Photo: Winners and judges of our 2017 Cecilia Lamont Literary Contest: Claire Lawrence, Don Cameron, Jeanine Manji, Patricia A. Donahue (Prose judge), Chelsea Comeau, Renée Sarojini Saklikar (Poetry judge), and Cynthia Sharp. Not present: Linda Hegland and Elizabeth Sinclair. Photo: Robert Ramsay.
About Cecilia Lamont Cecilia Lamont, a former teacher, was our club's first president when it started in May 1972. Twelve students taking a night school writing class were inspired to form the club for the summer. Meetings were initially held at members' homes, and she hosted the second meeting at the apartment where she and her husband lived at 1455 Fir Street in White Rock.
Tragedy soon struck when Cecilia died suddenly in 1973 after a short illness. Radio broadcaster Tom Leach then became president. In his final year of service, he proposed an annual writing contest. The next president, Lynda James, ran with that idea and the Cecilia Lamont Writing Contest was born in 1976. The following year, George Ternan, Cecilia's brother, donated a trophy, which was awarded to the first place winner, alternating between prose and poetry.
The contest became very popular, and continued for 33 years under that name. In 1992, there were 346 entries from all over British Columbia. But numbers of entries began to drop in the 2000s. After a two year pause, the contest continued as the White Rock and Surrey Writers' Club Literary Contest. The trophy was retired and given to the club’s former president, Michael Bennett.
In 2017, the club decided to recommit to honouring the memory of its first president. We hope that entries will once again be drawn from all over British Columbia and perhaps beyond. We believe that it is especially fitting to remember our history at the same time as White Rock and Canada celebrate historical milestones. The renewed contest was successful, with entries from all over metro Vancouver and one from the Gulf Islands.