The Writers’ Guild of Alberta administers the annual Alberta Literary Awards every year to recognize outstanding Alberta writing. We also administer several additional awards throughout the year. Visit each award’s page below for more information and submission guidelines.
Golden Pen Award
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta Golden Pen Award is presented to acknowledge the lifetime achievements of outstanding Alberta writers. Past recipients are W.O. Mitchell, Grant MacEwan, Rudy Wiebe, Myrna Kostash, Robert Kroetsch, Merna Summers, Aritha van Herk, Fred Stenson, George Melnyk, Alice Major, Betty Jane Hegerat, and Greg Hollingshead.
The 2017 recipient is Candas Jane Dorsey.
Candas Jane Dorsey (photo by Christian Suave) is known as a writer of fiction, poetry, and nonfiction. Ursula K. Le Guin has described Dorsey as “brilliant as William Gibson, as complex as Gene Wolfe, with a humanity and passion all her own.” Quill & Quire contributor Greg Boyd remarked that “the best of her fictions are emotionally grounded in the Alberta landscape: its pure blue arch of sky is too expansive to enclose the imaginative spirit.” Dorsey is the founding president of SF Canada, Canada’s National Association of Speculative Fiction Professionals. She is a founding partner of Wooden Door and Associates, a professional communications company. She co-founded the publishing company The Books Collective, which released more than one hundred titles in fourteen years. She has been an active member of the literary community and other arts communities in Alberta for more than forty years. Her work as a creative writing teacher, writer in residence, and mentor has influenced many students and emerging writers. She has been a member of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta for many years and previously served on the organization’s Board of Directors.
The 2017 Golden Pen Award was presented at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala during our annual WGA Conference along with the rest of the Alberta Literary Awards on Saturday, June 10 in Lister Centre, University of Alberta in Edmonton.
Supported by Aritha van Herk.
Nominations are now being accepted for the 2018 Golden Pen Award.
Deadline: December 31, 2017
The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize was established by the City Council in 1995 and is administered by the Writers' Guild of Alberta. Entries must deal with some aspect of the city of Edmonton : history, geography, current affairs, its arts or its people or be written by an Edmonton author. Entries may be fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama written for adults or children, published in the preceding year. The winning author will receive a prize of $10,000. The prize is sponsored by Audreys Books and the Edmonton Arts Council.
2017 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Shortlist:
- Lauralyn Chow, Paper Teeth, NeWest Press (WINNER)
- Katherine Koller, Art Lessons, Enfield & Wizenty
- Trent Portigal, A Floating Phrase, Roundfire Books
The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize was awarded at the Mayor's Celebration of the Arts on Monday, May 1 at City Hall.
Submissions are now being accepted for the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
Deadline: December 31, 2017
The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
The prize is administered through a partnership between The City of Calgary and the Writers' Guild of Alberta. A three-person jury from the Canadian literary community judges all entries and selects the winner for confirmation by The Calgary Awards Committee. The jury is made up of a Calgarian, an Albertan from outside Calgary, and a Canadian from outside Alberta. This year's three finalists are:
- Joan Crate for Black Apple (Simon & Schuster) (WINNER)
- Beth Everest for silent sister: the mastectomy poems (Frontenac House)
- Richard Harrison for On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood (Wolsak and Wynn)
The City of Calgary presented the 2016 Calgary Awards to recipients on Wednesday, June 28, 2017 at 7:30 p.m. The live stream was broadcast via The City of Calgary's awards website.
The winner of the 2015 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize was: Eugene Stickland, The Piano Teacher (BHouse Publications, 2015)
Submissions are now being accepted for The 2017 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
Deadline: December 31, 2017
Alberta Screenwriters Initiative
The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative (ABSI) was created in 2007 to facilitate the development of screenwriters in this province. The Initiative recognizes the importance of story in the creation of filmed entertainment and the necessity to actively encourage and develop the voices of Alberta writers in film. This annual prize awards avid Alberta screenwriters a first prize of $1000 and a professional workshop with a carefully matched experienced story editor or screenwriter. The 2nd and 3rd place winners receives story notes and $500.00 and $250.00, respectively.
Due to a shortage in funding, the ABSI will not be offered in 2018.
Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize
About Sharon Drummond: Sharon Drummond lived in Calgary from 1976 until her death in 2005. She was dedicated to the craft of poetry. Her chapbook, Still the Rush, was published in 1999 and nominated for the Milton Acorn People's Poetry Award. Her first full-length book, Into This Room, was published in 2001. Her final book, Where it Began, was published posthumously by Black Moss Press in 2006. Sharon was a skilled writing instructor who taught at the Alexandra Writers' Centre and for the Calgary Board of Education. She was president of the AWCS and served on the executive of the Writers Guild of Alberta. Sharon is survived by writing friends and colleagues throughout the province, and by her 3 greatest fans -- her daughters.
How to enter: Submissions are now closed
Alberta Literary Awards
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is preparing to celebrate another successful year with the 2018 Alberta Literary Awards. Writers from across Alberta and their publishers are invited to check out and submit to this year’s award categories.
Submissions are evaluated on originality, creativity, and quality of writing, as well as appropriate fit within a category. The winners will be announced at the 2018 Alberta Literary Awards Gala in Calgary in June. The awards presentation will take place in conjunction with the 2018 WGA Conference.
Deadline: December 31, 2017
2017 Alberta Literary Award Winners
R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Sponsored by the Under the Arch Youth Foundation)
- Georgia Graham (Lacombe) – Cub’s Journey Home, Red Deer Press
Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction (Sponsored by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity)
- Gisèle Villeneuve (Calgary) – Rising Abruptly, University of Alberta Press
Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
- Sydney Sharpe and Don Braid (Calgary) – Notley Nation: How Alberta's Political Upheaval Swept the Country, Dundurn Press
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama (Sponsored by Alberta Views)
- Vern Thiessen (Edmonton) – Of Human Bondage, Playwrights Canada Press
Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry (Sponsored by Stephan V. Benediktson)
- Richard Harrison (Calgary) – On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood, Wolsak and Wynn
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction (Supported by Tony Johnson)
- Austen Lee (Edmonton) – “Among Cougars and Men,” Glass Buffalo
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story (Supported by Vanna Tessier and Guy Tessier)
- Laurie MacFayden (Edmonton) – “Haircut,” Alberta Views
Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award (Supported by The Writers’ Guild of Alberta Board of Directors)
- Rona Altrows (Calgary) – “Letter of Intent”
The Alberta Literary Awards were created by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta in 1982 to recognize excellence in writing by Alberta authors. Entries are judged by an independent jury recruited by the WGA. Submissions are evaluated on originality, creativity, and quality of writing, as well as appropriate fit within a category.
The Writers' Guild of Alberta gratefully acknowledges the supporters and sponsors of our 2017 Alberta Literary Awards (listed below).
If you are interested in becoming an award sponsor, gala sponsor, or donor, please contact Natalie Cook.
Youth/Emerging Writing Contest
As well, The Writers’ Guild of Alberta continues to cultivate connections with emerging writers and the youth writing community of our province. This year, a generous donation from one of our members has allowed us to award a special one-time prize for a writer between eighteen and thirty years of age. We are pleased to announce that Katie Bickell has won the Youth/Emerging Writing Contest for her short story “Angels in the Snow.”
Katie Bickell (katiebickell.com) lives in Sherwood Park with her husband and young daughters. Her work has been published in literary journals throughout North America and Great Britain, and won the 2015 Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story, the 2014 Alberta Views Fiction Prize, and the 2011 Voices of Motherhood Essay Prize. She is currently completing her first book with the support of an AFA literary grant.