Blodwyn Memorial Prize



First things first: thank you so much to everyone who made our second annual prize possible, from our amazing sponsors to all the wonderful writers who trusted us with their work. We were once again overwhelmed by the quality and quantity of submissions, and it was once again nearly impossible to narrow it down to just six winners. So, surprise! We have seven winners, with two amazing poems tied for third place. Without further ado, we invite you to read, re-read, share, and read again the fantastic poems and stories that won our 2017 Blodwyn Memorial Prize! Click on the title of each piece to read it.

“Uncle’s News” by Leah MacLean-Evans
first place, fiction (sponsored by BookThug)

“‘Uncle’s News’ is a beautifully small story that revels in the physical details of its scenes, encouraging the reader to feel comfortably nestled within the narrative, within the arms of the uncle in question. The writing—which has as much character as the characters themselves—is intimate, crafting a story that lingers far beyond its quick finish.”


“We Met on 5th” by Spenser Smith
first place, poetry

“With ‘We Met on 5th,’ Spenser takes an unparalleled approach to combining original and found poetry. The immaculate craft of this poem takes an intimate, difficult subject and breaks it down into sections that perfectly balance intense inwardness with devastating invitation. This poem takes the reader to necessary and uncomfortable places, and then forces a dialogue, asking them to be a different person than when they began.”


“Winnie” by Jack Hostrawser
second place, fiction (sponsored by BookThug)

“‘Winnie‘ is an exemplary story in all aspects: from characters to pacing to the prose itself—so clear and crisp it is almost transparent. The story drew us in immediately and never let us go. The moment you finish, you want to jump right back up to the start and begin again, and it never fails to hold up under more and more readings.”


“My Favourite Shirley Jackson Book was Eaten by my Rapist’s Dog” by Rasiqra Revulva
second place, poetry

Rasiqra’s poem is a found/erasure poem that stands entirely on its own, no context required, as a skilled, artful, and arresting original poem. At first glance, the poem feels almost too personal: reading feels invasive, but persistence pays off, with the reader becoming implicit in the poem. Uncomfortable, difficult, and essential, this poem blurs the reader’s complicity, asking them to think and act critically not just for the duration of the poem, but long after.”


“Useful General Notes for Different Dolls” by Emily Sanford
third place, fiction (sponsored by BookThug)

“Combining form, structure, and language–from its narrow margins to its fragmented narrative–‘Useful General Notes for Different Dolls’ masters an innovative approach to storytelling that feels like poetry without ever losing its footing as a piece of fiction. Although it provides but a glimpse at its cast, setting, and story, it feels completely whole, and the reader is not left wanting.”


“Without” by Lindsay Miles and “Inside After” by Jeff Parent
tied for third place, poetry

“‘Without’ is a quintessential narrative poem with a masterful eye for the everyday, for the small: small moments, small language. Effectively compact with masterful line breaks, ‘Without’ displays a stunning attention to the power of an image; it is the perfect encapsulation of what a poem has the potential to be: a perfect distillation of everyday life.”

‘Inside After’ is a simple delight of a poem from start to finish. The down-to-earth, understated wit immediately draws the reader not just into the poem, but directly into the drawer, and you don’t ever really need to leave. You are invited into a surreal, intimate moment and you, the reader, become a part of this fantastic, wonderful thing.”

We would also like to shout out several stories and poems that were especially difficult to cut as we got further along in the selection process.

Our honorable mentions in poetry go to “alien” by Terry Abrahams, “Standing in the Courtyard of Tanggu Yi Zhong: Lu Xun and Einstein” by Sacha Archer, “We Are Guided by the Beauty of Our Weapons” by JM Francheteau, “Extinction Songs” by Jhordan Layne, “Sugar” by Hajer Mirwali, “Sestina with Missing Envoi” by Geoffrey Morrison, and “Canadiana” by Amy Oldfield.

