18th Annual NOWW Writing Contest Judges
Molly Peacock is a widely anthologized poet who is Series Editor of The Best Canadian Poetry in English. She is the author of seven volumes of poetry, including The Analyst (forthcoming) as well as The Second Blush and Cornucopia: New & Selected Poems, published by W.W. Norton and Company (USA and UK) / McClelland and Stewart/Penguin Random House (Canada). Her poems are included in The Oxford Book of American Poetry as well as leading literary journals such as Poetry (USA), Malahat Review (Canada) and The Times Literary Supplement (UK). She collaborated with illustrator Kara Kosaka on a book of tiny prose poem tales called Alphabetique: 26 Characteristic Fictions (McClelland and Stewart/Penguin Random House Canada). Her latest book of nonfiction is The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life’s Work at 72 (McClelland & Stewart Canada and Bloomsbury USA & UK).
Rilla Friesen is the managing editor of the Canadian Journal of History and former editor of Grain. She was an adjudicator in the National Magazine Awards (2014) in the Personal Journalism category. Rilla is looking forward to reading your creative nonfiction!
Bill MacDonald Prize for Prose (Creative Non-Fiction)
Charles Wilkins lived from 1991 to 2013 in Thunder Bay, often wrote about the city and about northwestern Ontario, and still thinks of the area as home. He is the author of fifteen books, including The Circus at the Edge of the Earth (about his travels with the Great Wallenda Circus), Walk to New York (about his 2002 walk from Thunder Bay to New York City), and In the Land of Long Fingernails (a memoir about a summer he spent working in a large Toronto cemetery). He is also the author of a collection of children’s verse, Old Mrs. Schmatterbung & Other Friends and is the co-author of two national bestsellers, Paddle to the Amazon and After the Applause.
In 2011, Wilkins undertook the most exhilarating of his numerous adventures as a writer. At the age of 62, he joined a crew of 16 and, after a year of intense training, rowed across the Atlantic Ocean in a fragile experimental rowboat. He was motivated (in his own words) “by a lifelong fascination with exotic travel, by a deep curiosity about the planet, and by a question: What would happen if rather than merely enduring risk and uncertainty as we add years, we decided instead to embrace risk, to juice up on it… reclaim our bodies… re-establish ground.” The result of that Atlantic crossing is Wilkins’ most recent book, Little Ship of Fools, published by Greystone Books and included on the long list of finalists for the Charles Taylor RBC award for literary non-fiction.
Four of Wilkins’ books have been named to the Globe & Mail’s annual Top 100 Books (1999, 2001, 2004, 2008), and he has won five National Magazine Awards. He has been a finalist for the Writers Trust Non-Fiction Prize, the Trillium Literary Award, the Stephen Leacock Award and the Toronto Book Award. These days, he spends much of his time at his cabin in Muskoka, Ontario, or travelling in support of a variety of writing projects. He has three children: Matt, Georgia and Eden.