In January, Image journal, in partnership with Cardus, launched the second biennial Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize. The prize, which seeks to recognize Canadian poets whose work wrestles with the beauty and complexity of religious faith, is one of the largest literary prizes in Canada. In 2019, the winner and runner-up will be awarded $20,000 and $5,000 respectively, by a panel of three celebrated writers: Scott Cairns, Lorna Goodison, and Chelene Knight.
Poets engaged with all faith traditions are encouraged to submit their suites of poetry. However, this prize is not designed to erase distinctions or paper over conflict. There are meaningful differences between Muslims and Christians, Hindus and Orthodox Jews that cannot, and should not, be erased, suppressed, or ignored. Instead, the prize seeks to honour writing that explores the distinctive contours of belief and the shape it gives to modern life.
The 2019 Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize will be awarded to a poet who is hammering out new forms and new language to express the ineffable today. The prize seeks to encourage writers whose poems provide access to spiritual experience, awakenings that cast light on the world and make it known. We want to hear from poets who are grappling with transcendence and the divine, those for whom poetry is—as Christian Wiman describes it—a form of theology.
Launched first in 2016, the Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize was part of the sesquicentennial celebrations of Canada. Now in partnership with Image, the prize hopes to deepen its connection to the Canadian literary community. The prize is open to all writers currently living in Canada and Canadian citizens living abroad. All shortlisted nominees will have their work considered for publication in Image.
The entry period for the 2019 Ross and Davis Mitchell Prize opens January 15, 2019, and closes June 30, 2019. The winners will be announced at a gala in Toronto in late October.
We look forward to your submission.
Lisa Ann Cockrell, Director of Programs at Image
Stephen Lazarus, Mitchell Project Lead, Cardus