Squamish-based writer and journalist Cathryn Atkinson has been named as a finalist in the short story category of the 2009 CBC Literary Awards for her story “The Nonsense of Waiting.”

“I am thrilled to make it this far in the competition,” Atkinson said.

The CBC Literary Awards are Canada’s only literary competition celebrating original, unpublished works in both official languages. There are three categories in English and three in French: short story, poetry and creative non-fiction.

At the centre of “The Nonsense of Waiting” is a 92-year-old woman, Millie, on an end-of-summer visit to her childhood home in a small B.C. town. There, she has a chance encounter with Death between birthday cake and family spats.

This is the first time Atkinson has entered the CBC competition, which started in 1979.

A record 2,100 short stories in English were set in for the deadline last November, more than a third of the 6,000 entries submitted for all six categories. Previous winners of the short story category include Michael Ondaatje, Robert Munsch and Carol Shields.

Atkinson was born in England and raised in Winnipeg. She lived and worked in the U.K. from 1988 to 2003. A journalist, editor and photographer in both Canada and London, her work has appeared in The Globe and Mail, The Guardian, The Observer, The Financial Times, The New Statesman, Elle, Time, AFP, The Vancouver Sun and many other media outlets. She was a staff editor on the Comment desk at The Guardian newspaper in London from 1999 to 2003.

Atkinson holds a Bachelor of Arts degree from The University of Winnipeg, and a Master of Theatre Arts in playwriting from Goldsmiths College, part of the University of London. She has won five journalism awards, including a national U.K. Press Award in 1996.

Her play “Bumpershines” won the du Maurier Playwriting Challenge at the Winnipeg Fringe Festival in 2000. She recently completed a film script based on the story.

She is currently writing her first novel, The Elaho Quartet. It is a satire that revolves around friendship, love, greed, entitlement, the world financial crisis and the 2010 Winter Olympics, and is set in the Whistler ski resort, London and New York City.

Atkinson is the news and features editor of rabble.ca. She also occasionally freelances and is the executive editor of Brackendale Writers & Editors, a professional writing service that specializes in co-writing and editing fiction and non-fiction books and scripts.

For more about the CBC Literary awards visit their website.