Being one of five finalists in the 2016 CBC short story contest has opened new doors for Justine Mazin
After majoring in English at the University of Western Ontario, Justine Mazin took more writing courses at the University of Toronto and George Brown College hoping to boost her writing career. It was not until she became one of the five finalists in the 2016 CBC short story contest in April that her writing career took off.
“I always knew that the CBC contest was the most prestigious contest,” she said.
Mazin took a continuing studies course in English for three months at George Brown which she completed three years ago. Even several months after graduation, her professor helped her immensely with the first stages of her yet-to-be-published novel.
Mazin said that George Brown was different from other schools in the sense that it taught her to explore different genres. “It forced us to look into different styles of writing, something out of your comfort zone.”
She explained that she had always been imaginative and she took up English initially in university because, for her, it was the easiest subject to learn where she could just read a book and be ready for exams.
Mazin translated her intrigue for secrets and human relationships into Packing Snow, the story which she ended up submitting for the 2016 CBC short story contest. “The truth is interesting. The truth is often dirty,” she said.
Since then, her career has catapulted and she is now busy editing her novel, The Nature of Them, co-writing a dramedy based in Toronto and adapting a book into a screenplay for a production house in Los Angeles.
“(This achievement) gave me credibility, it gave me the ability to call myself a writer. It feels nice to say that I’m a writer and if you don’t believe me, Google me!” she said, adding, “Doors started opening. I got emails from strangers who told me they loved my story. The feeling is indescribable.”