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
2023 Alberta Literary Awards
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta (WGA) is preparing to celebrate another successful year with the 2023 Alberta Literary Awards. Writers from across Alberta and their publishers are invited to check out and submit to this year’s award categories.
The deadline for submissions to the Alberta Literary Awards is December 31, 2022.
Submissions are evaluated on originality, creativity, and quality of writing, as well as appropriate fit within a category. The winners will be announced next spring.
The Alberta Literary Awards were created by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta in 1982 to recognize excellence in writing by Alberta authors.
Deadline: December 31, 2022.
The 2023 Alberta Literary Awards Categories
Prizes of $1500 will be awarded to published entries in the following categories:
- R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (chapter books)
- Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction
- Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
- Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
- Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama (published or produced)
- Memoir Award (nonfiction)
Prizes of $700 will be awarded to unpublished and published entries in the following categories:
- James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction (published in English or French)
- Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story (published in English or French)
- Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award (unpublished)
Award submissions can also be entered to qualify for the following city book prize:
- The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize ($5,000 prize)
- The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize (prize amount under review, but will be at least equal to last year)
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, Vivian Hansen, and Chris Wiseman.
Deadline: December 31, 2022
We cordially invite WGA members to submit nominations for the 2023 Golden Pen Award. Nominations for the 2023 award will be accepted until December 31, 2022.
Supported by Aritha van Herk.
The Edmonton Arts Prizes - 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 (WGA). 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 WGA. The winning author will receive a cash prize (prize amounts for the Edmonton Arts Prizes are currently under review, but will be at least equal to last year.). The award is sponsored by Audreys Books, the Edmonton Arts Council and the City of Edmonton. The winner will be announced and the prize awarded in the spring of 2023.
The Robert Kroetsch – City of Edmonton Book Prize recognizes Edmonton authors of books published in English or French (language limitations will be reviewed for 2023/2024) and released in the 12 months (calendar year) prior to the deadline. In this context, a book is a published work of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, or drama, written for adults or children.
Multi-author anthologies or unpublished work of any kind, including manuscripts, are ineligible.
The prize recognizes artists that regularly reside in Edmonton and its immediate surrounding counties and Indigenous communities, commonly called the “Greater Edmonton Region.”
The Edmonton Arts Prizes celebrate artists from a range of artforms and practices, recognizing their work, and investing in their continued experimentation and creation.
The prize program is coordinated by the Edmonton Arts Council, in partnership with the City of Edmonton and arts organizations to enhance Edmonton’s reputation as a hub for extraordinary creation in the arts.
Shared eligibility and assessment criteria for the Edmonton Arts Prizes:
Eligible artists/recipients must be residents of Edmonton or surrounding area, including Leduc County, Parkland County, Strathcona County, and Sturgeon counties and nearby Indigenous communities, commonly called the "Greater Edmonton Region" as defined by the Edmonton Community Foundation.
Prize recommendations in each discipline will be based on an evaluation of the artistic merits of a specific work, or collection of work, by a knowledgeable group of peer assessors.
Assessors will be charged with basing their decisions on the artwork's merits, including originality, creativity, relevance, and technical excellence. In all cases the prizes will attempt to recognize the highest standards of artistic achievement, regardless of the artist's particular mode of expression, or style within the genre.
Prizes will be awarded in the spring of 2023. Prize amounts are under review and will be at least equal to 2022 levels.
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).
The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
Deadline: December 31, 2022
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 6th Annual Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Mothers Who Write!
Because of the generosity of sponsors like Author Jeananne Kirwin, we will award three scholarships this year: 1st place $3000, 2nd place $2000, 3rd place $1000.
Our vision is to effect positive changes in our community through stories.
We are so happy to welcome back Tlicho Dene author Richard Van Camp, Nicole Harrish and Jacqueline Guest as this year’s judges!
Deadline: December 16, 2022
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 16, 2022. Winners will be announced in early 2023.
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta and Nhung Tran-Davies announced the winners of the 5th Annual Kemosa Scholarship for First Nations, Métis and Inuit Mothers Who Write:
Winners for the 5th Annual Kemosa Scholarship included:
- First Place ($3000): Lareina Abbott – Pchit – Little One
- Second Place ($2000): Amber Boyd – Spirit Bead
- Third Place($1000): Apryl Gladue –the assertion of truth in our bones (and other poems)
- Honourable Mention ($500): Sandra Lamouche – ᐊᐸᑯᓯᐢ Apakosis
- Honourable Mention ($500): Shirley Cire – Sleigh Ride (and other poems)
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.
- Pam Clark
- Jacqueline Guest
- Carol Holmes
- Brent McConnell
- Elaine Morin
- Deborah Sword
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