Chanel M. Sutherland wins 2022 CBC Short Story Prize


Chanel M. Sutherland

The Montreal-based marketing director and writer will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and will also attend a writing residency at the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity.

Sutherland is now a two-time CBC Literary Prize winner; she also won the 2021 CBC Nonfiction Prize for her story, Umbrella.

“When I first learned that I won, I could not believe it. I have been following the CBC Short Story Prize since I was 19 and winning was always this distant dream. To receive this news was a very surreal and emotional moment,” Sutherland said.

Born in St. Vincent and the Grenadines, Sutherland moved to Canada when she was 10 years old. Sutherland wrote Beneath the Softness of Snow because she wanted to write a story that captured those first moments of a young mother living in a foreign country — one she felt was hostile toward her.

“I started writing this story because I found myself thinking a lot about my mom’s experience. For many years, I was thinking about how I felt when my mom moved away from St. Vincent and I was left with my grandparents and I didn’t see her for many years,” said Sutherland.

“We started having these conversations following Umbrella — about her experience and what she felt when she was here and it sparked this story.”

The 2022 CBC Short Story Prize jurors were Omar El Akkad, Casey Plett and David Bergen.

“Beautifully and carefully told, Beneath the Softness of Snow is a story about attachment, detachment and painful choices, centred on a woman who must leave her own children to make money caring for the children of her employer. It is a difficult thing to write in the second-person, but here the result is a quiet intimacy, where the reader is made complicit in the reality of how privilege works,” the jury said in a statement.

“There is a deep sadness that runs through this story, a palpable grieving, but also a sense that, regardless of the circumstances, one can always hold fast to the steadying anchor of love.”

The result is a quiet intimacy, where the reader is made complicit in the reality of how privilege works.

The four finalists for the 2022 CBC Short Story Prize are Susanna Cupido of Sackville, N.B., for Me Against Jim Bailey, Jeremy Elder of Toronto for Desire Path, Nancy Hui Sulaiman of Windsor, Ont. for Dinner With Friends and Anna Ling Kaye of Vancouver for Nesting Season.

They will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts.

The jury selected the shortlist from a longlist of 36 writers that was compiled by a team of writers and editors from across Canada.

The CBC Literary Prizes have been recognizing Canadian writers since 1979. Past winners include David Bergen, Michael Ondaatje, Carol Shields and Michael Winter.

The 2022 CBC Poetry Prize is open for submissions. You have until May 31, 2022 at 11:59 p.m. ET to submit your original, unpublished poetry or collection of poems, up to 600 words. There is no minimum word requirement.

The 2023 CBC Short Story Prize will open in September and the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January 2023.