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Meet the 2022 Finalists

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is excited to announce the finalists for the 2022 Alberta Literary Awards, the 2022 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize, and The 2022 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize. Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards, the City of Edmonton and The City of Calgary recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta authors.

The WGA would like to send our congratulations to those whose work is among this year’s finalists! We look forward to celebrating your creativity and hard work, and we will do all we can to spread the word about the wonderful writing you did in 2021.

Our juries deliberated on more than 300 submissions to select the following 36 finalists in twelve categories. Finalists represent excellence in literary work written by Alberta authors and published or created in 2020-21. Click the tabs below to find out more about this year’s finalists!

Virtual Readings with the Finalists

Online Readings with the 2022 Alberta Literary Awards Finalists (online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TRlbiQnUzas): Wednesday, April 20, 2022 at 7:00 PM. Virtual readings with finalists for the Alberta Literary Awards featuring: Theresa Shea, Premee Mohamad, Ky Perraun, Constance Brissenden, Rayanne Haines, C.J. Lavigne, Lori Hahnel, and Ali Bryan.

Online Readings with the 2022 Alberta Literary Awards and Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Finalists (online at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0MYV6fzGHzM): Thursday, April 21, 2022 at 7:00 PM. A virtual reading with finalists for the Alberta Literary Awards and Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize featuring: Glen Huser, Meagan Mahoney, Katherine Abbass, Trina Moyles, Uchechukwu Umezurike, Jessica Waite, Julie Sedivy, David van Belle, Omar Mouallem.

The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize Finalists’ Readings (online via Zoom): Thursday, April 28, 2022 at 7:00 PM. Presented in partnership with Shelf Life Books. Join host, Lee Kvern, as she welcomes The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize finalists virtually at Shelf Life Books on Thursday April 28th at 7:00 pm. Please register to receive your link for an evening of fine literature and conversation.

The Finalists in the News!

Here are links to where you can read about (or listen to) this year’s finalists!

Meet the Finalists

Click on the tabs to learn more about this year’s finalists!

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Picture Books) 

(Sponsored by Under the Arch Youth Foundation at The Calgary Foundation)

  • Larry Loyie (Edmonton) and Constance Brissenden (Edmonton) – Wild Waters: Inside a Voyageur’s World (Indigenous Education Press)

    Cree author Larry Loyie (1933-2016) was born in Slave Lake, Alberta. Larry was a grassroots activist, the author of twelve books on subjects ranging from his beloved traditional childhood, his tumultuous years at St. Bernard Mission residential school, and his voyageur great-grandfather in Wild Waters, Inside a Voyageur’s World. His national history, Residential Schools, With the Words and Images of Survivors,As Long as the Rivers Flow, about his childhood before residential school, and its sequel Goodbye Buffalo Bay, are among his notable and award-winning books. For more information: Tansi! Books by Larry Loyie (YouTube), www.goodminds.com, and www.firstnationswriter.com

    Constance Brissenden, co-author of books by Larry Loyie (Cree), is a freelance writer and editor based in Edmonton. Larry and Constance met in a creative writing course in 1993 and continued as life partners until his passing in 2016. Constance continues to write and edit, including four new editions of their books, the Lawrence Series (The Moon Speaks CreeWhen the Spirits Dance, and Goodbye Buffalo Bay), as well as Young Man, True Stories of a Cree Childhood, an anthology due in 2022. The Larry Loyie and Constance Brissenden Collection of residential school research is at UBC’s Residential School History and Dialogue Centre.
  • Meagan Mahoney (Calgary) – Meranda and the Legend of the Lake (Owlkids Books) – Debut author MEAGAN MAHONEY balances her rediscovered love of writing with her work as a pediatric intensive care doctor in Calgary, Alberta. The rest of her time is spent exploring and enjoying the mountains with her husband and three children.
  • Lorna Schultz Nicholson (Edmonton) – When You Least Expect It (Red Deer Press) – Bio coming soon!

