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2024 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Winners Announced

June 18, 2024

The prize marks 10 years of spotlighting debut Canadian authors, with this year’s picks in Nonfiction, Literary Fiction and Mystery

TORONTO, ONJune 18, 2024 - Today, Rakuten Kobo announced the winners of its tenth annual Emerging Writer Prize, adding three new names to its growing list of celebrated Canadian writers. Debut authors in Nonfiction, Literary Fiction and Mystery were each awarded a $10,000 CAD cash prize, and will receive promotional, marketing and communications support from Kobo throughout the year and beyond, to help drive their success in the world of books.

“We’re deeply inspired by the relentless effort debut authors put into getting their work in front of readers, and we created this prize to help support the newest Canadian literary talent as they get a foothold as published authors,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo. “This year marks the prize’s 10-year anniversary, which means we have had the privilege to recognize more than 175 shortlisted authors and now 30 winning books, each one an amazing addition to our country’s cultural fabric. We thank our judges, each an accomplished author in their own right – Robyn Doolittle, Jeanette Lynes, and Ashley Audrain – for working with us to help select this year’s deserving winners. We look forward to showcasing them and many more new authors for years to come. Having Canadian authors judging the prize every year has been essential, and it’s such an honour to have Robyn Doolittle, the 2015 winner in the Nonfiction category, serving as judge on this 10th anniversary.”

Nonfiction Winner

The Nonfiction prize has been awarded to Jérémie Harris for Quantum Physics Made Me Do It: A Simple Guide to the Fundamental Nature of Everything, published by Viking.

About the book: Quantum Physics Made Me Do It is a smart, accessible, and engaging adventure through the complex and beautiful world mapped out by modern physics. Jérémie Harris at last offers us a book on quantum physics that the entire universe can enjoy—perhaps together as one big mind.

Author Robyn Doolittle, this year’s Nonfiction judge, said of the book: “Physicist Jérémie Harris tackles complex questions in conversational and hilarious language. Never in a million years would I have thought I’d be unable to put down a book on quantum mechanics, but this book is a total page-turner that made me question reality, from zombie cats to parallel universes.”

Literary Fiction Winner

The Literary Fiction prize has been awarded to Jamaluddin Aram for Nothing Good Happens in Wazirabad on Wednesday, published by Simon & Schuster

About the book: In this brilliantly kaleidoscopic, darkly funny, and wholly captivating novel about peace in a time of war, Jamaluddin Aram breathes life into the families and friends, lovers and loners, neighbours and sworn enemies who wander the winding alleys of Wazirabad.

Author Jeanette Lynes, this year’s Literary Fiction judge, said of the book: “Aram’s writing evokes striking dissonances and contrasts that toggle between youth and age, between beauty and the grotesque, and between kindness and brutality. The novel’s world is earthy, visceral, sharp-edged, yet also, at times teeters on the brink of hallucination, madness, or, conversely, miracle, in ways that reveal humans’ capacity for belief, and hope.”

Mystery Winner

The Mystery prize has been awarded to Keziah Weir for The Mythmakers, published by McClelland & Stewart

About the book: Three writers, two marriages, one affair—infinite sides to the story. A beguiling nesting doll of a novel about husbands and wives, the battles between creative ambition and love, and the timeless question of who owns a story.

Author Ashley Audrain, this year’s Mystery judge, said of the book: “Ambitious and inventive, The Mythmakers is a page-turner about the boundaries of creative work, memory, and identity. I loved Weir’s assured writing, complex characters, and unexpected twists in this debut.”

More about the prize

The Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize is now in its 10th year. The winners were selected from a shortlist of talented debut Canadian writers chosen by Kobo’s team of booksellers, with book completion rates, customer ratings and reviews taken into consideration.

For Non-Fiction and Literary Fiction: only Entrants who published a book during the 2023 calendar year are eligible.

For Mystery: only Entrants who published a book during the 2021, 2022 or 2023 calendar years (spanning the time since the prize was last awarded in this genre) are eligible. Each year the prize considers one of three genre fiction categories: Mystery, Romance, and Speculative Fiction.

All submitted books must be available at

The 2024 Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Shortlist


Literary Fiction


  • Final Look by Dianne Scott, published by Danforth Press
  • Perfect Shot by Steve Urszenyi, published by Minotaur / Raincoast Books
  • HUGE by Brent Butt, published by Doubleday Canada
  • The Creep by Michael LaPointe, published by Random House Canada
  • The Mythmakers by Keziah Weir, published by McClelland & Stewart
  • The Maid by Nita Prose, published by Viking Canada

The Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize official page:


About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Rakuten Kobo Inc. is the world’s digital bookseller created by and for booklovers. Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten Group, Inc. and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo’s millions of worldwide users can read anytime, anywhere, and on any device. With a mission to make reading lives better for all, Rakuten Kobo connects readers to stories using thoughtful and personalized curation of eBooks and audiobooks, and the best dedicated eReaders and apps for reading. With the singular focus of making reading lives the best they can be, Kobo’s open platform allows people to fit reading into more moments in their busy lives.

To learn more about Rakuten Kobo, visit

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