White Rock’s Joseph Kakwinokanasum is in the running for a $6,000 writing prize. (Tracy Hetherington photo)

White Rock writer in running for $6,000 accolade

Joseph Kakwinokanasum to learn Oct. 1 if his story, Ray Says, wins CBC Nonfiction Prize

A White Rock writer is among five finalists for the 2020 CBC Nonfiction Prize.

A news release issued Thursday (Sept. 24) announces that Joseph Kakwinokanasum is in the running for the $6,000 top prize for his piece, Ray Says.

Set in Pouce Coupe – where the Edmonton-born Kakwinokanasum was raised – it’s described as a story “inspired by an experience that triggered anxiety for Joseph.”

“The experience of meeting family after a long and unhappy familial hiatus was difficult,” the release continues.

Kakwinokanasum, who belongs to the James Smith Reserve in northern Saskatchewan – where his mother was born – attended high school in Dawson Creek. He attended SFU’s The Writer’s Studio (TWS) in 2018, the TWS Graduate Workshop in 2019 and has read at the South Surrey Writer’s Group, Zero-360 and for SPiEL Vancouver, according to the release.

Literary accolades he’s already received include the 2014 Canada Council for the Arts Grant for emerging Indigenous writers and storytellers and an honourable mention for the 2020 Humber Literary Review for his story, Cipiyak.

The four other finalists are Amy MacRae of Vancouver, for Take a Photo Before I Leave You; Burnaby’s Jonathan Poh, for Value Village; Rachael Preston of Nanaimo for The Story Teller; and Leona Theis of Saskatoon, for Sturnella Neglecta (Overlooked Little Starling).

The stories were selected from more than 1,700 entries received from across Canada, the release notes.

Each finalist will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, and has had their work published on CBC Books.

The winner of the top prize – which also includes a writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity – is to be announced Oct. 1.


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