James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction

(Supported by Marilyn and Bob Stallworthy)

  • Lisa Martin (Edmonton) – “The Wounded Man” (The New Quarterly) – Bio coming soon!
  • Omar Mouallem (Edmonton) – “How a McDonald’s Knockoff Became the Immigrant Dream” (VICE Magazine): Omar Mouallem is an author, filmmaker, and educator. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, WIRED, and NewYorker.com, and his latest book, Praying to the West, was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021 and nominated for two Alberta Literary Book Awards in the categories of Memoir and Nonfiction. His short documentary The Last Baron, about the unlikely link between a Canadian fast-food institution and the Lebanese civil war, is currently being expanded into a feature film to be released later this year. Omar is also the “fake dean” of Pandemic University, a virtual school he founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his family.
  • Julie Sedivy (Calgary) – “Defamiliarizing the Mother Tongue: On Immigration’s Impact on Learning and Losing Language” (Literary Hub) – Julie Sedivy is a writer, editor, and language scientist whose work ranges from the scientific to the poetic and everything between. Her essays have appeared in magazines such as Nautilus, Scientific American, the Literary Review of Canada, and Politico. Together with Rona Altrows, she is the editor of Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, and her work can be found in two other recent anthologies: You Look Good for Your Age, edited by Rona Altrows, and Impact: Women Writing After Concussion, edited by E.D Morin and Jane Cawthorne. She is a citizen of three countries, but now makes her home on the achingly beautiful lands of Treaty 7.

Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story

(Sponsored by the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society)

  • C.J. Lavigne (Red Deer) – “Cenotaph” (Augur Magazine): C.J. Lavigne is a speculative fiction writer whose publications include the urban fantasy novel In Veritas (NeWest Press, 2020), as well as short fiction that has appeared in On Spec, Fusion Fragment, and Augur Magazine. She lives in Red Deer.
  • Ben Lof (Edmonton) – “Naked States” (The Malahat Review): Ben Lof’s stories have appeared in literary magazines and The Journey Prize anthology. He won the 2021 Far Horizons Award for Short Fiction and the 2010 Howard O’Hagan award, and was a finalist for the Bronwen Wallace and Western Magazine Awards. Ben lives with his family on Treaty Six Territory in Edmonton.
  • Rod Moody-Corbett (Lethbridge) – “Malady Head” (Soft Punk Magazine): Rod Moody-Corbett’s work has appeared in The Fiddlehead, Riddle Fence, Drift, and on the Paris Review Daily. He has been shortlisted for a CBC Canada Writes Short Story Prize, the Paris Review‘s “Windows on the World Contest,” and he writes regularly for Canadian Notes and Queries

Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry

(Sponsored by Stephan V. Benediktson)

  • Tyler Engström (Calgary) – Think of How Old We Could Get (Frontenac House) – Bio coming soon!
  • Rayanne Haines (Edmonton) – Tell the Birds your Body is Not a Gun (Frontenac House) – Bio coming soon!
  • Ky Perraun (Edmonton) – Miraculous Sickness (At Bay Press): ky perraun is an Edmonton poet living with schizophrenia. Her book Miraculous Sickness, (At Bay Press, 2021), details the treatment of schizophrenia throughout history, and her and her peers’ lived experiences.

Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award

  • Katherine Abbass (Beaumont) – “Inglorious Bastards”: Katherine Abbass (she/her) is a writer, editor, and English teacher of Phoenician descent. Her work has been published conventionally in The Antigonish Review, untethered, Plenitude, and Glass Buffalo magazine, as well as unconventionally through EIA’s Short Story Dispenser and on the labels of Blindman Brewing’s beer. In 2020, Katherine was shortlisted for Room magazine’s Creative Nonfiction Contest. In 2021, she won Riddle Fence’s Fiction Contest. She is completing her MA in Creative Writing at Concordia University in Montréal.
  • Ali Bryan (Calgary) – “Bad Extra” – Ali Bryan is an award-winning novelist and creative nonfiction writer who explores the what-ifs, the wtfs and the wait-a-minutes of every day. She lives in the foothills of the Canadian Rockies, where she has a wrestling room in her garage and regularly gets choked out by her family.
  • Jessica Waite (Calgary) – “In Defence of Grief”: In 2015, a series of terrible-but-interesting events overtook Jessica Waite’s life. In 2017, she started writing about them. Her short stories and essays have appeared in anthologies published by Loft 112, AWCS, and The Selkie. She’s made “Best of the Year” lists on medium.com and her work has been listed in contests by Geist, Room, and Prism International magazines. Her first full-length memoir is in revision and she expects to finish it soon. Damn soon. Please, let it be soon.  storymourning.com/a-secret-book.html

Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama

Bios and photos coming soon!

