Douglas Kyle Memorial Prize

Short Fiction

    • Single story
    • 2,000 to 4,000 words
    • Prose only, please. Narrative poems are not admissible
    • First Prize $250, Second Prize $150, Third Prize 1 year WFNB membership

    The 2024 Judge: Willow Kean

    Willow Kean is an actor and writer from Labrador West who now resides in St. John’s. She holds a BFA in theatre from Grenfell College and has spent over twenty years working for several theatre companies across Newfoundland and Labrador. Her work on film includes The Death of Winter, Hard Light, Away From Everywhere, and The King Tide. While living in South Korea, Willow was employed as a teacher, voice recording artist, and writer, researching and writing biographies and historical fiction for ESL students of all ages. She started writing collaboratively for the theatre in 2009 and has had several children’s theatre productions tour schools around the province. Willow’s five-woman comedy Supper Club was developed and workshopped with Resource Centre for the Arts Theatre and was selected for the Playwrights Atlantic Resource Centre (PARC) Colony in Sackville, New Brunswick, held virtually over a two-week period in May of 2020. Supper Club premiered in St. John’s at the LSPU Hall in November of 2021, and completed an island-wide Arts and Culture Centre provincial tour this past fall. She’s won NL Arts and Letters awards in both fiction and non-fiction, been shortlisted for the Cuffer Prize, the WANL Postcard Story Contest, and most recently was longlisted for the 2022 NLCU Fresh Fish Award. Willow was the recipient of the 2016 Rhonda Payne Theatre Award, and in 2018 she won the Percy Janes First Novel Award. Her novel, Eyes in Front When Running, was published by Breakwater Books in June of 2023. Willow gets angry, cooks, and writes about it at thelittleredchicken.substack.com.

    2024 WINNERS

    First Place: Very Best – By Heather Gunn, Moncton

    Judge's comments: This story is one that makes you hold your breath a little the whole way through. It’s so dark and violent in its subject matter, but it’s an alarmingly accurate portrayal of life in any small town, and all the times people turn a blind eye to something that’s so harmful and wrong, for the sake of keeping up appearances. The dialogue and banter between characters was so true-to-life I found myself instantly transported to that town, and to that time period. It’s simultaneously heartbreaking and redemptive; heartbreaking in that so many adults have failed to protect the kids, but redemptive in that the kids are able to look after themselves when they shouldn’t have to. You find yourself cheering for their ingenuity and vigilantism, even when you’re not really supposed to. A satisfying ending, that left just enough to the imagination.

    Author Bio: Heather lives in Moncton, NB. She is a teacher and a mom, loves to read and, lately, to write. The setting of this novel is Miramichi, NB, where I grew up in the 1970s and 80s. I explored the setting and the people and the relationships between children and adults.

    Second Place: Jack Currie, By Trent Pomeroy, Rothesay

    Judge’s Comments: A very dark piece of huge importance with solid, spare, and effective prose. The writer touched on so many issues pertinent to the here and now, even though the story is set almost sixty years earlier. The protagonist endears himself to us immediately, seeing past his mother’s judgement of the economic status of the family next door, in the way that only kids can do. I found myself rooting for him and for Jack Currie to fight against the odds the adults had set against them, and forge a strong friendship. The subject of child abuse was handled deftly, without gratuity, but in a manner that didn’t shy away from what needed to be told. The ending, while tragic, was satisfying in that the reader is left knowing that everything will be revealed, and left with the hope that the surviving children will be taken care of.

    Author Bio: Trenton Pomeroy grew up and still lives in New Brunswick on Canada’s East Coast. He is a recent retiree from the software industry, where his writing was mainly focused on technology publications and marketing materials. Now he writes as a hobby. He has won multiple awards for fiction, creative nonfiction and flash. He is a three-time first place winner of the WFNB Narrative Nonfiction award, and was long listed for the CBC Writes Nonfiction competition in 2022.

    Third Place: The Ducks, By Olivia Mazerolle, Moncton

    Judge’s Comments: A beautiful examination of a child’s understanding of grief. The writer paints a vivid picture of a much bigger story in a succinct and simple manner that hits quick and hard and so effectively. The voice of the five-year-old girl was completely believable, so much so that the read became quite difficult towards the end, before the resolution occurred. It’s a story filled with love and hope for the family without being saccharine; a difficult thing to do, especially when told through the eyes of a young child.

    Author Bio: Liv Mazerolle is a third-year History and Creative Writing student at the University of King’s College/Dalhousie University. She was born and raised in Moncton by a family of artists and writers and has always called New Brunswick home. As a teen, she was a finalist for the Writer’s Federation of New Brunswick’s Sheree Fitch Prize. The same year, she was published online by the former NB-based arts magazine, CreatedHere. Liv was one of six first-year university students at King’s to be awarded a Foundation Year Program Essay Prize. She is currently a poetry editor for Fathom, Dalhousie and Kings’ creative writing journal.


    2022 - 2023 Judge: Marianne Ward

    Winners

    First Place: Cheyenne Kean-Lemery (Sackville, NB), The Yellow Door  

    Tied for Second Place: Trent Pomeroy (Rothesay, NB), Now That We Can Choose and Brent Mazerolle (Moncton, NB) Setting the Hook

    Third Place: Trent Pomeroy (Rothesay, NB), Holes 

    2021 - 2022 Judge: Hugh MacDonald

    Winners

    First Place: Andrew Campbell, Nail House: 10048  

    Second Place: Eva Allen, The Gift  

    Third Place: Pat Post, The Defaulters 


    "It was a gift to receive the call that I had been awarded the Douglas Kyle Memorial Prize for my short story. The story I submitted to the contest has deep personal meaning for me and to hear it had reached someone was an incredible feeling. From start to finish, the contest was a positive, affirming experience for me. It was meaningful to hear the kind words from the contest judge and an absolute treat to meet with other writers to read our work. There are so many talented writers working in this province; being part of the reading was a huge honor. Writing communities are creative lifeblood for anyone who wants to write and this contest, for me, was a way to interact with the talented writers in New Brunswick. "

    Agata Atonow, Florenceville-Bristol, NB, 2021 winner

    "I received the Douglas Kyle Award in 2016. At the time I was getting rejection letters left and right and really feeling it. This award and the recognition of my peers gave me the confidence to keep going and even though I’ve since gone through long periods where I can’t seem to get the words down on the page, having that award in my back pocket always reminds me of what I am capable of."

    Jamie Gibbs, Miramichi, 2016 winner

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