King’s announces shortlist for 2021 Penguin Random House Canada Prize for best MFA nonfiction book proposal
The shortlist for the third annual Penguin Random House Canada MFA Prize offers “a window into the quality and range of work our students produce,” says Kim Pittaway, executive director of the University of King’s College’s Master of Fine Arts in Creative Nonfiction.
Kirk Angus Johnson first heard the story on the news. On Jan. 3, 2017, Lionel Desmond, a former Canadian soldier suffering from post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), murdered his wife, their daughter and his mother, and then died by suicide in the tiny community of Upper Big Tracadie, NS.
Marilyn Carr (MFA Class of 2020) knew she wanted to write a book. She even knew what it would be about — her hometown of Deep River, Ontario, population barely 4,000. “Everyone thinks the way they grew up was normal,” she says, “until it becomes clear, usually through time and experience, that perhaps it wasn’t.”
If you have an idea for a nonfiction book, we can help you get it onto the page—and you can do it from wherever you live.
Join Karen Stiller (The Minister’s Wife), Tyler LeBlanc (Acadian Driftwood), Christian Smith (The Scientist and the Psychic), Catherine Fogarty (Murder on the Inside) and Leslie Marion Easy Money) as they share their experiences as recent first-time nonfiction book authors.
Dr. Christian Smith was a scientist, not a creative writer. In 2006, he’d earned his PhD in medical biophysics at the University of Toronto. His day job was research operations manager of the Labatt Brain Tumour Research Centre at Toronto’s Hospital for Sick Children.
This is an excerpt from I Was a Math Class Dropout, by journalist Moira MacDonald, one of five finalists for the 2020 Penguin Random House MFA Prize. In the book, MacDonald sends herself back to math class at an adult high school to complete the math courses that foiled her as a teenager and explore why math is a four-letter word for so many students. The prize, established by Penguin Random House Canada in partnership with Westwood Creative Artists literary agency, recognizes the best nonfiction book proposal by a University of King’s College MFA in Creative Nonfiction student in their graduating year, or by an alumnus.