda Hurren's short story, "Rain Barrel," judge Cynthia Flood remarks: "[The story] presents a major family crisis and its impact on all members. The story features intense emotions — envy, fear, bewilderment, anger, desperation, love—and suspense rises strongly through a convincing plot. It's tightly written, not a word of the 946 wasted. Vivid detail and some very skillful repetition show how the boy narrator interprets events, getting them both wrong and right. His voice sounds true. As for the ending, it leaves the reader stunned at what the child and his remaining family now confront."

Wanda Hurren

Wanda Hurren, winner of the 2015 Open Season Award for Fiction

Wanda Hurren lives in Victoria. She has published her auto/bio/geo/carto/graphical nonfiction and poetry in several anthologies and journals. A professor and administrator at the University of Victoria, she has published one book and co-edited two collections that explore geographical and aesthetic influences on knowing. She is currently working on a collection of short stories, poems, and photographs, Bodies of Water: Companion to a Prairie Atlas.

Read an interview with Wanda Hurren about her winning short story.

Creative Nonfiction

Judge David Carpenter had this to say about Mike Carson's CNF piece, "The Neanderthal and the Cave": "[It] bounces off a depressing article by Robert McCrum in The Guardian that argues 'if you do not have a literary career in progress before you hit forty years old, chances are you never will have one.' This futility is particularly hard to combat when our essayist is teaching a generation of writers 'who quantify success in numbers of virtual followers, and communicate with selfies and Tweets.' In an attempt to bridge a yawning gap between the writer and the students, Carson tells a story that explains why we write books, compose music, make art, and read old stories about the lives of people who lived well before our time. I'm a sucker for writers who, with the force of their wisdom, can shine some light in the darkness of our existence. The light in this case is little more than a guarded hope, but it reminds me why words like literature and art are still sacred."

Mike Carson

Mike Carson, winner of the 2015 Open Season Award for Creative Nonfiction

Mike Carson is a teacher, a father, and a lover of words. He lives in Prince George with his wife and twin sons. His work has appeared in The London Magazine, Tall Tales and Short Stories, and The Storyteller. His piece, "A Matter of Faith" was the winning nonfiction entry at the Surrey International Writers' Conference, and later received the Reader's Choice Award from The Storyteller magazine. He is truly honoured to have his work appear in The Malahat Review. He attributes his success with nonfiction and memoir to having lived a life that is essentially a series of cautionary tales of approximately 2,000 words each.

Read an interview with Mike Carson about his winning memoir.

All three winning pieces will be published in Issue 190, Spring 2015, due out at the end of April.

We would also like to congratulate the 2015 Open Season Awards finalists:


Kerry Rawlinson, Whitney Sweet, Jordan Mounteer, Linda Frank, Patricia Young, Cassidy McFadzean, Pete Smith, Wanda Hurren, Rebecca Salazar, Eva H.D., Michael Prior, and Leslie Casey.


Judith Kalman, Frances Boyle, Sherry Cassells, Shelley Wood, and Allison Devereaux.


Sean Kelly, Heidi Croot, Maureen Scott Harris, Gina Roitman, Natalie Marshik, and Linda Kirkby.