Excerpts

Personal Essay. “Like sails catching wind, my parents veered toward bodies of water as if at some point they might discover in Canada somewhere as warm and inviting as the Caribbean Sea. We once drove east until we reached a town called Cobourg, Ontario. The beach was made of sharp, black rocks, slick with condensation. ‘Coats and gloves at the beach,’ my mother said, disbelieving. My sister and I peeled off our shoes and socks to dip our toes in the frigid water. ‘Are you coming in?’ we asked. My mother and father shook their heads and watched us from the shore. They never swam in cold water; they knew better.” Read the full essay, recently submitted for a National Magazine Award by Prarie Fire literary.

Journalism. “When Erin Spencer hunts lionfish in the Florida Keys, her weapon of choice is a fiberglass spear with a three-pronged steel tip. She has a dive knife tethered to her thigh, and a GoPro strapped to her forehead. Her wetsuit offers protection from the deepwater cold and the stinging barbs of her prey. Breathing steadily through her respirator, she takes aim. Later, on deck, Spencer poses with her catch, holding one lionfish in each hand by its jaws. She beams, her face absent of apology. Lionfish are venomous, carnivorous, and invasive. She wants to correct the imbalance of the ocean, one fish at a time.” Read the profile.

Academic. “This essay centers on the 2015 “Millennium Development Goals,” (MDGs) a historic United Nations (UN) initiative aimed at bridging the world’s inequalities. Since its conclusion, the success of the project has been hotly debated, as progress at the international level was markedly uneven. In order to ensure the success of future initiatives, it is necessary to determine why these goals failed so decisively in some contexts but succeeded in others. Given the innumerable nations involved in the project, the scope of the essay was narrowed to focus on a single country and MDG goal. This paper centers on the improbable attainment of the fourth development goal (pertaining to neonatal and newborn health) in Bangladesh, one of the world’s poorest countries. Using official UN documents, seminal literature, and consultation with crucial UN actor Uzma Syed herself, this essay demonstrates that Bangladesh’s success was a result of efficient programming, data acquisition, and transnational, individual, and domestic cooperation.” Read the full essay, winner of the 2019 Global Undergraduate Awards essay competition.

Travel. “Girls with red lipstick and hair cropped at the shoulder with the neck of a bottle of Rosé in a chokehold. Tall, thin boys with flippy haircuts and low-cut collared shirts, moving determinedly through the city center looking for something to do, or otherwise standing around and chain-smoking cigarettes they have rolled themselves. Older people sitting in cafés, smoking, squinting out at passersby. Narrow, pedestrian-only streets, with determined Clios inching carefully past. The city center of Aix-en-Provence, France, buzzing with activity at midday on a Monday.” Read more.

“I’ve made friends here that I care about deeply. Selfishly, I would like to take them with me everywhere, in fact; I would like to put them in my pocket. I’d like to mark the page in my book with them. I want them at my wedding and on my doorstep and in my backyard. I want to write an alternate reality, placing them in houses near mine, in Toronto. I want to have grown up with them. I want to introduce them to my friends back home and I want dinners with them, I want parties, I want more moments, I want more time.” Read more.

Fiction. “‘Tell me what’s wrong,’ I plead. You turn to me. In the dim, it is almost impossible to see the minute differences to which we have become accustomed: a freckle here, a wrinkle there. In the near-darkness, we are truly identical — a halo of curly hair wrapped around each head, tendrils wet, and plastered to our foreheads: mine from sweat, yours from tears. ‘I don’t know,’ you say, and I believe you. Sighing, I rest my forehead between your shoulder blades and close my eyes. At some point, your breathing calms. I know that in the morning, our father will free us from the knot of blankets that bind us together, and you will be okay.” Read more.