Home / Community Roundup / Louie Leyson of Surrey, B.C. wins the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize

Louie Leyson of Surrey, B.C. wins the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize

Leyson wins the $6,000 grand prize for their entry, Glossary for an Aswang

September 21, 2023 – CBC Books, CBC’s online home for literary content, together with its partner the Canada Council for the Arts, today announced Louie Leyson of Surrey, B.C. as the winner of the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize. Leyson’s entry, Glossary for an Aswang, was selected from more than 2,000 entries.

As the grand-prize winner, Leyson will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and their work has been published on CBC Books. They will also have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point.

The 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize jurors Eternity Martis, David A. Robertson and Merilyn Simonds, said this about Leyson’s submission:

Glossary for an Aswang is a taut, polished piece that devastates with elegance. Part autoethnography, part reportage, this intense, unconventional meditation on Filipina identity is experimental in structure, using precise poetic language to shape deeply researched realities into a compelling and unforgettable narrative.

“The stories within this story are painfully fragmented—much like, the writer laments, the histories, families, and individual memories of the Filipino people, suppressed by colonization and dispersed across a globe dependent on Filipino domestic workers. Each fragment intimately situates the reader within the loneliness, isolation, injustice, violence, and even death faced by those who leave their families in search of a better life. The writer demands that you look, and not look away. Each word perfectly chosen and irresistibly placed, Glossary for an Aswang is the kind of story that you read and immediately say, ‘This is the one.’”

Louie Leyson said, “I’m happy, stunned and grateful to win this award. It felt like such an honour for my work to even appear in the long and shortlist out of over a thousand others. I’m grateful to CBC for the prize, the acknowledgment and the platform to share my work more broadly. It’s all very dreamlike. A disbelieving joy. I want to hug my younger self and tell them there’s disbelieving joy on the horizon.

“I’m especially grateful that my work was selected by an incredible jury of established authors in Canada—Eternity Martis, David A. Robertson and Merilyn Simonds—each with an abundant, distinguished body of work to their name. That might be the most exciting part of the win, for me. There isn’t a greater thrill than to have my work acknowledged by those whose work I already admire.”

The four runners-up for the 2023 CBC Nonfiction Prize, who will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, are: Finnian Burnett of Princeton, B.C. for That Poor Girl; Christine Lowther of Tofino, B.C. for Environmental Services; Barbara Joan Scott of Calgary for Black Diamond; and Kelly S. Thompson, originally from Barrie, Ont. and currently based in Colorado Springs, Colorado, for The Edge of Change.

CBC Books also announced Maxime Jolivel as the winner of the French grand prize for Histoire de pêche. More information is available at ICI.Radio-canada.ca/icionlit.

For more information on the CBC Literary Prizes, please visit CBCBooks.ca.

About CBC Books

Home to Canada Reads, Writers & Company, The Next Chapter, Canada Writes and the CBC Literary Prizes, CBC Books connects Canadians with books, encouraging a shared love of reading and writing. For book news, writing challenges, reading lists, book recommendations and more, visit CBCBooks.ca.

About CBC/Radio-Canada

CBC/Radio-Canada is Canada’s national public broadcaster. Through our mandate to inform, enlighten and entertain, we play a central role in strengthening Canadian culture. As Canada’s trusted news source, we offer a uniquely Canadian perspective on news, current affairs and world affairs. Our distinctively homegrown entertainment programming draws audiences from across the country. Deeply rooted in communities, CBC/Radio-Canada offers diverse content in English, French and eight Indigenous languages. We also deliver content in Spanish, Arabic, Chinese, Punjabi and Tagalog, as well as both official languages, through Radio Canada International (RCI). We are leading the transformation to meet the needs of Canadians in a digital world.

About Canada Council for the Arts

The Canada Council for the Arts is Canada’s public arts funder, with a mandate to “foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts.”

The Council’s grants, services, initiatives, prizes, and payments contribute to the vibrancy of a creative and diverse arts and literary scene and support its presence across Canada and abroad. The Council’s investments foster greater engagement in the arts among Canadians and international audiences.

The Council’s Public Lending Right (PLR) program makes annual payments to creators whose works are held in Canadian public libraries.

For further information, contact:

Frances Bedford, CBC PR, frances.bedford@cbc.ca, 416-205-7673

Diane Hargrave, DHPR Communications Inc., dhprbks@interlog.com, 416-467-9954


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