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Malahat volunteer Karli Woods talks with Open Season Awards creative nonfiction judge Kyo Maclear about bird watching, writing as refuge, and seemingly ordinary subjects treated in interesting ways.
KW: As an Open Season Awards contest creative nonfiction judge, what qualities are you looking for in a winning entry?
KM: An unexpected perspective—which could include a seemingly ordinary subject treated in an interesting way. Moments of swerve. The strangeness of language. A feeling of inwardness and outwardness. Writerly courage, depth, texture, and humour. All of these qualities draw me to writing and make work come alive.
Read the full interview with Kyo Maclear on our site.
Malahat volunteer Kate Kennedy talks with Jenny Ferguson about the process of decolonization, radical honesty, and waiting for the right time to write her essay, "Excavating Rias: the Balkans 1995, the Balkans 2016."
KK: First I wanted to tell you how delighted I was by “Excavating Rias.” Based on the title and opening sentences I have to admit I initially anticipated something more in the way of a dutiful daughter sharing her dad’s experience of war, definitely something more sentimental, definitely not funny. And on one level it’s the story of a failure to write exactly that kind of essay, but the result is significantly more interesting. Can you tell me a little about planning the trip and coming to write the essay that eventually resulted?
JF: The trip surprised me, in that, I’m an avid traveller, but I’d never really thought about going to the former Yugoslavia.
I’m not one to give up what feels like once-in-a-lifetime opportunities. And I didn’t know when I’d ever be able to live for two weeks in a painted-in-all-the-blues-sometimes-totally-clashing-blues communist block apartment ever again.
This essay unfolded entirely unexpectedly from the trip. When I planned the trip I didn’t write CNF. And I’ve never considered writing a novel about the former Yugoslavia.
When I planned the trip, I was running away from my family.
But, of course, when we run away, we tend to find exactly what we were running from.
Read the full interview with Jenny Ferguson on our site.