Congratulations to the 2013 Open Season Awards Winners

Congratulations to Lisa Martin-DeMoor (Edmonton), Carmelinda Scian (Toronto), and Susan Buis (Kamloops) on winning The Malahat Review’s 4th annual Open Season Awards in the Poetry, Fiction, and Creative Nonfiction categories respectively.


Of Lisa Martin DeMoor's winning poem, "Believing is not the same as Being Saved," Judge Rachel Rose said: "'Believing is not the same as Being Saved' both troubled and comforted me. I trusted the wisdom of this voice, the voice that acknowledges adolescence as 'an age / at which much of what we did passed as pleasure / but was actually terror.' How exactly true. The poem contains its own wisdom, the wisdom of embracing life even through darkness, the heart’s craving 'not light, but / spark.' This is a poem of loss, of falling, of a young man’s heroic failure to save a life, and a young woman’s witnessing this failure, this death that could have been her own, and choosing to live even though she has been flirting with the abyss. The language itself is supple, aching, and strong, rooted in place and time, but as slippery and treacherous as moss on high cliffs. The poem contains its own surprises, such as that line in the third stanza where the narrator reaches out of the poem and asks the reader directly, 'I flicked off a switch that summer, didn’t you?' An entire coming-of-age memoir is compressed into a poem of a few haunting stanzas, a poem that sings, continues to sing, despite everything."

Lisa Martin-DeMoor

Lisa Martin-DeMoor, winner of the 2013 Open Season Award for Poetry

Lisa Martin-DeMoor's first collection of poems, One crow sorrow, won the 2009 Alberta Literary Award for Poetry. In 2012, she won a silver medal in Personal Journalism at the National Magazine Awards. She is currently co-editing an anthology of essays on loss entitled How to Expect What You're Not Expecting, due in Fall 2013. She blogs (sometimes) about writing and motherhood at

Rachel Rose has won awards for her poetry, her fiction, and her nonfiction. She has published poems, short stories, and essays in Canada, the U.S., New Zealand, and Japan, including Poetry, The Malahat Review, and The Best American Poetry. The author of two books of poetry, Giving My Body to Science and Notes on Arrival and Departure, her newest collection, Song and Spectacle, was published in fall 2012 from Harbour. In 2011 she was commissioned to write a libretto, working with composer Leslie Uyeda, which will be performed as an opera in summer 2013. She is also collaborating with singer-guitar player Simon Paradis and her brother, bass player Jefferson Rose, on various musical and poetic projects.

Read an interview with Lisa Martin-DeMoor.

Short Fiction

Of Carmelinda Scian's short story "The Butterfly First," judge Helen Humphreys remarked "'The Butterfly First' is a poignant and memorable account of a young girl's encounter with the tragedy and hypocrisy of the adult world. The story is told through a series of beautifully rendered scenes and the writing throughout is powerful, original, and evocative."

Carmelinda Scian

Carmelinda Scian, winner of the 2013 Open Season Award for Fiction

Carmelinda Scian immigrated to Canada from Portugal with her parents in the 1960s. She  has an Honours BA and a Masters in English from the University of Toronto.  She started courses in the Creative Writing program through Continuing Studies at the University of Toronto three years ago and is presently working on her certificate. She loves reading, theatre, film, ballet, traveling, and cycling. She has two sons and lives in Toronto with her husband.   

Helen Humphreys is the award-winning author of four books of poetry, six novels, and one work of creative nonfiction. Her latest novel is The Reinvention of Love, and she has a memoir coming out in the spring of 2013. She lives in Kingston, Ontario.

Read an interview with Carmelinda Scian.

Creative Nonfiction

Judge Susan Olding had this to say about Susan Buis's memoir, "The Falling House": "I read all the finalists several times, let them sift in my mind for a couple of days to see what might stick, and then came back to them. And while I discovered new things to admire in every one, the piece I kept coming back to was 'The Falling House.'

Not much happens in this brief memoir—except the narrator, who claims to have given up painting twenty years ago, paints a thickly textured and moody canvas entirely with words. Its images—of a broken-necked hawk, of a wasp’s nest buzzing with dangerous life, of coffee grounds smeared across a wall, and of herself, as a lonely, confused young woman with the darkened tooth of a crone—are as indelible as paint. And though she sets up a comparison between the 'falling house' of youthful passion and the solid, perhaps even stolid and airtight log house of maturity, the piece resists easy conclusions. It left me unsettled, adrift in my own quite different but equally confusing youth, with more questions than answers about its big themes—time and memory and love. And it made me want to read more from this author, to see what she might paint next."

Susan Buis

Susan Buis, winner of the 2013 Open Season Award for Creative Nonfiction

Susan Buis lives on an acreage near Kamloops B.C., where she moved from Los Angeles after completing an MFA in Creative Writing at Cal State U Long Beach. Her poems have been published in U.S. anthologies and in the Bellevue Literary Review, Bellingham Review, Room, CV2, and Arc. She placed second in the Arc poem of the year competition 2009, the Okanagan Short Story Competition 2008, the Annie Dillard Award for Creative Nonfiction 2009, and the Prairie Fire Creative Nonfiction Award 2012 (nominated for a Personal Journalism National Magazine Award 2013).  She teaches English at Thompson Rivers University, and composes as she walks the hills and lakeside near her rural home.

Susan Olding is the author of Pathologies: A Life in Essays, winner of the Creative Nonfiction Collective’s Readers’ Choice Award for 2010. Her poetry and prose have appeared widely in literary journals, magazines, and anthologies across Canada and the United States, including EVENT, The L.A. Review of Books, The Malahat Review, and the Utne Reader. She has been a finalist for a National Magazine Award, two Western Magazine Awards, and a CBC Literary Award, and she is the recipient of a number of prizes and honours, including the Brenda Ueland Prose Prize for Literary Non-fiction and The New Quarterly’s Edna award. Born in Toronto, she currently lives with her family in Kingston.

Read an interview with Susan Buis.

All three winning pieces will be published in our Spring, 2013 issue (#182), due out in the end of April, 2013.

We would also like to congratulate the 2013 Open Season Awards finalists:


Joanna Lilley, Maureen Scott Harris, Wendy Donawa, Mia Anderson, Susan Braley, Grace Cockburn, Sandra Davies, Neal Giannone, Elizabeth Ross, and Glenn Hayes.


Robert James Hicks, Will Johnson, Karen Hofmann, Karen Kachra, Katherine Fawcett, Cody Klippenstein, and Seyward Goodhand.


Diana Morita Cole, Michael Dunwoody, Jessie Caron, and Norman Ravvin.