She may be unpublished, but Oak Bay poet Susan Braley is an award-winning writer.
Braley was honoured during the inaugural Cedric Literary Awards, limited to unpublished, full-time B.C. residents aged 50 years and beyond.
“It was very satisfying, very affirming to have my work recognized because many writers work quietly for a long time without necessarily getting recognition, which is alright because we do write for the love of it,” Braley said.
“You do need to write for the joy of writing, it makes sense that you want to be on the journey, but it’s nice to have these affirmations along the way.”
She also enjoyed the mingle with judges, nominees and other writers during the reception at the Oswego Hotel on Nov. 21.
Her nominated work, Imminence of Fracture, was inspired by words of British sculptor Barbara Hepworth: “My left hand is my thinking hand. The right is only a motor hand. This holds the hammer. The left hand, the thinking hand, must be relaxed, sensitive. The rhythms of thought pass through the fingers and grip of this hand into the stone.
“It is also a listening hand. It listens for basic weaknesses of flaws in the stone; for the possibility or imminence of fractures.”
Braley’s words and structure in Imminence of Fracture reflect much of her recent work, acknowledgement of the fragility of the human condition balanced with the joy and appreciation for what we have – love, beauty and compassion.
“I owe much to Victoria’s Planet Earth Poetry. … It’s a very lively community and I feel I owe much to these poets. They took time to encourage me and champion my work,” she said. “I’m also grateful to mentors like Patrick Lane, Susan Musgrave and Jane Munro. They’ve all been teachers of mine and great benefit to me.”
The Cedric Awards offer a $3,000 prize in each category after adjudication by a panel of people who are well known and respected in the fields of writing and publishing.
“One of the great effects of this award is we will be better known now,” Braley said. “I want to encourage other writers who are as of yet unpublished to keep writing and to take advantage of the Cedric Awards next year. I think it’s a marvellous opportunity.”