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With the Emerging Writer Prize, Rakuten Kobo endeavours to raise the profiles of debut authors by recognizing exceptional books written by first-time Canadian authors in three categories: Literary Fiction, Non-Fiction, and one of three types of genre fiction: Romance, Speculative Fiction, or Mystery.

On 23 June 2022 Rakuten Kobo announced the winners of its eighth annual Emerging Writer Prize, adding three new Canadian authors to its growing list of celebrated writers. Debut authors in Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Romance each were awarded a $10,000 CAD cash prize. Get to know each of them below.

Watch as Rakuten Kobo CEO Michael Tamblyn surprises the winners

The 2022 Non-Fiction Winner

Deftly weaving together memoir and essays on topics that range from police power to cultural appropriation, he builds a devastating but convincing critique of Canada’s shameful relationship with indigenous people. There is anger in this book, but justified anger, as well as humour and hope.

Wente titles his book “Unreconciled” because, as he writes, reconciliation is only possible when there has been a relationship. In his telling, Canada and its indigenous people have never had a true relationship, and Unreconciled is a challenge to create that connection for the first time. Non-indigenous readers of this book may disagree with individual points, but most will never look at Canada in the same way again.

— Katherine Ashenburg Journalist, novelist, and this year's Non-Fiction judge

The 2022 Non-Fiction Shortlist

The 2022 Literary Fiction Winner

“An exquisite novel about a woman in an 'astronaut family'—one in which the mother and children immigrated to Vancouver, while the father stayed behind to work in Hong Kong. In this story, the narrator has to grieve the death of her father, after only spending time with him sporadically throughout her life. The preciseness of the imagery and emotions in the novel is astounding and each paragraph has the beauty and visceral evocation of a poem. We learn about the quiet customs of a Hong Kong death ceremony, the ways in which parents sacrifice their lives for their children, and the quiet devastation love has when we hold it in our hands and look at it closely. A beautiful revelation by a writer whose razor sharp skills will take her to great places.”

— Heather O'Neill Novelist and this year's Literary Fiction judge

The 2022 Literary Fiction Shortlist

The 2022 Romance Winner

“Little Cove is the quintessential small town no reader will want to leave. Newfoundland’s rich history is present in the delightful Irish-Catholic dialect, dry wit, and poker-faced slow burn of a romance that thoroughly satisfies. If you’ve ever longed for the Derry Girls to grow up and fall in love, gentle Jaysus in the garden, you’ll love this book.”

— Nana Malone Novelist and this year's Romance judge

The 2022 Romance Shortlist

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