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Tenth Annual Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Shortlist Announced 

April 17, 2024

18 of Canada’s most compelling debut books have been selected in three genres: Nonfiction, Literary Fiction and Mystery

APRIL 17, 2024 - Rakuten Kobo, in search of the best books written by debut Canadian authors, today announced the shortlist for its tenth annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.

The award was created to bring literary recognition to Canadian talent and kick-start the careers of debut authors. A $10,000 CAD cash prize will be awarded for a book published in 2023 in each of three categories: Nonfiction, Literary Fiction and a rotating Genre Fiction category, which is Mystery this year and will for the first time consider debut books from 2022 and 2021 as well, since the last time the prize focused on this genre. In addition, each winning author receives promotional, marketing and ongoing communications support throughout 2024.

The 2024 shortlist comprises six books from each category, selected by Kobo’s team of expert booksellers, and now three bestselling Canadian author judges have the difficult task of choosing the winners: Robyn Doolittle for Nonfiction, Jeanette Lynes for Literary Fiction, and Ashley Audrain for Mystery.

The winners will be announced June 18, 2024. Details to follow.


Literary Fiction


  • Final Look by 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

Full shortlist here:

Here are the judges who will choose the winning book in each category:

Robyn Doolittle, Nonfiction

Winner of the inaugural Kobo Emerging Writer Prize for her nonfiction book, Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story, Robyn Doolittle is an award-winning journalist and author. She is The Globe and Mail's corporate law reporter, formerly a member of The Globe and Mail's investigative team. Since coming to The Globe in 2014, she has covered gender inequities in the workplace, corrupt business practices, and the Hockey Canada scandal. Her “Unfounded” investigation,  which explored the ways that Canadian police services handle sexual assault cases, prompted a national overhaul of policy, training and practices around sexual violence. She is the author of two bestselling books, Had It Coming – What’s Fair In The Age of #MeToo?, which was shortlisted for the RBC Taylor Prize for nonfiction.

Jeanette Lynes, Literary Fiction

Jeanette Lynes’ fourth novel is forthcoming from HarperCollins Canada in 2025. Her third novel, The Apothecary's Garden (HarperCollins, 2022) was a finalist for a High Plains Book Award and two Saskatchewan Books Awards. Jeanette’s second novel, The Small Things That End The World won the 2019 Fiction Prize at the Saskatchewan Book Awards. Her first novel, The Factory Voice was longlisted for The ScotiaBank Giller Prize and a ReLit Award. Jeanette’s nonfiction book Apron Apocalypse: Lyric Essays is forthcoming from Thistledown Press in 2026. She is also the author of seven poetry collections, most recently, Bedlam Cowslip: The John Clare Poems (Wolsak and Wynn/Buckrider Books), winner of the 2016 Saskatchewan Arts Board Poetry Award. Jeanette directs the MFA in Writing at the University of Saskatchewan.

Ashley Audrain, Genre Fiction (Mystery)

Ashley Audrain’s debut novel, The Push, was a New York Times, Sunday Times, and number-one international bestseller, and a Good Morning America Book Club pick. It has sold in more than forty territories, and a limited television series is currently in development. Her second novel, The Whispers, is also a number-one international bestseller. Audrain previously worked as the publicity director of Penguin Books Canada, and prior to that she worked in public relations. She lives in Toronto, where she and her partner are raising their two young children.

Get to know the 2024 judging panel here.


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

Media Contact

Alanna McLatchie
Specialist, Communications 
[email protected]

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