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Thank you to to all of the poets who shared their work for consideration for the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize for Poetry! Our judges read almost 300 submissions before selecting fourteen poemswritten by a group of thirteen remarkable Canadian poets—for our longlist.

THE 2021 MITCHELL PRIZE WINNER

Kate Cayley

KATE CAYLEY has published two collections of poetry, two collections of short stories, and written a number of plays which have been performed in Canada, the US, and the UK. She has won the Trillium Book Award and an O. Henry Prize, and been a finalist for the Governor General’s Award for Fiction. She is a frequent writing collaborator with immersive company Zuppa Theatre. She lives in Toronto with her wife and their three children. Learn more on her website.

THE 2021 MITCHELL PRIZE SHORTLIST

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Kate Marshall Flaherty

KATE MARSHALL FLAHERTY’s latest books of poetry are Radiant Reaching V, and Stone Soup. She has been published in numerous Canadian and International anthologies and journals, including The Literary Review of Canada, Vallum, Room Magazine, Malahat Review, Grain Magazine, Saranac Review, Trinity Review, Windsor Review, and Descant. She was shortlisted for Tifferet Journal’s Poetry Prize 2020, Arc’s Poem of the Year 2019, and Exile’s Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Prize 2018. She is a past Toronto Rep for the League of Canadian Poets where she inaugurated the annual “Poetry in Union” spontaneous poetry event in 2018. She was an in-house editor for Quattro Books and currently guides StillPoint Writing and Poetry Editing Workshops in the AWA Method, is a freelance poetry editor, and is co-chair of Amherst Writers and Artists. She is working on a memoir and her sixth collection of poetry. Learn more on her website and Instagram. 

Benjamin Hertwig

BENJAMIN HERTWIG (he/him) is a writer and artist from Treaty Six land, currently living on the land of the Musqueam, Squamish, and Tseil-Waututh. He has developed and taught writing workshops for veterans, inmates, and secondary students across Canada. His debut poetry collection Slow War was a finalist for the Governor General’s Award. Benjamin is represented by Transatlantic Agency and is currently working on a novel. Follow him on Twitter and Instagram

Shazia Hafiz Ramji

SHAZIA HAFIZ RAMJI grew up in Kenya, England, and the UAE, and moved with her family to Vancouver at the age of fifteen. She was a finalist for the 2021 National Magazine Awards for two poems published in Event. Her writing has also been shortlisted for the 2020 Bridport Prize for International Creative Writing (UK) and nominated for the 2020 Pushcart Prizes. Her first book of poems, Port of Being, received the Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry, was named by the CBC as a best Canadian book of poetry, and was shortlisted in 2019 for several awards including the City of Vancouver Book Award and the British Columbia and Yukon Book Prizes (also known as the Dorothy Livesay Poetry Prize). She lives between Vancouver, Calgary, and Toronto, where she is at work on a novel and a second book of poems about faith, addiction, and her South Asian, Iranian, and Irish ancestry. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram.

Melanie Siebert

MELANIE SIEBERT is a writer and settler grateful to live on the homelands of the W̱SÁNEĆ First Nations and the Lekwungen and Xwsepsum Peoples on Vancouver Island. She completed an MFA at the University of Victoria. Her poetry collection, Deepwater Vee, was a finalist for Canada's Governor General's Literary Award. Melanie has worked as a wilderness guide on remote rivers in the Northwest Territories, Nunavut, and Alaska. She is now a therapist and her book Heads Up: Changing Minds on Mental Health is the go-to guide for youth mental health and shares the moving, true stories of young people finding their way to understanding and hope. Follow her on Twitter and Instagram

THE 2021 MITCHELL PRIZE LONGLIST

Mia Anderson

MIA ANDERSON has written six books of poetry. She won the Malahat Long Poem prize twice, and the Montreal International Poetry Prize judged by Don Paterson. Born and raised in Toronto, she spent five seasons as an actor at the Stratford Festival in Ontario and four years in theatre in Britain. She has also performed in theatres across Canada, including in the one-woman show, 10 Women, 2 Men and a Moose. She migrated to poetry, along with shepherding and market-gardening, before becoming an Anglican priest. Her parish work took her and her husband to Québec, where she now lives on the bank of the St-Lawrence River. She is currently translating a social history of the coureurs de bois in North America.

