Winnipeg, February 1, 2022 – The Shevchenko Foundation is pleased to announce that the winner of the 2022 Emerging Writers Short Prose Competition is Winnipeg-based writer Matthew Kruchak for his entry “Business Men’s Lunch.”
Matthew Kruchak has worked as a journalist for CBC Saskatchewan and The Regina Leader-Post, and his byline has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic’s CityLab, and The Globe and Mail. He has a passion for the history and culture of his great-grandparents’ homeland, Ukraine.
“Business Men’s Lunch” succinctly underscores the working man’s desire for equality and respect, bridging the gap between societal classes while safeguarding one’s dignity in a new country.
This year’s jury consisted of writer, literary critic and MacEwan University Associate Professor of Creative Writing Jacqueline Baker, award-winning novelist and screenwriter Susie Moloney, and producer, librettist/writer, and First Vice President of the Shevchenko Foundation Gordon Gordey.
““Business Men’s Lunch” transports the reader to a deceptively quotidian moment in the life of Petro — for whom the reader cannot help but feel both empathy and irritation (that is, a fully human character) — as he insists on being accorded the respect he feels he deserves. As in life, what he insists upon doesn’t turn out to be what he imagined. Demonstrating a sharp eye for human nature and skilled, confident prose, this is a writer to watch.” – Jacqueline Baker
“A clever and amusing tale about a regular working guy who wants to move up in the world, at least for lunch.” – Susie Moloney
“Kruchak’s central character “Petro”, a janitor, takes us on an arc of not being defined by external labels and persists that his hard-earned dollars earn him a lunch table and not a stool at the counter. Resonates with all of us who have ever just rewarded ourselves with a good “lunch”.” – Gordon Gordey.
Matthew Kruchak was thrilled that his short story was recognized by the Shevchenko Foundation. “I’m grateful for the opportunity to take part in one of the organization’s many initiatives aimed at fostering and celebrating Ukrainian-Canadian culture,” said Kruchak. “As I set out on my literary path, this acknowledgment will help with my development as a writer.”
The adjudicators also acknowledged three semi-finalists – “The Land” by George Dzioba (Toronto), “Rosie” by Barclay Martin (Edmonton), and “The Environmentalist” by Nestor Maslej (Toronto).
The $1,500 prize is awarded annually by the Shevchenko Foundation to a Canadian writer for the best piece of unpublished prose of up to 1,500 words in the English language offering a glimpse into the Ukrainian Canadian experience. Matthew Kruchak was also awarded $1,000 toward publication of his winning entry in a Canadian newspaper, magazine, or recognized digital distributor.
The Shevchenko Foundation is a national, chartered philanthropic institution dedicated to the preservation, promotion, and development of the Ukrainian Canadian cultural heritage.
Committed to encouraging and promoting new authors, the Emerging Writers Short Prose Competition sets the groundwork for new writers to explore the short prose form and to one day aspire to submit an entry to the Kobzar Book Award (www.kobzarbookaward.com).