Congratulations to the five writers who’ve made the CNFC-HLR nonfiction contest shortlist! Our judge, Donna Morrissey, had some tough choices to make. According to her, the finalist selection process was difficult because the calibre of writing in each of the longlisted pieces was quite high.

2023 CNFC-HLR nonfiction contest shortlist:  

  • Anita Allen – “Funhouse”

  • Raymond Gariepy – “The Unborn and Born Dead are Yet Among Us”

  • Rayyan Kamal – “Departure Lounge”

  • Dhana Musil – “By Association”

  • Laura Ollerenshaw – “Of Least Concern”


Although neurotypical, Anita Allen is part of a vibrant neurodiverse family. Her writing explores the intersection of neurodiversity and mental health, intergenerational trauma and breaking cycles. She is a Physiotherapist, Coach, Certified AWA Facilitator and the co-founder of Ignite Your Write, a writing program for established and emerging writers.

Raymond Gariepy is a poet, a writer of nonfiction and fiction, and the editor of WestWord magazine, published by The Writers’ Guild of Alberta. His essay, “The Born and Unborn Are Yet Among Us,” is in a collection of essays in the final throes of completion.


Rayyan Kamal (he/him) is a queer writer who grew up in Bangladesh and currently lives in Tkaronto, aka Toronto. He is an HR professional specializing in DEI (Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion).


Dhana Musil (she, her) lives on the unceded and occupied territories of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh people in British Columbia, Canada. Dhana is a mother of two daughters and a graduate of The Writers Studio at SFU. Her stories and essays have been published in various anthologies and literary journals such as The Puritan, The Tahoma Literary Review, and Grain Magazine.

Laura Ollerenshaw has a BA in English from the University of Alberta and an MA in Creative and Critical Writing from the University of Gloucestershire. Her work has appeared in Brevity Nonfiction Blog, Explore, and WestWord. She lives in Edmonton, Alberta, and is writing a memoir about building a mountain cabin in Nordegg.