Author: Renee Jackson-Harper

Kootenay Literary Comp Poster

The Kootenay Writers’ Society presents the Winners of the Kootenay Literary Competition 2018

In the fall of 2017 the call went out inviting writers from the West and East Kootenay areas to submit work on the theme ORIGINS: WHO ARE WE? WHERE DID WE COME FROM? Categories were: ·      Adult Poetry ·      Adult Fiction ·      Personal Non-fiction ·      Newcomers Category (new to Canada) ·      Indigenous Writers Category ·      Youth – any genre (grade 9 – 12) We received 34 submissions from all over the Kootenay area; some from as far away as Invermere, Kimberley and Grand Forks. The judges were looking for originality, creativity, as well as just plain good writing. Winners were announced in February 2018. Winners received cash prizes and publication in this winners’ anthology as well as publication in an online anthology, Black Bear Review out of Selkirk College. Our judges were hard pressed, in some categories, to choose among the interesting and creative perspectives on the theme. The Newcomers Category was judged on merit of ideas and conceptualization rather than mastery of language because these entries are expected to be from people for whom …

The Art of Ironing

Adult Personal Non-Fiction – First Place     I do not iron. My mother, however, approached this chore in a unique and careful way, which was startling in such a chaotic, tumbledown house of five children of all ages. She, who was usually so free in all things, had three strict rules. One: she always worked in front of the T.V. in the living room. Two: she only devoted an hour a week to the task. Three: the family must be still and had to stay at least three feet away from the ironing board probably because of our usual rough housing every minute of every day. She broke these rules only once. * December 1959. Saturday afternoon. When I was seven years old the Christmas heavens opened without warning, gifting me an hour alone with my mother. Carols blasted from the transistor radio in the kitchen. Baking shortbread filled the house with the smell of hot sugar and butter. Rolled dough waited on the floured table to be cookie-cut into shapes. The combined oven …

More Than Just My Mother’s Daughter

Adult Personal Non-Fiction – Second Place     It’s New Year’s Eve and I begin my annual ritual.  I conceal my daddy’s shotgun between the mattress and box spring of my bed, and gather my tiny brother and young sister to curl up with me on the lumpy hiding place.  I tell them stories about Snoopy and talking chipmunks and flying elephants until they fall asleep.  I squeeze out of the middle of my huddled siblings, tuck the blanket up to their chins, sit on the bean bag chair in the corner, and wait.  Wait in the dark until he comes home.  Wait for the New Year to begin. I know tonight will be a replay of the last 2 drunken end-of -year celebrations.   I wait for the inevitable return of my denigrated mother and my self- loathing father, when the bars close and their friends can’t sustain the party.  They will come home and fight.  It’s always a one-sided fight, with my father hurling insults and accusations at my mother, and her frightened denials. …

The Gloaming

Adult Fiction – Second Place    Paul awoke at 2:49 am fresh from the dream; not a dream, the dream. The same dream that had struck every night since he and his wife, Karen, had opened their boutique hotel in the Slocan valley. In his dream, Paul had moved out of a house where he had lived for a long time. The purchaser takes up residence and Paul’s life takes a bad turn. Invariably, he would remember a dead body buried or hidden somewhere on his old property. Sometimes the body was dry and shrivelled as if plundered from an antiquities museum. Other nights it was tumefied as if freshly plucked from a swamp. On some nights, the body was found in the flower bed beneath the picture window flanking the front door.  Tonight, the new owner had decided to install a new bathroom in the basement and had discovered the desiccated corpse when he jack hammered the concrete floor for the rough-in. Most nights in his dream, by act or omission, Paul was somehow …

The Sudden Sorrowful Death of Black Bart (Part 1)

Adult Fiction Submissions – First Place   Well, I know which came first of course. Black Bart…wait, was it?  I think so. The time frame is helter-skelter concerning my initial acquaintance with the divine Ms. van Hellemonde though. Curse her. Was it at the cafe outside the Gare du Nord on a crisply invigorating spring day, the crowds rushing past under an ambivalent pellucid sky potentially promising to deliver rain but at the moment lazy, corpulent and unhurried? Where she batted her dark-lidded eyes in languid reply to my poorly timed and rather insipid “An American in Paris, then?” Channeling Fitzgerald or Hemingway or even Gertrude Stein. Or was it in the garish neon reflecting from the puddles outside the hidden door of the stumbled-on jazz club on Dunkirken Street, deep in the less-traveled sections of Glasgow’s red-light district sharing a sodden overhead newspaper and damp cigarettes as the drops conspired to put our heads together collectively gulping the fiendish nicotine? The latter I think. My European trip was hastily conceived and poorly executed, a …