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2019 Alberta Literary Award and Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Winners

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is pleased to announce the winners of the 2019 Alberta Literary Awards and the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize. More than 110 guests attended the 2019 Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 8. The gala was part of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s 2019 annual conference, Writing Across Worlds, held in Edmonton.

This celebration marks the 37th anniversary of the Alberta Literary Awards and brought together writers from across Alberta.

The Alberta Literary Awards were created by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta in 1982 to recognize excellence in writing by Alberta authors. This year, jurors deliberated on nearly 200 submissions to select 24 finalists in eight categories.

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is the largest provincial writers’ organization in Canada, and was formed in 1980 to provide a meeting ground and collective voice for the writers of the province. Our mission is to inspire, connect, support, encourage, and promote writers and writing, to safeguard the freedom to write and read, and to advocate for the well-being of writers.

For more information, please contact the Writers’ Guild of Alberta at (780) 422-8174, by email at [email protected].

The 2019 Alberta Literary Awards Winners

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Sponsored by the Under the Arch Youth Foundation at The Calgary Foundation)

Mike Kerr (Calgary) –Crafty Llama, Bloomsbury/Raincoast Books

MIKE KERR illustrates, teaches, crafts, collaborates, curates, writes, and lately makes zines. He has illustrated for 25 years and taught illustration for nearly that long at the Alberta University of the Arts. He has recently written a book titled Crafty Llama published by Bloomsbury and illustrated by his wife Renata Liwska. You can see his work at

Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction (Sponsored by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity)

Joshua Whitehead (Calgary) –Jonny Appleseed, Arsenal Pulp Press

JOSHUA WHITEHEAD is an Ojibwe-Cree, Two-Spirit member of Peguis First Nation (Treaty 1). He is the author of full-metal indigiqueer (Talonbooks 2017) which was shortlisted for the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry, and Jonny Appleseed (Arsenal Pulp) which was long listed for the Giller Prize and shortlisted for a Governor General’s Award. Currently he is a doctoral student at the University of Calgary (Treaty 7) where he teaches and focusses on Indigenous literatures.

Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction

Abu Bakr al Rabeeah and Winnie Yeung (Edmonton) – Homes: A Refugee Story, Freehand Books

ABU BAKR AL RABEEAH just graduated from high school in Edmonton. After almost five years of living in Canada, he enjoys his life here but he also dreams of a future where he can return to help rebuild Iraq and Syria.

WINNIE YEUNG has been an English Language Arts teacher for ten years. Homes, her first book, was a 2019 Canada Reads contender (and winner of the audience vote), a finalist for the 2018 Governor General’s Literary Award for Nonfiction, and a finalist for the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. It was also the April 2019 pick for OverDrive’s Big Library Read, the world’s biggest digital book club. She lives in Edmonton, Canada, with her black pug, Zoe.

Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama (Sponsored by Alberta Views)

Collin Doyle (Edmonton) –  Let the Light of Day Through

COLLIN DOYLE is an Edmonton based writer. His play The Mighty Carlins premiered at Workshop West in January of 2008. His play for teens Routes premiered in the fall of 2009 at Concrete Theatre. His play Let the Light of Day Through premiered at Theatre Network in April of 2013. In 2018, Collin had two new works produced: Shadow Theatre produced Slumberland Motel and Edmonton Actors Theatre produced Terry and the Dog. Collin’s plays have received Sterling Awards for Outstanding Production, Outstanding Production for Young Audiences, Outstanding Independent Production, and Outstanding Fringe Production. He is a three-time winner of the Alberta Playwriting Competition. Collin is a graduate of the National Theatre School of Canada.

Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry (Sponsored by Stephan V. Benediktson)

A. B. Dillon (Calgary) – Matronalia, Thistledown Press

A.B. DILLON is a first-generation Canadian. Her parents emigrated from Ireland in 1959. She is by day, a ‘Defender of Dreams’ as a counsellor and educator for outreach students, and by night, a crafter of prose, poetry, and personal essay. She has written for Swerve, The Calgary Herald, Where  Magazine, Avenue Magazine and Toque & Canoe. Her poetry has been published in Café Beano Anthologies and FreeFall Magazine, where she won third prize (2016). Her poem “Miss Mercy” was longlisted for the CBC Poetry Prize (2018). Matronalia is her first collection of prose poetry, published by Thistledown Press, 2018. She is currently working on her second book, Murmuration.

