The Canadian Broadcasting Corporation's annual 'Canada Writes' competition has opened their mailbox to submissions of Creative Nonfiction. Besides an impressive award of $6,000 dollars for the winner this competition also boasts the offering of a two-week residency at The Banff Centre's Leighton Artists' Colony. Pretty sweet stuff for the writer who can produce a winning entry.
The nature of Creative Nonfiction can be an elusive beast, ranging in form from the personal essay to feature articles, which is what makes this competition such an alluring invitation. From the Canada Writes website, the CBC describes the criteria as "memoir, biography, humour writing, essay (including personal essay), travel writing, and feature articles. While the events must be real and the facts true, creative nonfiction conveys your message through the use of literary techniques such as characterization, plot, setting, dialogue, narrative, and personal reflection".
In the endeavour to produce the best 1,200 - 1,500 words possible your library awaits, housing all the guidance, inspiration, and source material you need for a confident, glowing submission. While the form allows a writer extreme freedom in the choice of topic there is one part of Nonfiction that's pretty strict: the facts. Having stamped myself strictly a writer of fiction, it's pretty easy to let research sit on the backburner, or make something up, to make way for uninterrupted forward progress in a narrative. But if I did have a research question slowing me down I know exactly what I would do: send it to the library via the 'Ask A Question' service. Here at Central we are constantly tackling tough research questions and nothing makes the job more rewarding (at least for this particular Reference Assistant) than freeing up time for writers so they can get back to the tap-tapping.
If it isn't research assistance you need, but fundamentals, try some of these new titles:
With the fundamentals in place, and a librarian working on your fact check, you might need some inspiration. Here's some of our recent favorites from the world of non-fiction:
If you've got your fundamentals, facts, and inspiration, wouldn't six grand and two weeks in the mountains be nice?