A student from the University of Toronto took home the University of Lethbridge’s Bridge Prize and, with it, the largest cash prize for student writing in Canada.
Chido Muchemwa, a Zimbabwean writer currently living in Canada and PhD candidate in the Faculty of Information at the U of T, says she entered the short story contest on a whim. Her story, If It Wasn’t for the Nights, beat out 186 other entries from post-secondary students across the country, earning her the $7,500 cash award.
“When I submitted to the Bridge Prize, I never thought I would win. I did it impulsively because I felt I needed to do something to convince myself that I was indeed still a writer,” says Muchemwa. “My father died in 2020, and I felt like words abandoned me.”
The Bridge Prize contest was created in 2019 and runs every second year. A group of 30 local jurors read through the 187 submissions received, then narrowed the list down to the top 70. Every local juror then read each of the 70 stories before 10 were sent on to the main jury, made up of authors, artists and educators.