  • Dale Lee Kwong (Calgary) – Ai Yah! Chop Suey
  • David van Belle (Edmonton) – Love is Magic

Memoir Award

(Supported by Vivian Hansen)

  • Ashley Bristowe (Calgary) – My Own Blood: A Memoir (Random House Canada) – Bio coming soon!
  • Omar Mouallem (Edmonton) – Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas (Simon & Schuster): Omar Mouallem is an author, filmmaker, and educator. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, WIRED, and NewYorker.com, and his latest book, Praying to the West, was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021 and nominated for two Alberta Literary Book Awards in the categories of Memoir and Nonfiction. His short documentary The Last Baron, about the unlikely link between a Canadian fast-food institution and the Lebanese civil war, is currently being expanded into a feature film to be released later this year. Omar is also the “fake dean” of Pandemic University, a virtual school he founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his family.
  • Trina Moyles (Peace River) – Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest (Random House Canada): Trina Moyles is the author of Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest (2021) and Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World (2018). Her award-winning work has been published in the Globe and MailThe Walrus, Chatelaine, and Alberta Views. In 2019, her essay “Herd Memory” won the Jon Whyte Memorial Award, and in 2020, received a National Magazine award. She is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Learn more at www.trinamoyles.com

Short Story Collection Award

  • Norma Dunning (Edmonton) – Tainna: The Unseen Ones, Short Stories (Douglas & McIntyre) – Bio coming soon!
  • Lori Hahnel (Calgary) – Vermin (Enfield & Wizenty): Lori Hahnel lives in Calgary and is the author of two novels, Love Minus Zero and After You’ve Gone, and two story collections, Nothing Sacred and Vermin: Stories (Enfield & Wizenty, 2020). A new novel is forthcoming from University of Calgary Press in 2023.
  • Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike (Edmonton) – Double Wahala, Double Trouble (Griots Lounge Publishing Canada): Uchechukwu Peter Umezurike is a postdoctoral fellow in the Department of English at the University of Calgary and the 2021 winner of the Nigeria Prize for Literary Criticism. He is the author of the short story collection, Double Wahala, Double Trouble and a children’s book, Wish Maker. He co-edited Wreaths for Wayfarers, an anthology of poems, in 2020. He is a columnist for Read Alberta.

Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction

  • Omar Mouallem (Edmonton) – Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas (Simon & Schuster): Omar Mouallem is an author, filmmaker, and educator. His journalism has appeared in The Guardian, WIRED, and NewYorker.com, and his latest book, Praying to the West, was named one of the Globe and Mail’s 100 best books of 2021 and nominated for two Alberta Literary Book Awards in the categories of Memoir and Nonfiction. His short documentary The Last Baron, about the unlikely link between a Canadian fast-food institution and the Lebanese civil war, is currently being expanded into a feature film to be released later this year. Omar is also the “fake dean” of Pandemic University, a virtual school he founded in support of writers affected by the COVID-19 pandemic. He lives in Edmonton, Alberta, with his family.
  • Julie Sedivy (Calgary) – Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self (Harvard University Press): Julie Sedivy is a writer, editor, and language scientist whose work ranges from the scientific to the poetic and everything between. Her essays have appeared in magazines such as Nautilus, Scientific American, the Literary Review of Canada, and Politico. Together with Rona Altrows, she is the editor of Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, and her work can be found in two other recent anthologies: You Look Good for Your Age, edited by Rona Altrows, and Impact: Women Writing After Concussion, edited by E.D Morin and Jane Cawthorne. She is a citizen of three countries, but now makes her home on the achingly beautiful lands of Treaty 7.

Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction

  • Premee Mohamed (Edmonton) – The Annual Migration of Clouds (ECW Press): Premee Mohamed is a multiple award-nominated Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is an Assistant Editor at the short fiction audio venue Escape Pod and the author of the ‘Beneath the Rising’ series and other works. She can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus and on her website at www.premeemohamed.com.
  • Theresa Shea (Edmonton) – The Shade Tree (Guernica Editions): Theresa Shea has published two novels. The Unfinished Child (2013) was a finalist for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction and the Alberta Readers’ Choice Award, and her most recent novel, The Shade Tree (2021), won the Guernica Prize and is a finalist for the Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction. She lives in Edmonton and is at work on her next novel, Dog Days of Planet Earth.

The 2022 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Finalists

  • Glen Huser – Burning the Night (NeWest Press): A native Albertan, Glen Huser had a lengthy career in Edmonton as a teacher, school librarian, learning resources consultant and reviewer of books for The Edmonton Journal. His novel Grace Lake was shortlisted for the 1992 W.H. Smith-Books in Canada First Novel Award. He has written several books for children and young adult readers including the Governor General’s Award-winner Stitches (2003) and the GG finalist Skinnybones and the Wrinkle Queen (2008). Short stories have appeared in a number of literary magazines, most recently Plenitude and Waterloo University’s The New Quarterly. Glen’s current home is Vancouver where he continues to write as well as pursue interests in art and film studies.
  • Premee Mohamed – The Annual Migration of Clouds (ECW Press): Premee Mohamed is a multiple award-nominated Indo-Caribbean scientist and speculative fiction author based in Edmonton, Alberta. She is an Assistant Editor at the short fiction audio venue Escape Pod and the author of the ‘Beneath the Rising’ series and other works. She can be found on Twitter at @premeesaurus and on her website at www.premeemohamed.com.
  • Trina Moyles – Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest (Random House Canada): Trina Moyles is the author of Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest (2021) and Women Who Dig: Farming, Feminism, and the Fight to Feed the World (2018). Her award-winning work has been published in the Globe and MailThe Walrus, Chatelaine, and Alberta Views. In 2019, her essay “Herd Memory” won the Jon Whyte Memorial Award, and in 2020, received a National Magazine award. She is currently completing her MFA in Creative Writing at the University of British Columbia. Learn more at www.trinamoyles.com

The 2022 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize Finalists

  • Julie Sedivy – Memory Speaks: On Losing and Reclaiming Language and Self (Harvard University Press): Julie Sedivy is a writer, editor, and language scientist whose work ranges from the scientific to the poetic and everything between. Her essays have appeared in magazines such as Nautilus, Scientific American, the Literary Review of Canada, and Politico. Together with Rona Altrows, she is the editor of Waiting: An Anthology of Essays, and her work can be found in two other recent anthologies: You Look Good for Your Age, edited by Rona Altrows, and Impact: Women Writing After Concussion, edited by E.D Morin and Jane Cawthorne. She is a citizen of three countries, but now makes her home on the achingly beautiful lands of Treaty 7.
  • Jaspreet Singh – My Mother, My Translator (Vehicule Press): Jaspreet Singh is the author of the novels Chef, Helium, and Face; the story collection Seventeen Tomatoes; the poetry collection November; and most recently, the memoir My Mother, My Translator. His essays have appeared in Granta, Brick, The New York Times. His work has been published internationally and has been translated into several languages. He lives in Calgary.
  • Neil Surkan – Unbecoming (McGill-Queen’s University Press): Neil Surkan is the author of the poetry collections Unbecoming (2021) and On High (2018), both from McGill-Queen’s University Press, and the chapbooks Their Queer Tenderness (Knife-Fork-Book, 2020) and Super, Natural (Anstruther Press, 2017). His award-winning poems and literary reviews have appeared in numerous Canadian magazines. Neil earned a PhD in English from the University of Calgary in 2021.

With Gratitude

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta gratefully acknowledges the supporters and sponsors of our 2021 Alberta Literary Awards:


Alberta Literary Awards Funders


Sponsors for the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize

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