And our honorable mentions in fiction go to “Light Bulbs” by Kate Barss, “Tom’s Wedding” by Susan Sanford Blades, “Half-Life” by Hajer Mirwali, and “Canadian Gothic is Real and I Know Because I Spent a Week There” by Alasdair Rees.

JACK HOSTRAWSER’s writing has been published in The Dalhousie ReviewIn The HillsSewerlid MagazineThe Fieldstone Review, Steel Bananas, and The Quilliad. Check out his website.
LEAH MACLEAN-EVANS is a writer from Ottawa who is currently living in Regina. Her prose and poetry have appeared in Qwerty, untethered, On Spec Magazine, The Globe and Mail, and other journals. She holds an MFA in Writing from the University of Saskatchewan, where she also taught creative writing. She’s currently fostering cats, playing farming video games, and working for the Saskatchewan Writers’ Guild on Grain’s business administration. Find her on Twitter and Instagram @penanddragon.
LINDSAY MILES was shortlisted in 2014 for Briarpatch Magazine’s creative nonfiction contest. Her work has appeared in The Maynard, Self Care for Skeptics and Emerge, an anthology for emerging writers put out by Simon Fraser University. Lindsay is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of Guelph-Humber. She lives in Toronto.
JEFF PARENT is a stay-home dad, comic book enthusiast, and some kinda poet. His poetry has been picked up by The Fiddlehead, Lemonhound, Taproot, Beech Street Review, and Bad Nudes amongst others. Jeff lives in Sherbrooke, Québec with his wife, their young son, and two freakin’ cats.
RASIQRA REVULVA is a Toronto-based poet, multi-media artist, editor, musician, and performer with a distinct zoological reflex. Her poetry has been shortlisted for the Judith Eve Gewurtz Memorial Poetry Prize, the First Annual Jane Lumley Poetry Prize, and untethered‘s First Poetry Prize; recently published by untethered, Hart House Review, and In/Words Magazine; and recently performed at the second annual Naked Heart LGBTQ Literary Festival, Nuit Blanche Toronto, and Slackline Creative Arts Series. She is in the process of completing an Emerging Writers Mentorship with Diaspora Dialogues for a full-length collection inspired by the city of Toronto. Her debut chapbook of poetry and glitch-art illustration titled “Cephalopography” was published by words(on)pages press in October of 2016. Her band The Databats has recently signed to Slice Records, Australia, commencing with a re-release of their album “Chiropteratronic” in April of 2017. Learn more at @rasiqra_revulva, and
EMILY SANFORD was born in Nova Scotia and holds an MA in Literature and Performance from the University of Guelph. She is the winner of the 2016 Eden Mills Writers’ Festival Literary Award for Poetry, and was shortlisted for the Janice Colbert Poetry Award. One of her recent poems was listed amongst The 10 Best Poems of 2016, by Vancouver Poetry House. Her work appears in Grain Magazine, Minola Review, and Plenitude Magazine. Emily works at the University of Toronto School of Continuing Studies, as the Creative Writing Program Administrator.
SPENSER SMITH is a Regina-born writer, editor, and photographer working towards a Creative Writing and Journalism BA at Vancouver Island University. His work has been featured in The Maynard(parenthetical)The QuilliadtextPotluck Mag, and elsewhere. He was awarded the Pat Bevan Scholarship in 2016 and the Barry Broadfoot Award in 2017. He served as the managing editor of Portal 2017 and is currently the associate editor of The Navigator. You can visit his website at and his Instagram at @spenserasmith.

Looking for more great writing? Read the winners of the 2016 prize here!


The 2017 Blodwyn Memorial Prize would not have been possible without their generosity and support.

BookThug web only

sponsor of the fiction category


 Anstruther Press | Anvil PressArc | Black Moss Press | Brick Books | Brick magazine | Caitlin Press | Canthius | Chaudiere Books | Coach House Books | Contemporary Verse 2 | Desert Pets PressFreehand Books | In/Words Magazine and Press | Metatron | Pedlar Press | Poetry is DeadTaddle Creekuntethered | Véhicule Press