Photo by Glen Delman
A Richmond author has earned high marks for her literary skills.
Anneliese Schultz was selected a winner in the 2017 Cedric Literary Awards for her fiction piece entitled Bread. She is one of four previously unpublished BC writers over the age of 50 to be recognized. Each writer received a prize valued at $3,000.
“I have been writing ever since I could put a sentence together,” says Schultz, who remembers beaming with pride when she received her “I Read With Expression” badge in first grade.
“I’m always writing, these days with a daily word count just to maintain the momentum in my current novel,” she continues. “The recognition, though, is so crucial to help me keep going. I wrote Bread eight or nine years ago and had sent it out 52 times prior to this win.”
Bread was inspired by a visit to the Romanian Bakery in Steveston. As soon as she entered she felt a kind of vortex and shapeshifting story unravel.
“I think there are layers of history and mystery just beyond our daily realities, and, like the two strangers converging in the story we do well to honour the openings that let us see farther and deeper,” she explains. “As my songwriter son, Kala, says, ‘Listen for the whispers...All is not lost in time.’ The other crucial message has to do with connection. We can never predict what it's going to look like.”
Schultz has also always loved to read, and is constantly observing. Eventually, she found she could create worlds through an inexplicable mix of experience and inspiration.
“It’s exciting to create characters and worlds, and since I always seem to have messages to get across too, hopefully the stories both resonate with and inspire the reader.”
Many of Schultz’s favourite authors are Indigenous—Richard Wagamese, Louise Erdrich, Sherman Alexie and William Least Heat-Moon. But if she had to pick just one, it would be Thomas King. She’s currently reading John Green.
Until two years ago, when she started writing full-time, Schultz taught Italian at UBC. Her courses were called “Green Italian”, incorporating sustainability. She says that particular passion also sparked the young adult series of climate-themed fiction novels she is currently working on—taking place, she adds, “in the near future in a climate-devastated BC.”
More than 80 manuscripts were received in this year’s writing competition in the categories of fiction, creative non-fiction, poetry, and Indigenous writing.
Awards executive director Veronica Osborn says: “What distinguishes our writing competition is that we do not demand an author have already had success before sending us their work. Rather, we seek to inspire the most experienced group of unpublished Canadians in our country’s history to share their creativity, perspectives and accumulated knowledge, to create a library of national treasures to inspire every generation.”
For the first time, this year’s writing competition was opened to writers in Alberta, Saskatchewan and the Yukon. It is anticipated that participation from these jurisdictions will grow in coming years.