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January 22, 2019

Award shines a spotlight on Canadian debut authors – monetary prize and marketing support awarded for books across three genres

TorontoJanuary 22, 2018 Rakuten Kobo, one of the world’s most innovative digital reading services, today announced it is now accepting submissions for its fifth annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. As part of Kobo’s goal of raising the profiles of debut writers, the prize identifies and puts at the forefront exceptional books written by first-time Canadian authors in three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (this year Romance; a different genre is showcased each year), and Non-Fiction. The winning authors will be announced in June and will be awarded a $10,000 CAD cash prize as well as marketing and communications support through 2019.

“Our mission is simple: To position Canadian writers at the forefront of our country’s impressive literary culture. The Kobo Emerging Writer Prize was created to help winning authors achieve that goal. First books have an uphill battle in the online world, with so much visibility and discovery based on algorithms, sales history, and bestseller position,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Rakuten Kobo Inc. “We are here to help new authors, both with cash prizes and by helping them find their fan base through marketing and communications support.”

This year, the winners will be selected by top Canadian authors – Craig Davidson for Literary Fiction; Dale Mayer for Romance; and Michael Harris for Non-Fiction. They will choose from a shortlist determined by Kobo’s team of booksellers, taking into account reading data.

Submissions are now open and will be accepted at until February 27th, 2019 for debut books published in 2018 by Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents of Canada. Submissions can be made by publishers or directly by authors. Traditionally published and self-published books are eligible for submission.

To explore the winning titles of the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, please visit:


Eligibility: The award is eligible to Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents of Canada who have published debut books during the 2018 calendar year in the categories of Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (Romance this year; a different genre highlighted each year), or Non-Fiction. All submitted books must be available at

Nomination process and official rules: Publishers and authors (traditionally published and self-published) can submit debut books published in 2018 at

Selection: The author judges will select winners from a shortlist created by Kobo booksellers based on a combination of literary merit and reader engagement – completion rates, ratings, and reviews may be considered.


Craig Davidson, Literary Fiction

Craig Davidson was born and grew up in St. Catharines, Ontario, near Niagara Falls. He has published four previous books of Literary Fiction, including Rust and Bone, which was the inspiration for a Golden Globe−nominated feature film of the same name; and the Scotiabank Giller Prize-nominated novel Cataract City. His bestselling memoir, Precious Cargo, about his year spent driving a school bus for children with special needs, was a finalist for Canada Reads. His most recent novel, The Saturday Night Ghost Club, was shortlisted for the Writers Trust Fiction Prize. Davidson lives in Toronto with his partner and child.

Dale Mayer, Genre Fiction (Romance)

Dale Mayer is a USA Today bestselling author best known for her Psychic Visions, Family Blood Ties series and of course her thrilling military romance SEAL series. Her contemporary romances are raw and full of passion and emotion, her thrillers will keep you guessing, and her romantic comedies will keep you giggling. To find out more about Dale and her books, visit her website, Twitter @DaleMayer or Facebook

Michael Harris, Non-Fiction

Michael Harris is the author of Solitude and The End of Absence, which won the Governor General’s Literary Award. He writes about media, civil liberties, and the arts, for dozens of publications, including The Washington Post, Wired, Time, Salon, Discover, The Huffington Post, and The Globe & Mail. His books are available in ten languages and have been nominated for the RBC Taylor Prize, the BC National Award for Canadian Non-Fiction, the Chautauqua Prize and the CBC Bookie Award. He lives with the artist Kenny Park in Vancouver, Canada. Reach out to Michael on Twitter @Vancouverharris.

About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s most innovative eReading services offering more than 6 million eBooks and audiobooks to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides people with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any reader’s style including the Kobo Clara HD, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, Kobo Aura ONE and Kobo Forma; along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading and audiobook listening app for iOS® and Android®. Kobo’s award-winning eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit


Media Contact
Sinead McElhinney

Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Manager, Public Relations

416 977 8737 ext.3382

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