The Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawa recognize the top English and French books published in the previous year. Both awards have separate categories for fiction and non-fiction. All shortlisted finalists receive $1,000 and each winner receives a prize of $7,500. 

2016 Ottawa Book Awards Finalists

Ottawa Book Awards: Non-fiction

Awarded for outstanding published works of non-fiction including biographies, memoirs, cultural histories, literary journalism and essays.

Charlie Angus

Children of the Broken Treaty

Angus - Children of the Broken Treaty - book jacketChildren of the Broken Treaty exposes a system of apartheid in Canada that led to the largest youth-driven human rights movement in the country’s history. Based on extensive documentation assembled from Freedom of Information requests, Angus provides chilling insight into how Canada--through breaches of treaties, broken promises, and callous neglect--deliberately denied First Nations children their basic human rights.

Charlie Angus is an elected Member of Parliament for Timmins-James Bay. He has gained a national reputation for his fight for First Nation rights. The author of six books, including Unlikely Radicals, he is also the front man of the band Grievous Angels. He lives with his wife of 30 years. They have three children.



Tim Cook

Fight to the Finish: Canadians in the Second World War, 1944-1945

Cook - Fight to the Finish - book jacketFight to the Finish is a memorable account of Canadians in World War II who fought abroad and of the home front that was changed forever. In this second installment of his two-volume chronicle, Cook combines an extraordinary grasp of military strategy with a deep empathy for the soldiers on the ground, at sea and in the air.

Tim Cook is a military historian at the Canadian War Museum and an adjunct professor at Carleton University. He has won the J.W. Dafoe Prize, the Charles Taylor Prize, the Pierre Berton Award, and was recently inducted into the Order of Canada.
He lives in Ottawa with his family.



Norman Hillmer

O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition

Hillmer - OD Skelton - book jacketO. D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition is the biography of a legendary Queen’s University professor who came to dominate the public service like no one before or since - a towering adviser to prime ministers; confidante of William Lyon Mackenzie King; builder of the modern Department of External Affairs; and a lonely campaigner for Canada’s independence from Great Britain.

Norman Hillmer teaches history and international affairs at Carleton University. Educated at the University of Toronto and Cambridge, he was for many years the Department of National Defence’s Senior Historian. In histeaching and writing, he is interested in modern Canadian modern history and especially Canada’s place in the world.


Roy MacGregor

Canoe Country: The Making of Canada

MacGregor - Canoe Country - book jacketFrom the earliest explorers on the Columbia River in BC to a doomed expedition of voyageurs up the Nile to rescue Khartoum; from the author’s family roots deep in the Algonquin wilderness to modern families who have canoed across the country (kids and dogs included): Canoe Country is a celebration of the essential and enduring love affair Canadians have with the canoe.

Roy MacGregor is an acclaimed and bestselling author of nonfiction, novels, and the popular Screech Owls mystery series for young readers. A longtime columnist at The Globe and Mail, MacGregor’s journalism has garnered four National Magazine Awards and eight National Newspaper Award nominations. He is an Officer of the Order of Canada.


Dan Rubinstein

Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act

Rubinstein - Born to Walk - book jacketFormer managing editor of Canadian Geographic, Dan Rubinstein goes hiking with some of the world’s visionaries on walking, and rediscovers paths to our physical, mental, spiritual, social, economic, and environmental health. Combining fascinating reportage, eye-opening research and Rubinstein’s own discoveries, Born to Walk explores how far this ancient habit can take us, how much repair is within range and guarantees that you’ll never again take walking for granted.

Dan Rubinstein is a National Magazine Award–winning writer and editor. He contributes to publications such as The Walrus, the Globe and Mail, The Economist and enRoute, and has edited magazines in Ontario and Alberta. These days, he does most of his walking in Ottawa.


Ottawa Book Awards: Fiction

Awarded for outstanding published works of fiction including novels, short stories, children’s literature and poetry.


Nina Berkhout

The Gallery of Lost Species

Berkhout - The Gallery of Lost Species - book jacketThe Gallery of Lost Species, by award-winning poet Nina Berkhout, wonderfully combines the splendor of storytelling with the beauty of poetry to create a touching portrait of sisterhood, unrequited love, and the search for solace in unexpected places—in works of art, people and animals that the world has forgotten.

Nina Berkhout is the author of five poetry collections, most recently Elseworlds, which won the 2013 Archibald Lampman Award. Originally from Calgary, Alberta, she now resides in Ottawa, Ontario, where she works at the National Gallery of Canada. The Gallery of Lost Species is her first novel.



