Thursday, April 16, 2009


Back in February, I had submitted a poem to a contest. The winner of this contest would win an all-expenses paid trip to the Summer Literary Seminar of their choice. When I submitted, the choices were: Italy in May, Lithuania in July, or Kenya in December. Almost 900 submissions by around 800 writers were sent to this unified fiction/poetry contest. The winners were announced on 1 April. I wasn't one of them. I thought, "Oh, well. At least I finally started sending my work out."

Then, on 9 April, I was checking my email at Adrienne's:

"Thank you for participating in the annual Summer Literary Seminars-2009 Unified Fiction and Poetry Contest. As indicated previously, we are offering some merit-based fellowships for our contestants whose work placed beyond the mean of contest submissions. Our judges were strongly impressed with your writing -- Exilic is a beautiful, haunting poem -- and we are pleased to offer you an SLS fellowship. This offer is being extended to the thirty contest finalists in each category.

SLS programs are renowned for the exceptionally high quality of their workshops, taught by some of the most innovative, interesting and talented of international writers and poets -- and in order to maintain that level of excellence, we need participants of high caliber of talent and dedication -- which is why we'd be happy if you could join us in Vilnius, Litnuania, this summer. We hope you will seriously consider this offer."

So, yeah, I've been short-listed. Holy shit. Excuse me while I mildly gush, but this is the first time I've ever been short-listed. As great as Lithuania looks - I did some research, and there was an article on Vilnius in a travel magazine in the Riga airport - realistically, I can't do it. I seriously considered their offer, but the timing of the workshop is not cool: I will have been back in Toronto for only two weeks, funds are tight, and I will have some serious catching up and re-bonding to do with family and friends after this year away.

I can, however, apply the fellowship to their workshops being held in Kenya in December. By that time, I will have saved for the flight, the workshops/seminars, etc, and for the safaris (!). More importantly, I will have a larger body of work available to workshop, specifically work that will be directly related to my thesis, on which I can receive a greater amount of feedback. Plus, it's KENYA!

I'm going to watch "Out of Africa" when I get home, with a big box of Shreddies to snack on.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Yay Tanya! You are such a smarty pants!
Congratulations on being shortlisted and your trip to Kenya, both are super exciting!
Whole love you,