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.
Alberta Literary Awards
2022 Alberta Literary Awards
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is pleased to announce the winners of the 2022 Alberta Literary Awards and the Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize. This year’s award winners were announced at and in-person gala in Edmonton on June 11th. The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize was presented at The Calgary Awards on June 15th.
This celebration marks the 40th 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.
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 by email at [email protected].
Our juries deliberated on more than 300 submissions to select winners in the following categories. Finalists represent excellence in literary work written by Alberta authors and published or created in 2020-21.
- Read the list of finalists here
- Read press release for the list of winners here
READ 2022 GUIDELINES (PDF)
Deadline: The 2022 awards are now closed to submissions.
The 2022 Alberta Literary Awards Winners
R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
(Sponsored by the Under the Arch Youth Foundation at The Calgary Foundation)
- Lorna Schultz Nicholson (Edmonton) – When You Least Expect It, Red Deer Press
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction
(Supported by Marilyn and Bob Stallworthy)
- Lisa Martin (Edmonton) – “The Wounded Man,” The New Quarterly
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story
(Supported by the Alexandra Writers’ Centre Society)
Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
(Sponsored by Stephan V. Benediktson)
- Rayanne Haines (Edmonton) – Tell the birds your body is not a gun, Frontenac House
Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award
(Supported by the Haynes Family – In Memory of Dr. Sterling Haynes)
- Jessica Waite (Calgary) – “In Defense of Grief”
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
- David van Belle (Edmonton) – Love is Magic
(Supported by Vivian Hansen)
- Trina Moyles (Peace River) – Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest, Random House Canada
Short Story Collection Award
- Lori Hahnel (Calgary) – Vermin, Enfield & Wizenty
Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
- Omar Mouallem (Edmonton) – Praying to the West: How Muslims Shaped the Americas, Simon & Schuster
Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
- Theresa Shea (Edmonton) – The Shade Tree, Guernica Editions
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 2022 Alberta Literary Awards (listed below).
If you are interested in becoming an award sponsor, gala sponsor, or donor, please contact Giorgia Severini.
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, Greg Hollingshead, Cecelia Frey, Bob Stallworthy, and Vivian Hansen.
Deadline: Nominations are now closed
The 2022 recipient is Chris Wiseman.
Dr. Chris Wiseman came to Alberta and Canada in 1969 to teach English at the University of Calgary. Early in his career at the university, he established the Creative Writing section of the English department. He went on to teach Creative Writing at all levels from first year to graduate until his retirement.
A writer/poet himself, Chris came to the University of Calgary with a PhD from the University of Strathclyde in Glasgow, Scotland and with three years under his belt from the Iowa writers workshop. Soon after arriving in Calgary he realized that the writing community was very small and had little prominence in community life. Among the things he did to increase the profile of writers in the community was to advocate for writers with government agencies, including sitting on literary juries for the Canada Council for the Arts, Alberta Foundation for the Literary Arts and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and promote the creation of public poetry readings within the Calgary community. In 1980, he became the founding Vice President of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. Three years later, he took on the role of President of the Guild.
He has published 11 books of poetry, written numerous academic articles and papers, and supervised many graduate students and their work. The result is well over 100 books being produced by both graduate and undergraduate students over the years. Amongst those students, three of them went on to receive Governor General Awards and three more have been shortlisted for the same award.
Chris has received numerous awards for his work, as well. He received a Teaching Excellence Award from the Student Union at the University of Calgary. He has also received the Alberta Culture’s Best Book Award twice; a Hawthorn Fellowship; won the Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry once and was shortlisted once; received an Alberta Achievement Award; won The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize; been presented with the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee Medal, and was also presented with the Order of Canada.
The 2022 Golden Pen Award will be presented to Chris at an in-person event in Calgary later in the year.
(Bio by Bob Stallworthy)
Supported by Aritha van Herk.
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. The prize was renamed in 2011 after the late Robert Kroetsch, who was best known for his Governor General's Award-winning novel, The Studhorse Man. Entries are judged by an independent jury recruited by the Writers' Guild of Alberta. The winning author will receive a $10,000 cash prize. The award is sponsored by Audreys Books, the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton. The winner was announced and the prize awarded in the spring of 2022.
The winner for the 2022 City of Edmonton Book Prize was Glen Huser Burning the Night, NeWest Press. Also on the 2022 list of finalists was Trina Moyles, Lookout: Love, Solitude, and Searching for Wildfire in the Boreal Forest (Random House Canada) and Premee Mohamed, The Annual Migration of Clouds (ECW Press).
