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Presenting the 2019 winners of the Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize

On 27 June 2019, Canada’s best debut books in Nonfiction, Literary Fiction, and Romance by Canadian authors were chosen by a panel of three judges.

The 2019 Literary Fiction Winner

I'm a sucker for coming-of-age books, and Nora Decter's hit my sweet spot big-time. In her teenage narrator, Jolene Tucker, Decter gets it all right: the angst of youth, that simmering rage and bewilderment, looking in the mirror wondering who you are and what your worth to humankind may (or may not) be—Decter nails that mindset, really, she does. The narrative voice, plus the way Decter renders Winnipeg with such organic but effective brushstrokes, are the primary reasons why (in what was by no means an easy choice) How Far We Go and How Fast is my choice. Congratulations to all the nominees; it was a pleasure and an honor to be able to read your work.

— Craig Davidson Novelist and this year's Literary Fiction judge

The 2019 Literary Fiction Shortlist

The 2019 Non-Fiction Winner

This is so much more than a travelogue; in sharing her adventure biking the Silk Road, Kate Harris gives us a meditation on both our yearning to explore and that darker impulse to divide ourselves into walled-off nations. Lands of Lost Borders is a rhapsodic, deeply researched, and elegantly written book. I cannot wait to see where this writer goes next.

— Michael Harris Author and this year’s Non-fiction judge, said of the book

The 2019 Non-Fiction Shortlist

The 2019 Romance Winner

This story has a unique premise that's driven by witty dialogue keeping the reader hooked into the flow of the story. The plot is simple but that helps seat the reader in the character's romantic problems and ultimate happy ending. It was an enjoyable and fun read!

— Dale Mayer Author and this year's Romance judge

The 2019 Romance Shortlist

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