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Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award
Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award

This award was established in 1992 in honour of Jon Whyte, a much-respected writer, historian and community leader in Alberta. He was a poet, storyteller, journalist, curator and conservationist. A passionate master of the English language, Whyte was deeply committed to writing about, researching and advocating for the area in which he grew up – the Rockies around Banff – and its culture and natural history. He wrote or contributed to more than 20 books on the Rockies, and his poetry collection Homage, Henry Kelsey was the inaugural recipient of the WGA’s Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry.

Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award
Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction

This award was established in 1982 in honour of Wilfrid Eggleston (1901-1986).  Eggleston’s family homesteaded near Manyberries, AB in 1909. He was a teacher with the Golden Prairie School District and later attended Queen’s University and became a journalist. His career included jobs with the Toronto Daily Star and the Reuters News Agency. He headed the school of journalism at Carleton University and was awarded the Order of the Empire in 1943. In addition to his career as a journalist, Eggleston published several non-fiction works, including his memoir Literary Friends (1980).

Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry

This award was established in 1982 in honour of Stephan G. Stephansson (1853-1927) who immigrated to Alberta and homesteaded near Markerville at the age of 36. He was considered the voice of the Icelandic immigrant community and his poetry expressed the alienation and loneliness felt by many who found themselves belonging neither to their homeland nor their newly adopted country. Considered Iceland’s greatest poet since the 13th century, he was an avid reader, an ardent pacifist and a philosopher. By 1923, five volumes of his poems had been published and a sixth was published posthumously.

Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature

This award was established in 1982 in honour of children’s author Ronald Ross Annett (1895-1988). Annett is best known for his Babe and Joe series of more than 70 stories in the Saturday Evening Post. His Especially Babe stories, set in Jenner, AB, were collected into a book in 1942 and reprinted by Treefrog Press in 1978.  George Melnyk, in The Literary History of Alberta, comments that Annett’s stories dealt with “a family trying to make ends meet on a Depression farm. The stories had simple, homely dialogue and happy endings, comforting words for such uncertain times.”

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction

The James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction was established in 2010 in honour of Dr. James H. Gray (1906 – 1998) whose first book, The Winter Years was published when he was 66 years old. He then went on to write a dozen more books including Red Lights on the Prairies and Men Against the Desert, all of which profiled Western Canadian experiences and history. After 12 years as an Ottawa senior correspondent for the Winnipeg Free Press he then became the Editor of the Calgary-based Farm and Ranch Review, and later of the Western Oil Examiner. James H. Gray was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1987 and the Order of Canada in 1988.

James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story

This award was established in 1982 in honour of accomplished short story writer Howard O’Hagan (1902-1982). O’Hagan was born in Lethbridge and educated in law at McGill University. He was known as a mountain guide, and lived in Australia, England, the US, and the Alberta Rockies. He authored two novels and two books of short stories. Michael Ondaatje writes that “Howard O’Hagan’s Tay John was one of the first novels to chart important motifs that have become crucial to the work of later western writers.”

Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama

This award was established in 1985 in honour of Gwen Pharis Ringwood (1910-1984). Ringwood was born in Washington State in 1910 and moved with her family to a farm near Lethbridge in 1913. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the U of A in 1939 and was appointed the registrar of the Banff School of Fine Arts. Her first published play, Still Stands the House, published in 1939, was the most performed one-act play in Canadian theatre. Ringwood was honoured for her achievement with honourary doctorates from both the University of Lethbridge and the University of Victoria and the Governor General’s Medal for outstanding service in the development of Canadian drama.

Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
George Bugnet Award for Fiction
George Bugnet Award for Fiction

This award was established in 1982 in honour of novelist Georges Bugnet (1879-1981), who immigrated to Canada and homesteaded near Gunn, AB in 1905. Bugnet attended the Sorbonne in Paris, served in the French army and worked as an editor. He was also a botanist, researcher, poet, science fiction writer and novelist. At age 100, Bugnet was awarded a honourary doctorate from the University of Alberta.

George Bugnet Award for Fiction
Golden Pen Award
Golden Pen Award

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Golden Pen Award is presented to acknowledge the lifetime achievements of outstanding Alberta writers. Past recipients include W.O. Mitchell, Grant MacEwan, Rudy Wiebe, Myrna Kostash, Robert Kroetsch, Merna Summers, Aritha van Herk, Fred Stenson, and George Melnyk.

Golden Pen Award
The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize

The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize is awarded in honour of acclaimed Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell. The prize was established in 1996 and is administered by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. The $5000 prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, children’s literature or drama published in the preceding year.

The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
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 award was named to honour the late Robert Kroetsch. 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, nonfiction, 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.

The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative
The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative

The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative calls for submissions of feature film scripts of any genre from Alberta writers. An independent jury selects one script/screenplay to receive a workshop with an experienced story editor or screenwriter. The Writers’ Guild of Alberta administers the initiative on behalf of the Alberta Association of Motion Picture and Television Unions (AAMPTU). 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 and television.

