Clay Everest is this year's winner of the Newfoundland and Labrador Writers' Alliance Fresh Fish Award. Everest entered a collection of poems, entitled No Subject for the Inexperienced.
"I was caught off guard, and honestly I felt so lucky and privileged to be on the short list with such talented writers," Everest told CBC Radio's On The Go.
"To experience and be a part of a wonderful night of readings, it was just beyond words. And then to hear my name it was a pleasant surprise."
Started in 2006, the Fresh Fish Award is a literary award for unpublished writers. Sponsored by the Newfoundland and Labrador Credit Union, the award is intended to serve as an incentive for emerging writers in Newfoundland and Labrador.
Everest's win means he collects $5,200, plus $1,000 toward professional editing services for a book-length manuscript. What's more, Everest and his work get a bump in recognition.
To date the award has been followed by the publishing of 13 manuscripts by its winners.
Advertising a disaster
Everest studied English literature at Dalhousie University in Halifax. He then made the move to Memorial University where he began working on his collection of poems as part of his thesis.
No Subject for the Inexperienced takes a deep dive into the exploration of the commercialization of disasters. Everest's includes the sinking of the Titanic and the Halifax explosion in 1917.
"The sinking of the Titanic is something that has always interested me since I was a young child. My parents bought me a young readers book on the disaster. Ever since, I was obsessed I would say," said Everest.
But one thing he noticed was an uptick in advertising surrounding the luxury liner's centennial anniversary of its sinking while living in Halifax in 2014.
"Suddenly this disaster became our disaster, and you saw a lot more advertising around the cemeteries where victims had been buried ... and artifacts that were being promoted more," he said.
"It felt more like a tourist trap, somewhere you go where you get a nice t-shirt or a picture taken than a discussion around how Maritime disaster has affected a community, or the different ways that the Titanic disaster changed, for example, Maritime law."
Everest's winning collection is yet to be published, but the budding writer hopes to have a date set in stone soon.