 

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Kate Marshall Flaherty

KATE MARSHALL FLAHERTY’s latest books of poetry are Radiant Reaching V, and Stone Soup. She has been published in numerous Canadian and International anthologies and journals, including The Literary Review of Canada, Vallum, Room Magazine, Malahat Review, Grain Magazine, Saranac Review, Trinity Review, Windsor Review, and Descant. She was shortlisted for Tifferet Journal’s Poetry Prize 2020, Arc’s Poem of the Year 2019, and Exile’s Gwendolyn MacEwen Poetry Prize 2018. She is a past Toronto Rep for the League of Canadian Poets where she inaugurated the annual “Poetry in Union” spontaneous poetry event in 2018. She was an in-house editor for Quattro Books and currently guides StillPoint Writing and Poetry Editing Workshops in the AWA Method, is a freelance poetry editor, and is co-chair of Amherst Writers and Artists. She is working on a memoir and her sixth collection of poetry. Learn more on her website and Instagram. 

 

Robert MacDonald

ROBERT MACDONALD was gifted with a keen curiosity and an attraction to working with his hands. Over several decades, he became a graphic artist, then a typographer, then a printer, then a community activist, then a publisher, then an information architect, then a program director, then a programmer, then a designer. He hasn’t completely finished with being and doing any of those. Having spent most of his life in big citiesToronto, New York, San Francisco, Vancouverhe is now nestled into the grasslands and orchards that overlook the lakes in the beautiful and strange Okanagan Valley. He finds peace and profound solace in the wilderness upland from his home. He is transcribing several decades of poems from notebook to computer, and otherwise productively biding his time. 

 

Peter Norman

 

PETER NORMAN has published four poetry collections, most recently Some of Us and Most of You Are Dead, and a novel, Emberton. His poems and stories have appeared in The WalrusThe FiddleheadThe Malahat ReviewGrainBest Canadian Poetry, and elsewhere. He is a past finalist for the Trillium Poetry Book Award and winner of Arc Poetry’s Confederation Poets Prize. Learn more on his website.

 

Pamela Porter

PAMELA PORTER was born in Albuquerque, NM. Before immigrating to Canada, she was a Bread Loaf working scholar and nominated for a Pushcart Prize. She has authored fourteen collections of poetry, and her work shortlisted for the Pat Lowther Award, the Raymond Souster Award, and the CBC Canada Writes Poetry Prize. Pamela’s poetry has won the Vallum Magazine Poetry Award, the Prism International Poetry Prize, the Malahat Review, Exile, FreeFall, Arc, and Our Times awards, and was featured on Garrison Keillor’s The Writer’s Almanac. Her free-verse novel, The Crazy Man, won the 2005 Governor General's Literary Award, the Texas Institute of Letters Award for Best Young Adult Book, the Canadian Library Association Book of the Year for Children Award, the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People, the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Jane Addams Foundation Honor Prize, and was the book chosen to represent Canadian children’s literature at the 2008 International Board on Books for Young People annual conference. Her 2011 novel in verse, I’ll Be Watching, was a finalist for the BC Book Prize, the Geoffrey Bilson Historical Fiction Award, the Bolen Books Award and the Texas Institute of Letters Young Adult Fiction Award. Pamela lives near Victoria, BC, with her family and a menagerie of rescued horses, dogs, and cats. Follow her on Instagram

Maaike VanderMeer

MAAIKE CORNELIA VANDERMEER is an emerging poet from Ontario. She lived in Kenya, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo until university age. She is fascinated by the meeting of diverse human experience in words and art. She currently splits her weeks editing for Christian Courier and working on a fish farm in British Columbia. Learn more on her website.

 

Grace Vermeer

GRACE VERMEER lives in Sarnia, Ontario. Her poems have appeared in VallumBig Art BookBeyond Forgetting: Celebrating 100 Years of Al Purdy, and Tamaracks: Canadian Poetry for the 21st Century. Her work has received a number of awards including the Lillian Kroll Prize in creative writing and the Monica Ladell Award. 

 

Sarah Rochelle Wallace

SARAH ROCHELLE WALLACE is a graduate student in English and creative writing at the University of New Brunswick. While there she has served as a poetry editor for Qwerty and was awarded a Joseph Armand Bombardier Canada Graduate Scholarship for her thesis project. Sarah currently lives in Lacombe, Alberta, on Treaty Six Territory, where she works in communications, fundraising, and management for A Better World Canada and the Saruk Centre for Leader Development. She is an avid vegan cook and baker and enjoys long walks while listening to podcasts on topics including history, philosophy, and cults. Follow her on Instagram.

 

Derek Witten

DEREK WITTEN was raised in small-town Alberta and has lived most of his adult life in and around Vancouver. He has worked as an editor and writer for newspapers, magazines, and advertising. Last year, he, along with his wife and six-month-old, took the long road trip to Durham, North Carolina, where he started a PhD in English. Derek has published poetry in Crux and [spaces] journals and with Driftwood Poetry.

 

MORE ABOUT THE PRIZE

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