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January 23, 2018

TORONTO January 22, 2018 – Rakuten Kobo, one of the world’s most innovative digital reading services, today announced it is now accepting submissions for its fourth annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. Kobo is working to raise the profiles of three debut writers; the prize identifies and puts at the forefront of the competitive publishing industry, exceptional books written by first-time Canadian authors from three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (this year Mystery; 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.

The reason for focusing on debut authors? “Finding an audience for a first book can be challenging at the best of times, and when it comes to digital books, it is even harder for new authors to fight their way to prominence,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Rakuten Kobo Inc. “Making it in the world of digital books sales depends on many factors, all of which are that little bit harder for someone just getting started. That’s why, in addition to the monetary prize, Kobo’s award provides promotional support for the winning titles to help these books find the audiences they deserve.”

This year, the winners will be selected by top Canadian authors – Lori Lansens for Literary Fiction, Linwood Barclay for Mystery, and Jay Ingram 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 March 2 for debut books published in 2017 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 2017 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 2017 calendar year in the categories of Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (Mystery this year; a different genre highlighted each year), or Non-Fiction. All submitted books must be available at

Nomination process: Publishers and authors (traditionally published and self-published) can submit debut books published in 2017 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.

For more details, and official rules:


Jay Ingram – Author Judge – Non-Fiction

Jay Ingram is a Canadian science writer/broadcaster. He has hosted two national science programs in Canada, Quirks and Quarks on CBC radio and Daily Planet on Discovery Channel Canada. He has written 15 books, which have been translated into 16 languages, has six honorary degrees, is a member of the Order of Canada and a fellow of the Royal Canadian Geographical Society. He is well known for The Science of Why, The Science of Why 2 and Fatal Flaws.

Lori Lansens- Author Judge – Literary Fiction

Lori Lansens was a successful screenwriter before she burst onto the literary scene in 2002 with her first novel Rush Home Road. Published in 11 countries, it received rave reviews around the world. Her follow-up novel The Girls was an international success as well. Her novels, The Wife’s Tale, and The Mountain Story were also sold internationally and made bestseller lists everywhere. Her new novel, We American Girls, introduces readers to the blog of Rory Miller, a Holden Caulfield for a new generation, to be published in spring 2019. Born and raised in Chatham, Ontario, Lori Lansens now lives in Southern California with her family.

Linwood Barclay – Author Judge – Genre Fiction (Mystery)

Linwood Barclay is the New York Times and #1 international bestselling author of 16 critically acclaimed novels, including the Promise Falls trilogy, composed of Broken Promise, Far From True and The Twenty-Three; No Safe House; A Tap on the Window; Trust Your Eyes, which has been optioned for film; and No Time Goodbye. Linwood lives in Oakville, ON.

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 5 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 Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, and Kobo Aura ONE; along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading and audiobook listening app for Apple® 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.
Specialist, Public Relations
416 977 8737 ext.3382

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