Open Season Awards: Winners for 2020

Announcing the winners of this year's Open Season Awards contest!

Patrick Grace (poetry), "A Violence"
Ajith Thangavelautham (fiction), "Moonbird"
Joshua Whitehead (creative nonfiction), "Who Names the Rez Dog Rez?"

Congratulations to all three writers, who have each won $2,000 in prize money. Keep reading for comments from the judges, and to learn more about the contest winners!


Poetry contest judge A. Light Zachary had this to say about Patrick Grace's winning poem:

"'A Violence' reads as if through leaden glass at night. Captivates in how it's paced and set to rhythms (compound). A master class in line breaks—each one a sharp little tooth—and epistrophe. Dances (no clumsiness here). All of this in service of a very real, intimate portrait sitting with its subject matter. It's always a man. My pleasure to read and select such a surprising poem."

Patrick Grace

Patrick Grace is a queer writer from Vancouver. His work has been longlisted for Contemporary Verse 2’s Young Buck Poetry Prize and twice for PRISM international’s Pacific Spirit Poetry Prize. He is the managing editor for Plenitude.

Look for an interview with Patrick Grace in our upcoming April Malahat lite.


Fiction contest judge Francesca Ekwuyasi had this to say about Ajith Thangavelautham's winning story:

"'Moonbird' holds it's own both in concept and execution. It covers a lot of ground and tells a bit of story in so few pages."

Ajith Thangavelautham

Ajith Thangavelautham is a writer of Indian and Sri Lankan descent, born and raised in Canada, where he studies Mechanical Engineering at the University of Toronto. His home is Scarborough, Ontario, and his favourite foods are strawberry milkshakes, and his Grandma’s goat curry. Feeding off the diversity of the city, he writes to get a better understanding of the world and his place in it. When he’s not writing or studying, he enjoys playing basketball and making music. 

Look for an interview with Ajith Thangavelautham in our upcoming April Malahat lite.

Creative Nonfiction

CNF judge Tess Liem had this to say about Joshua Whitehead's winning essay:

"'Who Names the Rez Dog Rez?' begins, 'I am reading...' and we are immediately attuned to the relationship between writer and reader, those who name and those who are named. Joshua Whitehead has created a languaged landscape that exhilarates, questions, and critiques. These sentences unroll themselves while noticing 'even this assemblage of sound drips with violence and I am wet with ink.' In a contemplation of home, body, self, and story, the 'circularity of a second person address chokes,' calls you in close, and enthralls."

Joshua Whitehead

Joshua Whitehead is an Oji-nêhiyaw, Two-Spirit member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks 2017) and Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp 2018). Currently, he is working on a forthcoming manuscript with Knopf Canada entitled Making Love With the Land which details Indigeneity, mental health, and queerness.

Look for an interview with Joshua Whitehead in our upcoming April Malahat lite.





All three winning pieces will be published in issue #210, spring 2020, circulating end-of-April.

We would also like to congratulate the Open Season Awards finalists for 2020:


Adam Haiun, Matthew Hollett, David Ly, Damen O'Brien, Melanie Power, Geoffrey Morrison, Scott Lemoine, Susan Stenson, Linda Thompson


Sydney Brooman, Antoinette Davis, John Tait, Geoffrey Morrison, Carmella Gray-Cosgrove, Xaiver Campbell, Liz Tucker


Jeremy Andruschak, Alison Pick, Brady Patterson, Rami Schandall, Erin Soros, Roshni Riar, Rachel Lallouz


Thank you to all who entered for your support.

Many thanks also to contest judges A. Light Zachary, Francesca Ekwuyasi, and Tess Liem, as well as our volunteers.