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Dr. Jeanette Lynes (PhD) is head of the University of Saskatchewan’s MFA in Writing Program and a faculty member in the Department of English. (Photo: Matt Braden)

MFA in Writing Program head wins national non-fiction prize

Dr. Jeanette Lynes (PhD) is the winner of the 2019 Constance Rooke Creative Non-fiction Prize

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By Chris Putnam

Dr. Jeanette Lynes (PhD) is the winner of the 2019 Constance Rooke Creative Non-fiction Prize, a literary award presented by The Malahat Review.

Lynes, a faculty member in the College of Arts and Science’s Department of English and head of the University of Saskatchewan’s MFA in Writing Program, was awarded the $1,000 grand prize for her essay “Bat Reign.”

The Malahat Review is one of Canada’s leading literary journals. The Constance Rooke Prize competition is open to writers across Canada and around the world.

Lynes said receiving the Constance Rooke Prize “means a great deal” to her because of a personal connection to the editor for whom the award is named.

“Constance Rooke accepted one of the first pieces of my writing I ever had published when she was editor of The Malahat Review,” Lynes explained.

Lynes’ winning essay tells a true story about a period of time in which bats repeatedly found their way into her Saskatoon apartment.

“And unfortunately I am terrified of bats, so the essay maps a serious phobia at a particular juncture of my life,” Lynes said.

In a statement published on The Malahat Review’s news website, contest judge Yasuko Thanh described the essay as “inventive, creative, playful” and praised its exploration of relatable issues including “how to live while suffering a wild pain.”

Lynes has published two novels and seven poetry collections. Her most recent novel, The Small Things That End the World, won the Muslims for Peace and Justice Fiction Award at the 2019 Saskatchewan Book Awards. Her latest collection of poetry, Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems, was awarded the Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award in 2015.

As the winner of the Constance Rooke Creative Non-fiction Prize, Lynes’ essay “Bat Reign” will be published in the winter 2019 issue of The Malahat Review. An interview with Lynes will also appear in the January 2020 issue of the journal’s e-newsletter.


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