Skip to Main Content

Third Annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize Shortlist Announced

May 01, 2017

Toronto, ON May 1st 2017 – Rakuten Kobo, in search for the best new books written by debut Canadian authors, today announced the shortlist for its third annual Emerging Writer Prize. The award was created with the goal of kick-starting the careers of debut authors, with a $10,000 CAD cash prize awarded to a book in each of three categories: Non-Fiction, Literary Fiction, and Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction this year). In addition, each winning author will receive promotional, marketing, and communications support through 2017.

The shortlist, selected by Kobo’s team of booksellers—with book completion rates, customer ratings and reviews considered—comprises six books from each genre. The shortlist will now move on to the final selection process, led by top Canadian authors: Ross King for Non-Fiction, Zoe Whittall for Literary Fiction, and Kelley Armstrong for Genre Fiction, with winners announced on June 27th, 2017.

Dark Ambition by Ann Brocklehurst - Penguin Canada
Closer by Sarah Barmak - Coach House Books
In-Between Days by Teva Harrison - House of Anansi Press
100 Million Years Of Food by Stephen Le - HarperCollins Canada
The Elephants in My Backyard by Rajiv Surendra - Random House of Canada
Fearless as Possible (Under the Circumstances) by Denise Donlon - House of Anansi Press

Literary Fiction
The Translation of Love by Lynne Kutsukake - Knopf Canada
Kay's Lucky Coin Variety by Ann Choi - Touchstone
Middenrammers by John Bart - Freehand
School of Velocity by Eric Beck Rubin - Doubleday Canada
The Clay Girl by Heather Tucker - ECW Pres
Girl Mans Up by M-E Girard - HarperCollins Canada

Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction)
The Life Engineered by Jean-Francois Dubeau - Inkshares
Three Years with the Rat by Jay Hosking - Penguin Canada
A Keeper's Truth by Dee Willson - Driven Press
The Darkhouse by Barbara Radecki - Cormorant Books
GREY by Kade Cook - Theo & Quinn Creative Works
The Alchemists’ Council by Cynthea Masson - ECW Press

For more information, please visit


Ross King – Author Judge – Non-Fiction

Ross King is the author of The Judgment of Paris, Brunelleschi's Dome, Michelangelo and the Pope's Ceiling, Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven, Leonardo and the Last Supper and most recently, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies. He has twice won the Governor General's Award for Non-Fiction (for The Judgment of Paris and Leonardo and the Last Supper). Born and raised in Canada, he holds degrees from the University of Regina, York University in Toronto and University College, London. He now lives near Oxford, England.

Zoe Whittall - Author Judge – Literary Fiction

Zoe Whittall is the award-winning author of The Best Kind of People (2016), which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and selected as Indigo’s Number One Book of the Year. She is also the author of The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (2001), The Emily Valentine Poems (2006), and Precordial Thump (2008), and the editor of Geeks, Misfits, & Outlaws (2003). Her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (2007) made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible (2009) won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. She was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Literature in 2016. Her writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Believer, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Fashion, and more. She has also worked as a writer and story editor on the TV shows Degrassi, Schitt’s Creek, and the Baroness Von Sketch Show. Born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she has an MFA from the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto.

Kelley Armstrong - Author Judge – Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction)

Kelley Armstrong is the internationally bestselling author of the thirteen-book Women of the Otherworld series, the Nadia Stafford crime novels and the Cainsville series, which includes the novels Omens, Visions, Deceptions and Betrayals. She is also the author of the hit crime novels City of the Lost and A Darkness Absolute, three bestselling young adult trilogies, and the stand-alone YA suspense thriller, The Masked Truth.


Media Contact

Sinead McElhinney

Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Coordinator, Public Relations

416 977 8737 ext.3382

Follow us at @kobobooks on Instagram

"I can adjust the light settings and read throughout the night without waking a soul."👌 What's your favourite Kobo feature? #thekobolife 2019 goals: dine alone at least once, keep plants alive, start an audiobook trial. We are 2 for 3 (sorry plants) 🌱 #thekobolife Have you ever seen yourself reflected in a book? What did you learn? #thekobolife

If you would like to be the first to know about bookish blogs, please subscribe. We promise to provided only relevant articles.