In the 1990s, I was a freelance writer and broadcaster for CBC radio. I wrote and broadcast a radio series for CBC’s nationally broadcast afternoon show, “Richardson’s Roundup”. The series featured letters about my flock of sheep, and lasted a little over a year. I put those letters aside for over ten years, then looked at them and thought, together with other stories of my shepherding experience that hadn’t made the radio, they might make a book.
I wrote the book, and Scrivener Press in Sudbury published it as “Shepherd in Residence” in 2012. In August, I learned that my little shepherding memoir had been shortlisted, with four other works, for the Louise de Kiriline Lawrence award for non-fiction. It’s awarded yearly by the Ontario Library Services North.
I was thrilled just to be shortlisted, especially as the shortlist included “In Other Worlds”, Margaret Atwood’s book of lectures on speculative fiction. In September, my publisher told me I had won, and I received the award on September 25th.
I’ve been shortlisted a time or two before, but never won an award with a book. I take the plaque with me to my day job, to remind me what my real work is. It also reminds me that work can take on a new life and reappear in new forms. When I first began writing to Bill Richardson about my sheep, I didn’t imagine getting a radio series. While I was doing the radio series, I did not imagine a book. And when I wrote the book, I never imagined it as an award-winning piece of memoir. Pretty good for a rural woman just writing about her sheep!
Elizabeth Creith writes fiction, non-fiction and poetry. Her work has won several awards, and has been shortlisted for others. Her fiction has appeared in Thema, The Linnet’s Wings and Brain Harvest, among others, and her poetry in Thema, Ladybug and Goblin Fruit. She writes occasionally for Old Farmer’s Almanac, and blogs about writing and life. Elizabeth lives and writes in Wharncliffe, Northern Ontario, distracted occasionally by her husband, cat and dog.