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 was 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.
Deadline: Nominations are now closed
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.
2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize Shortlist:
- Billy-Ray Belcourt, This Wound is a World (Frontenac House)
- Norma Dunning, Annie Muktuk and other stories (University of Alberta Press)
- Lisa Martin, Believing is not the same as Being Saved (University of Alberta Press)
The winner of the 2018 Robert Kroetsch City of Book Prize will be recognized at an awards presentation in June of this year.
Please join us on Sunday, May 6th, 2 pm at Audreys Books for readings by this year’s shortlisted authors!
Deadline: Now closed for submissions
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:
- Taylor Lambert, Darwin’s Moving, (NeWest Press)
- Clem & Olivier Martini, The Unravelling, (Freehand Books)
- Deborah Willis, The Dark and Other Love Stories, (Hamish Hamilton)
The recipient of The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize will be recognized at the Calgary Awards presentation on June 13, 2018. The Calgary Awards will be live streamed on Calgary.ca.
The winner of the 2016 City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize was: Joan Crate, Black Apple (Simon & Schuster).
Deadline: Now closed for submissions
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 excited to announce the finalists for the 2018 Alberta Literary Awards. Each year, the Alberta Literary Awards recognize and celebrate the highest standards of literary excellence from Alberta authors.
Winners will be announced and awards presented at the Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 2, 2018 in the Imperial Ballroom of the Hyatt Regency Hotel in downtown Calgary.
Submissions are evaluated on originality, creativity, and quality of writing, as well as appropriate fit within a category. The awards presentation will take place in conjunction with the 2018 WGA Conference.
Deadline: Now closed for submissions
R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Chapter Books)
- Sarah Everett (Edmonton) – Everyone We’ve Been, Knopf / Penguin Random House
- Alex Lyttle (Calgary) – From Ant to Eagle, Central Avenue Publishing
- Lorna Schultz Nicholson (Edmonton) – Bent Not Broken: Madeline & Justin, Clockwise Press
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction
- Sid Marty (Lundbreck) – “How I Did Not Try to Kill Andrew Suknaski,” Alberta Views
- Sadia Masud (Edmonton) – “Taken Over By the West,” Glass Buffalo
- Roberta Rees (Calgary) – “Evie’s Massage Parlour,” Inanna Publications and Education Inc.
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story
- Norma Dunning (Edmonton) – “Elipsee,” University of Alberta Press
- Igpy Kin (Calgary) – “Not Even a Mouse,” Loft on Eighth
- Deborah Willis (Calgary) – “The Last One to Leave,” Hamish Hamilton Canada / Penguin Random House
Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
- Benjamin Hertwig (Edmonton) – Slow War, McGill-Queen’s University Press
- Lisa Martin (Edmonton) – Believing is not the same as Being Saved, University of Alberta Press
- Joshua Whitehead (Calgary) – full-metal indiqueer, Talonbooks
Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award
- Jennifer Delisle (Edmonton) – “Passage”
- Alycia Pirmohamed (Calgary) – “How to Be a Young Muslim Girl in Post-9/11 Canada”
- Cynthia Scott Wandler (Morinville) – “Things You Can’t Do With a Broken Left Arm”
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
- Geoffrey Simon Brown (Calgary) – The Circle
- Karen Hines (Calgary) – Crawlspace
- Nicole Moeller (Edmonton) – The Preacher, The Princess, and a Crow
Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
- Stephen Bown (Canmore) – Island of the Blue Foxes: Disaster and Triumph on Bering’s Great Voyage to Alaska, Douglas & McIntyre
- Bernadette McDonald (Banff) – Art of Freedom: The Life and Climbs of Voytek Kurtyka, Rocky Mountain Books
- Chris Turner (Calgary) – The Patch: The People, Pipelines, and Politics of the Oil Sands, Simon and Schuster Canada
Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
- Kimmy Beach (Red Deer) – Nuala: A Fable, University of Alberta Press
- Suzette Mayr (Calgary) – Dr. Edith Vane and the Hares of Crawley Hall, Coach House Books
- Deborah Willis (Calgary) – The Dark and Other Love Stories, Hamish Hamilton Canada / Penguin Random House
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.