Rhonda Douglas

Welcome to the Circus

Douglas - Welcome to the Circus - book jacketWelcome to the Circus, where every moment is a tightrope act, balancing on the edge of destruction. Rhonda Douglas’ daring and dangerous collection highlights the courageous, acrobatic circus acts we all learn to perform. The ten strikingly original stories explore love and escape—how we escape to love, escape through love, and escape ourselves and hold on to love.

Rhonda Douglas is the author of The Cassandra Poems (Signature Editions) and Welcome to the Circus. She is a graduate of the UBC MFA in Creative Writing Program and has won first prize in fiction competitions from Room Magazine and Prairie Fire. Originally from Newfoundland, Rhonda now lives in Ottawa.



Mark Frutkin

Hermit Thrush

Frutkin - Hermit Thrush - book jacketLightness, clarity, freshness, simplicity – all can be used to describe this latest collection of poems by Mark Frutkin. Throughout, the poet shines his light on subjects as diverse as the cathedral of Chartres, ancient Chinese poets, the art of listening, and tiny, black beetles that devour books. Poems as thin and sharp as a blade.

Mark Frutkin has published fourteen books of fiction, poetry and non-fiction in Canada, the U.S., Russia, Poland, Turkey and South Korea. His novel, Fabrizio’s Return (Knopf, 2006), won the Trillium and Sunburst Awards and was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize. Hermit Thrush is his third collection of poetry.



Elizabeth Hay

His Whole Life

Hay - His Whole Life - book jacketStarting with something as simple as a boy who wants a dog, His Whole Life takes us into a richly intimate world where everything that matters to him is at risk: family, nature, home. What unfolds is a completely enveloping story that spans a few pivotal years of his youth. Vintage Elizabeth Hay at the height of her powers.

Elizabeth Hay is the author of the #1 nationally bestselling novel Alone in the Classroom, the Scotiabank Giller Prize-winning novel Late Nights On Air, as well as three other highly acclaimed works of fiction, A Student of Weather, Garbo Laughs, and Small Change. She lives in Ottawa.



Nadine McInnis

Delirium for Solo Harp

McInnis - Delirium for Solo Harp - book jacketHow do we accompany someone we love through the process of dying? This is the question explored in this work, in which the harp is a stand-in for the visceral aspects of being human. In these unflinching poems about the final days of her father’s life, Nadine McInnis accompanies him, tuned and attuned to the music of memory and of mourning.

Nadine McInnis is the author is nine books of poetry, short fiction and literary criticism. She is a past winner of the Ottawa Book Award and has been shortlisted for many literary prizes, including the international Frank O’Connor Short Story Award, the Pat Lowther Award and the ReLit Award. She teaches writing in the Professional Writing program at Algonquin College.


(For outstanding books published in French, see the 2016 Prix du livre finalists.)

Winners will be announced during the 2016 Ottawa Book Awards ceremony which will take place on Wednesday, October 19, 2016 at Ottawa City Hall, Jean Pigott Place.

Finalists for the 2016 Ottawa Book Awards were announced the week of September 19, 2016.

Ottawa Book Awards: Non-fiction

Awarded for outstanding published works of non-fiction including biographies, memoirs, cultural histories, literary journalism and essays.

Charlie Angus, Children of the Broken Treaty, (University of Regina Press)

Tim Cook, Fight to the Finish: Canadians in the Second World War, 1944-1945, (Allen Lane Canada (Penguin Canada))

Norman Hillmer, O.D. Skelton: A Portrait of Canadian Ambition, (University of Toronto Press)

Roy MacGregor, Canoe Country: The Making of Canada, (Penguin Random House of Canada)

Dan Rubinstein, Born to Walk: The Transformative Power of a Pedestrian Act, (ECW Press)

Ottawa Book Awards: Fiction

Awarded for outstanding published works of fiction including novels, short stories, children’s literature and poetry. 

Nina Berkhout, The Gallery of Lost Species,(House of Anansi Press)

Rhonda Douglas, Welcome to the Circus, (Freehand Books)

Mark Frutkin, Hermit Thrush, (Quattro Books)

Elizabeth Hay, His Whole Life, (McClelland & Stewart)

Nadine McInnis, Delirium for Solo Harp, (Buschek Books)

(For outstanding books published in French, see the 2016 Prix du livre finalists.)