The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative
The Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize
The Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize

Established in 2013 in memory of Calgary poet Sharon Drummond, this award recognizes adult Alberta writers who have not yet published a poetry collection. The winner receives a contract with Rubicon Press, including editorial assistance and publication of the edited chapbook.
Sharon Drummond lived in Calgary from 1976 until her death in 2005. Her 1999 chapbook, Still the Rush, was 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 in 2006.

The Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize

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.

View past shortlists and winners.

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 and Candas Jane Dorsey.

The 2018 recipient is Cecelia Frey.

Cecelia Frey is the author of seven novels, three collections of short stories, and six volumes of poetry. Her latest books are a novel, Lovers Fall Back to Earth (2018), and a collection of poems, North (2018). For many years, she instructed in writing workshops and classes, worked at editing and freelance writing and was active in the Calgary writing community where she lives with her family.

Born in northern Alberta, Cecelia grew up in Edmonton and was educated at the University of Alberta and the University of Calgary. Her novel A Raw Mix of Carelessnessand Longing was shortlisted for the WGA George Bugnet Fiction Award and she is a three-time recipient of the WGA Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction. She has also won awards for playwriting. Her work has appeared in such publications as the Globe and Mail, Westworld and Canadian Literature, numerous literary journals and anthologies, and has been broadcast on CBC Radio and the Women’s Television Network. In 2016 she began a blog, The Writing Life.

A prolific and expansively creative writer who has produced work in multiple genres, Cecelia has also long been a teacher, mentor, friend and example to many writers. “Get out into the literary community, make friends with other writers; you need each other’s support,” Frey said in a 2016 WestWordmagazine profile. One of her nominators for the Golden Pen Award put it this way: “As an aspiring writer in 1970s Calgary, she found literary community and made friends with her fellow writers. In 2017, she continues to do so. Alberta’s literary culture is the stronger for it.”

The 2018 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 2 in the Imperial Ballroom, Hyatt Regency Hotel in Calgary.

Supported by Aritha van Herk

WGA Golden Pen Award Past Recipients  

 

Deadline: Nominations are now closed

Read the 2018 guidelines here  

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!  

Click here to read the full press release

The City of Edmonton Book Prize Past Finalists  

Deadline: Now closed for submissions

Read full submission guidelines here

Visit our FAQ page here.

The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize

The City of Calgary established this prize, in honour of renowned Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell, to recognize literary achievement by Calgary authors. The $5,000 prize is awarded each year for an outstanding book published in the preceding year. If the winning book has more than one author, the prize money is divided equally among them.
 

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 LambertDarwin’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).

Read full press release

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

Deadline: Now closed for submissions

Read full submission guidelines here

Visit our FAQ page here.

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.  

Past Winners of the Alberta Screenwriters Initiative

 

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.  

Past finalists and winners  

How to enter: Submissions are now closed

Alberta Literary Awards

THE 2018 ALBERTA LITERARY AWARD WINNERSab lit awards logo

The Writers’ Guild of Alberta is pleased to announce the winners of the 2018 Alberta Literary Awards. More than 120 guests attended the 2018 Alberta Literary Awards Gala on June 2, part of the Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s 2018 provincial conference, Refining Our Narratives, held in Calgary.
 
This celebration marked the 36th 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. This year, jurors deliberated over 260 submissions to select 24 finalists in eight categories.
 
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 to read, and to advocate for the well-being of writers.

Deadline: Now closed for submissions

Read full submission guidelines here

Visit our FAQ page here

 

2018 Alberta Literary Award Winners

R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature (Sponsored by the Under the Arch Youth Foundation at The Calgary Foundation)
  • Sarah Everett (Edmonton) – Everyone We’ve Been, Knopf / Penguin Random House
 
Georges Bugnet Award for Fiction (Sponsored by the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity)
  • Deborah Willis (Calgary) – The Dark and Other Love Stories, Hamish Hamilton Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
 
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
 
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama (Sponsored by Alberta Views)
  • Karen Hines (Calgary) – Crawlspace, Coach House Books
 
Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry (Sponsored by Stephan V. Benediktson)
  • Benjamin Hertwig (Edmonton) – Slow War, McGill-Queen’s University Press
 
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction 
  • Sadia Masud (Edmonton) – “Taken Over By the West,” Glass Buffalo
 
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story (Supported by Vanna Tessier and Guy Tessier)
  • Norma Dunning (Edmonton) – “Elipsee,” University of Alberta Press
 
Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award (Supported by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta Board of Directors)
  • Cynthia Scott Wandler (Morinville) – “Things You Can’t Do With A Broken Left Arm”
 
WGA Golden Pen Award for Lifetime Achievement (Supported by Aritha van Herk)
  • Cecelia Frey  
 
Awards Background
 

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.

Past finalists and winners of the Alberta Literary Awards

History of the Alberta Literary Awards

Sponsors:

The Writers' Guild of Alberta gratefully acknowledges the supporters and sponsors of our 2018 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. 

The Youth/Emerging Writing Contest 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 Nicole Duley (Liesner) 
 
There will be no Youth/Emerging Writing Contest in 2018
 

Sponsors:

alberta_views_logo small

banff centre logo

Stephan V. Benediktson
Under the Arch Youth Foundation at The Calgary Foundation

Donors:

Vanna Tessier and Guy Tessier
Aritha van Herk 
WGA Board of Directors