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North Van writer longlisted for major short story prize

Saya Watanabe is one of 33 authors nominated for the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize
Saya Watanabe, author
North Vancouver writer Saya Watanabe has been longlisted for the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize.

A North Vancouver writer has been longlisted for a prestigious short story prize.

Saya Watanabe is one of 33 authors to make the longlist for the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize for her story “西(Nishi),” it was announced on Wednesday.

Watanabe is a writer of short stories and essays that “explore themes of diasporic identity, climate change, family and belonging,” according to a news release.

She is currently enrolled in a post-graduate program at the University of British Columbia, and while attending Simon Fraser University she was a recipient of the Roy Miki Award in Creative Writing and the Capi Blanchet Annual Scholarship in Fiction.

“西(Nishi)” is her second short story.

“I wrote ‘西(Nishi)’ to explore the way climate change and issues of sustainability intersect with structures of power and institutional inequality,” stated Watanabe, in the release. “The story contrasts movements seeking large-scale change with the everyday injustices and hurt that we inflict through thoughtless acts on a more intimate, human level. I tried to capture the feelings of millennial desperation, of feeling stuck and helpless, in our ever-complicated world.”

The longlist was selected from almost 3,000 submissions and a group of writers and editors from across the country compiled the list.

The contest winner will be announced on April 29.

In addition to a cash prize of $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, the winner will receive a two-week writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity and will have their story published on the CBC Books website.