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Edmonton writer in running for 2024 CBC Short Story Prize

Dennis Allen has made the 2024 CBC Short Story Prize longlist for The White Stetson Hat.

The winner of the 2024 CBC Short Story Prize will receive $6,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, have their work published on CBC Books and attend a two-week writing residency at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. The four remaining finalists will each receive $1,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts and have their work published on CBC Books.

The shortlist will be announced on April 18 and the winner will be announced on April 25.

If you’re interested in the CBC Literary Prizes, the 2024 CBC Poetry Prize is open for submissions until June 1. The 2025 CBC Short Story Prize will open in September and the 2025 CBC Nonfiction Prize will open in January.

About Dennis Allen

Dennis Allen is a writer, filmmaker and recorded songwriter. Allen was a finalist in the 2019 Writer’s Union of Canada Short Prose Competition, winner of the 2023 Edmonton Story Slam and winner of the 2017 Sally Manning Award for Creative Non-Fiction. He is currently shopping for a publisher for his collection of short stories. As a filmmaker, Allen won the 2009 ImaginNative Film and Video Festival’s Alanis Obomsawin Best Documentary, Best Canadian Documentary 2014 at Available Light Film Festival and Honorable Mention 2007 at Columbus International Film and Video Festival for My Father, My Teacher. Allen was previously longlisted for the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize for an earlier version of The White Stetson Hat.

Entry in five-ish words

“Merle Haggard comes to town.”

The story’s source of inspiration

“Country and western music has been described as the ‘Brown Man’s Blues.’ The music echoed our hard-scrabble existence; poverty, displacement, racism and alcoholism. It was a cathartic experience to hear Loretta Lynn sing about poverty, or George Jones sing about hard drinking, or Merle Haggard sing about prison. I am especially inspired by the generations which came before me who lived these country and western songs and who so proudly wear their scars.”

First lines

Luke Jackson gotta be the greatest Merle Haggard fan ever to come out of Rabbit-skin River Indian Reserve. Each year at the spring jamboree, Luke jump in the talent show and sing his favourite Merle Haggard song, Sing me back home. He keep every 8-track tape Merle ever made in a cardboard box next to him in his 1975 Ford crew cab. 

A typewriter with a blank page.
The 2024 CBC Short Story Prize shortlist will be announced on April 18 and the winner will be announced on April 25. (Ben Shannon/CBC)

Check out the rest of the longlist

The longlist was selected from more than 1,900 submissions. A team of 12 writers and editors from across Canada compiled the list.

The jury selects the shortlist and the eventual winner from the readers’ longlisted selections. This year’s jury is comprised of Suzette Mayr, Kevin Chong and Ashley Audrain

The complete longlist is:

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