BC writer Susan Cormier wins 2022 CBC Nonfiction award for essay about the ‘magic’ of beekeeping RS News

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Susan Cormier won the 2022 CBC Nonfiction award for her essay Advice to the New Beekeeper.

You will receive $6,000 from Canada Council for the Arts and will attend a writing residency at Banff Center for Arts and Creativity.

Cormier’s story was published on CBC Books. You can learn Advice to the New Beekeeper here.

Métis writer Cormier works in print, performance and film. By day, he is a beekeeper and co-owner of CR Apiary in Langley, BC By night, he is the producer of the Vancouver Story Slam.

He wrote Advice to the New Beekeeper because he wanted people interested in beekeeping to realize that bees need knowledge, dedication and manual care. For Cormier, the clip was an attempt to convey some of the things a beekeeper might not learn from books and videos.

“The right person to keep bees is someone who is interested in learning that magic, not someone who thinks that bees are magical creatures that you can sit around and be like, ‘Wow, they’re good for ecology.’ A lot of the conversations I have in my head when I work with bees revolve around trying to summarize that,” said Cormier in an interview with CBC Books.

The judges for the 2022 CBC Nonfiction Prize were Jenna Butler, Sharon Butala and Marcello Di Cintio.

The jury selected the winner and the shortlist from a long list of 31 authors compiled by a team of writers and editors from across Canada.

“A polished piece that seamlessly blends scientific fact with lyrical prose, Advice to the New Beekeeper grabs the reader’s attention in the opening line. The author navigates the words in the hive with general skill and not the word from the place, in the same way as the bees are carefully trained in the various important tasks within the operation of the colony. She is smart, considerate and very beautiful, Advice to the New Beekeeper it’s interesting everywhere,” the jury said in a statement.

The other four finalists are Cayenne Bradley from Victoria Your HouseKerissa Dickie of Fort Nelson, BC, of Seh Woo, My TeethYS Lee of Kingston, Ont., for Tek Tek and Jane Ozkowski of Bloomfield, Ont., for The Storkatorium. Each person will receive $1,000 from Canada Council for the Arts.

Cormier’s winning essay was selected from over 1,700 entries.

“The CBC Nonfiction Award is one of the most prestigious awards for short-form writing in the country; I’m thrilled to have been selected,” Cormier told CBC Books.

“The fact that 12 judges chose my writing from thousands of longlists is amazing. And the fact that the final three judges, all respected writers, named me the winner is even more important.”

Cormier is thrilled that one of the judges, Jenna Butler, is also a beekeeper. Butler’s memoir Revery: Year of the Bee was a finalist for the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Award for nonfiction.

“I appreciate that one of the final judges is a well-respected beekeeper. It’s one thing to write with confidence to an audience that doesn’t know your subject well; it’s another thing to appeal to a professional music student. I’m humbled, delighted and surprised to receive such praise.”

Simon Brousseau won the Prix du récit Radio-Canada 2022 for La signature du père.

The CBC Literary Awards have been recognizing Canadian writers since 1979.

The 2021 winner was Montreal author Chanel M. Sutherland for her story An umbrella. Other winners of the CBC Literary Prize include: David Bergen, Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields again Michael Winter.

If you are interested in something else CBC Literary Awardsin 2023 CBC Short Story Award open for submissions until Oct. 31, 2022.

In 2023 CBC Nonfiction Award will open in January and 2023 CBC Poetry Prize will open in April.

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