A writer who spent his teenage years in Campbell River has won the 2023 CBC Short Story Prize.
Will Richter, now of Vancouver, will be receiving $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts for his winning entry, a short story called “Just a Howl.” The story was selected from more than 2,300 entries. The story has been published on the CBC Books website, and Richter will have the opportunity to attend a two-week writing residency at Artscape Gibraltar Point in Toronto.
Richter is a writer living in Vancouver. He spent his teenage years in Campbell River on Vancouver Island. He attended Timberline Secondary School in Campbell River and received his BA in English Literature from Simon Fraser University.
Stories of his have appeared or are forthcoming in various literary magazines in Canada and the US, including Arts & Letters, The Fiddlehead, Fiction International, subTerrain, The Threepenny Review and Witness. His stories “At a Distance” and “Proverbs of the Lesser” were long-listed for the CBC Short Story Prize in 2019 and 2021. Will has also written and collaborated on several comic shorts for Rogue Wave Comics, based in Düsseldorf, Germany. He’s currently working on a collection of short stories and a novel.
Jurors for the contest Kim Fu, Norma Dunning and Steven Price said that Richter’s story was a “propulsive interrogation-room story on its surface.
“‘Just a Howl’ slyly raises sharp and timely questions about the state of literature and literary culture. Here, books are simultaneously inert relics of a staid and insular subculture, bastions of beauty and contemplation in a polarized era that may need neither, and — quite literally — violent weapons,” the jurors said. “The writer questions if ‘She’d been defending metaphor, empathy, introspection, a clever turn of phrase’ as does the reader. The jury found this clever story unexpected, accomplished and darkly funny, and were united in wanting to see what this writer does next.”
Richter said he was “completely floored,” about the news.
“I’ve been following and submitting to the CBC Short Story Prize contest for years, and to win it is hugely exciting and encouraging. I really want to thank all of the judges who saw something in my story among so many others,” he said.
Runners-up will receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts. They are Clara Chalmers of West Vancouver for the story “Dear M,” Helen Han Wei Luo from Vancouver for the story ‘Eel Broth for Growing Children, Nicholas Ruddock from Guelph, Ont. for “Marriage,” and Katie Welch from Kamloops for “Bird Emergent.”
CBC Books also announced Annabelle Lehouillier as the winner of the French grand prize for “Les notes de novembre.”