James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction 

Roberta Rees (Calgary) – “Bones, Honey,” Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, University of Alberta Press

ROBERTA REES’ writing is described as musical and moving. Her publications include three award winning books: Long After Fathers, Beneath the Faceless Mountain, and Eyes Like Pigeons, as well as many essays, poems, stories, and a 30-minute film, Ethyl Mermaid. Writing awards include: the ReLit Award for Short Fiction, the Canadian Literary Award for Personal Essay, the Canadian Literary Award for Poetry, the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Novel Award, the League of Canadian Poets Gerald Lampert Award. Roberta enjoys hanging out with friends and family, playing her guitar, singing, spending time in the mountains, engaging in social/political activism.

Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story in memory of Vanna Tessier (Supported by Guy Tessier)

Richard Kemick (Calgary) – “Hello, Horse,” The Fiddlehead

RICHARD KELLY KEMICK is an award-winning Canadian poet, journalist, and fiction writer. He is the author of Caribou Run, a collection of poetry which was selected by CBC as one of the season’s Must Reads. Having published widely in all three genres, his work has been included in anthologies in Canada and the United Kingdom. Richard is the recipient of multiple prizes including two National Magazine Awards. He is from Calgary.

Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award (Supported by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Board of Directors)

Trina Moyles (Peace River) – “Herd Memory”

TRINA MOYLES is a writer, author, and fire tower lookout based in Peace River, Alberta. Her award-winning writing, often focused on environmental and social justice issues, has been published widely in the Globe and Mail, The Walrus, Hakai Magazine, amongst other publications. Moyles is the author of Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World, a travel narrative that explores the realities of female farmers across four continents. She is anticipating the forthcoming  publication of her second book, a memoir about her four summers working as a fire tower lookout in the rugged Canadian boreal forest. Moyles is currently an MA student in UBC’s creative writing program.

The 2019 WGA Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement (Supported by Aritha van Herk)

The 2019 Writers’ Guild of Alberta Golden Pen Award is presented to Bob Stallworthy.  Born and raised in the Maritimes, Bob Stallworthy came to Calgary with his wife, Marilyn, in the 1970’s. He was a social worker for twelve years before he began to write professionally. From 1985 – 1990 Bob travelled the WGA Book Display to teachers’ conventions and book fairs from Grande Prairie and Cold Lake to Lethbridge and Medicine Hat and places in between. In 1988 he was a member of the Literary Festival connected with the Olympic Games in Calgary.

In 1991 Bob established the WGA office in Calgary and ran it until 1996. During that time, the Calgary office organized a multitude of events including, a Calgary Stroll of Poets, Freedom to Read celebrations, hosted four visiting Russian writers, and was a member of the steering committee of WordFest in 1996.

Bob has four books of poetry published: Under the Sky Speaking, Snowapple Press, 1998; and From a Call Box, 2001; Optics, 2004; Things that Matter Now, 2009; each published by Frontenac House.  Bob has given over 250 readings and workshops around Alberta in schools and libraries. He was a weekend Writer-in-Residence in Drumheller in 2005.

One of his nomination letters says, “Bob Stallworthy’s achievements as a writer are defined by his poetry, his teaching and mentorship, his long time service to the Writers’ Guild of Alberta, his experience and dedication to publishing, his passionate belief in freedom of expression, and his years of friendship and support to colleagues within the Calgary writing community and beyond.”

The 2019 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Winner

This year’s winner for the City of Edmonton Book Prize is Kelly Shepherd – Insomnia Bird, Thistledown Press

KELLY SHEPHERD’s second full-length poetry collection, Insomnia Bird: Edmonton Poems, was published by Thistledown Press in fall 2018. Shift, his first collection, was published by Thistledown in 2016 and longlisted for the Edmonton Public Library’s People’s Choice Award in 2017. He has written six poetry chapbooks, and a seventh is forthcoming from the Alfred Gustav Press. Kelly is also the poetry editor for the environmental philosophy journal The Trumpeter. Kelly has a Creative Writing MFA from UBC Okanagan, and an MA in Religious Studies from the University of Alberta. Originally from Smithers, British Columbia, Kelly lives in Edmonton, and teaches English and Communications at the Northern Alberta Institute of Technology.

The 2019 Alberta Literary Award Sponsors and Supporters  

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta gratefully acknowledges the supporters and sponsors of our 2019 Alberta Literary Awards:



  • Guy Tessier
  • WGA Board of Directors
  • Aritha van Herk

The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize is sponsored by:

  • City of Edmonton
  • Edmonton Arts Council
  • Audreys Books
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