Deadline: This award is now closed to submissions
The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
Deadline: This award is now closed to submissions
Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Mothers Who Write
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta and Nhung Tran-Davies are happy to announce the launch of the 5th Annual Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Mothers Who Write!
Author Jeananne Kirwin is back again this year to share the vision of effecting positive changes in our community through stories.
Because of the generosity of our sponsors, we will award three scholarships this year: 1st place $3000, 2nd place $2000, 3rd place $1000.
We are so happy to welcome back Tlicho Dene author Richard Van Camp and introduce Jacqueline Guest as this year’s judges!
Deadline: This scholarship is now closed to submissions
If you are an emerging First Nations, Métis or Inuit writer and mother living in Alberta and are interested in applying for the Kemosa Scholarship, please send the following to [email protected]
1. A sample of your writing (no more than 15 pages) — either prose, poetry, nonfiction, fiction and/or illustrated literature, e.g. graphic novel, comic, etc.
2. A cover letter describing why the scholarship is important for you.
3. Previous entrants may resubmit, as long as you have not won a scholarship within 24 months.
4. The deadline for scholarship submission is December 17, 2021. Winners will be announced in early 2022.
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta and Nhung Tran-Davies announced the winners of the 4th Annual Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Mothers Who Write:
This year, there were many amazing entries for the Kemosa Scholarship, and it was a challenge for the judges to choose the winners from among them. After much thought and careful deliberation, here are this year’s recipients:
- First Place ($3000): Sierra Roberts
- Second Place ($2000): Teresa Jane Wouters
- Third Place($1000): Holly Gerlach
- Honourable Mention: Melissa Caillou
For more information or media inquiries, please contact us at [email protected].
Sponsors & Donors
We are so grateful to the Co-Sponsors:
Nhung N Tran-Davies
As a Vietnamese immigrant to Canada, I am fascinated by the stories of this land and its people. In 2017, after speaking with renowned author Richard Van Camp and learning more about the struggles of Indigenous women, I was moved to found the Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Métis, and Inuit Mothers Who Write.
As a writer and mother of three young children, I know how difficult it is to find time to write. Financial constraints can make this time even more difficult. Fortunately, I also work as a physician and therefore, I felt that I, in some way, could help my fellow aspiring writers focus on their creativity, to help give voice to Indigenous mothers who write.
Jeananne Kathol Kirwin lives in Edmonton, Alberta with her husband and four children. Although she is a practicing lawyer and erstwhile sailor, her childhood dream to become a writer was rekindled during the sailing sabbatical that is the subject of her book Greetings from Cool Breezes/A Family’s Year Aboard (Borealis Press, 2005). That book won the Canadian Authors Association – Alberta Branch Exporting Alberta Award in 2006.
- Pandemic School of Writing Inc.
- Elaine Morin
- Brent McConnell
In past years, the WGA has been able to offer various other awards. Here is a list of some of them.
Alberta Screenwriters Initiative
The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative (ABSI) was created in 2007 to facilitate the development of screenwriters in this province. The Initiative recognized 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 awarded 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 received story notes and $500.00 and $250.00, respectively. The ABSI ran until 2015 and was sponsored by the Alberta Association of Motion Picture and Television Unions (AAMPTU).
Amber Bowerman Memorial Travel Writing Award
The Amber Bowerman Memorial Travel Writing Award ran from 2009 until 2014 in honour of Amber Bowerman, a talented, successful Calgary writer whose life met a tragic end at the age of 30. This award was offered to recognize a writer with an extraordinary story to tell about how their life was changed by what they saw, heard, tasted, smelled, or touched when they travelled outside of Canada or the United States of America. The winning tale inspired others to leave home and see the world, or make armchair travellers feel that they were also there under the same moon as the writer. The Amber Bowerman award was sponsored by Ann Campbell.
Henry Kreisel Award for Best First Book
The Henry Kreisel Award for Best First Book was introduced in 1994 to recognize Alberta authors with outstanding first books. This award ran until 2000 and was sponsored by The NeWest Institute for Western Canadian Studies (1994), Sandpiper Books (1995-6), Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe (1997-9), and Greenwoods’ Bookshoppe/Owl’s Nest Books (2000).
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. The Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize ran from 2013-2014.
Youth/Emerging Writing Contest
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta continues to cultivate connections with emerging writers and the youth writing community of our province. In 2017, 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. Katie Bickell 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.
Sponsors & Donors:
Stephan V. Benediktson
The Haynes Family - In Memory of Dr. Sterling Haynes
Marilyn and Bob Stallworthy