Congrats to MFA alumna Lauren Carter (2008) on her first-place showing in Prairie Fire's 2013 fiction contest, judged by Mike Barnes. Here's a bite-sized taste taste of her winning story, "Rhubarb":
Josie’s family came from Saudi Arabia when we were in Grade Four. She stood at the front of class as the teacher introduced her, one hand cupping a boney elbow and the ends of her long hair tangled like they’d been dipped in sugar. Alone in the schoolyard, we watched as she wound her fingers through the chain-link and stared out at the lake, at the fishery’s squat white boats motoring out and back in, seagulls accompanying them like kites. I wondered what it was like moving somewhere with so much water after a place with so much sand but I didn’t ask her or say anything about it to Sam and Lara as we whispered in a clutch by the gym door, beside the four-square. Over the weeks Josie’s colour faded to a tan and she became one of us, her pigtails jumping in the blur of plastic, pink rope.
Lauren Carter’s poetry and fiction has been long-listed for the CBC Poetry Prize and nominated for the Journey Prize. Her first novel, Swarm (Brindle & Glass, 2013), was called “a somberly melodic, literary foray” by Booklist and was voted one of the Top 40 books that could change Canada in CBC Canada Reads. A transplanted Ontarian, she currently lives in The Pas, Manitoba. Visit her online at www.laurencarter.ca.