Ottawa Book Awards

Celebrating Ottawa’s finest writers

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. 

2014 Awards

Finalists for the 2014 Ottawa Book Awards will be announced the week of September 22, 2014.

Awards will be presented to the winning authors on October 22, 2014 at the Shenkman Arts Centre.

2015 Application Deadline

Deadline for submission of entries is Monday, January 5, 2015 at 4 p.m. All submissions must be received by the deadline date, or postmarked on that date or earlier. Late submissions will not be accepted.

The 2014 guidelines and submission forms are currently posted for reference only.
The 2015 guidelines and submission forms will posted this fall.

Author Guidelines and Submission Form [ PDF - 52 KB ]
Publisher Guidelines and Submission Form [ PDF - 49 KB ]

Contact us

For further information contact Anik Després, Cultural Funding Officer, 613-580-2424, ext. 27208 or anik.despres@ottawa.ca

2013 Ottawa Book Awards Winners

English: Non-Fiction

Michael Petrou
Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post - 9/11 Islamic World
(Dundurn Press)

Michael Petrou Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post – 9/11 Islamic World

Is This Your First War? is a gritty and intimate journey from al-Qaeda’s backyard in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, to the front lines of the Afghan war, the living rooms of Iranian dissidents, and ethnically cleansed villages of the African Sahel. It details a world in the midst of great turmoil and tells the stories of the people changing it.

Michael Petrou, an award-winning foreign correspondent at Maclean’s Magazine, has reported from across the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. He is the author of Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Ottawa Book Award. He has a doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford.

Jury Statement:

Is This Your First War? is a harrowing journey into the heart of darkness of post-9/11 Afghanistan. In this journalistic coming-of-age story, Ottawa writer Michael Petrou has risen magnificently to the occasion.  Head, heart and spirit blend powerfully in a chronicle of a stranger in an alien land seething with ancient and modern loyalties and hatreds. Petrou's prose shimmers with small, telling moments lined with significance.

English: Fiction

Missy Marston
The Love Monster
(Esplanade Books)

 Missy Marston The Love Monster

The Love Monster is a novel about one woman’s climb out of the deep dark hole of mid-life sadness. Margaret H. Atwood has psoriasis, a boring job and a bad attitude. Her cheating husband has left her. And none of her pants fit any more. But there is hope. It comes in the form of a love-sick alien speaking in the voice of Donald Sutherland.

As explained in her National Post Afterword columns, Missy Marston loves Margaret Atwood, aliens and Donald Sutherland. Her first novel, The Love Monster, is an ode to all three. She has been called “an irreverent Canadian” by Commentary Magazine and according to Ms. Atwood, she sure has chutzpah.

Jury Statement:

In this joyous calliope of a book Missy Marston has achieved that rare thing in a first novel: a literary romp and a riveting tale that fights tough in the corners. Marston's characters stick with the reader and her audacious turn of phrase wizardry lingers on the page. A book to engage and delight, The Love Monster rewards the reader page after page with a flair that dazzles just as much as it entertains. A modern fairy tale and a zoned out fantasy in one satisfying confection.

2013 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.

Donna Naughton  The Natural History of Canadian Mammals (University of Toronto Press)

Michael Petrou  Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post – 9/11 Islamic World (Dundurn Press)

Robert C. Sibley  The Way of the Stars: Journeys on the Camino de Santiago (University of Virginia Press)

Jeffrey Simpson  Chronic Condition: Why Canada's Health-Care System Needs To Be Dragged Into The 21st Century (Penguin Group)

Liane Tanguay  Hijacking History: American Culture and the War on Terror (McGill-Queen’s University Press) 

Ottawa Book Awards: Fiction

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

Scott Fotheringham  The Rest is Silence (Goose Lane Editions)

Missy Marston  The Love Monster (Esplanade Books)

Nadine McInnis  Blood Secrets (Biblioasis)

Christine McNair  Conflict (Book Thug Publishing)

Dorothy Speak  Reconciliation (Dorothy Speak) 

(For outstanding books published in French, see the 2013 Prix du livre finalists.) 

Book Descriptions and Author Bios

Donna Naughton
The Natural History of Canadian Mammals

 Donna Naughton The Natural History of Canadian Mammals

The Natural History of Canadian Mammals is a fully illustrated, up-to-date guide to all 215 known species in Canada. It features colour images of each species, detailed descriptions of each mammal’s appearance, habitat, and behavior, and colour maps showing their full distribution across Canada, North America, and globally. Practical clues on tracking and identification help identify mammals in the wild.

A biologist at the Canadian Museum of Nature, Donna Naughton has collected, illustrated, photographed, and studied mammals for over thirty years. She has been a principal contributor to Mammals: An Explore Your World Handbook and the Handbook of Canadian Mammals series. 

 

Michael Petrou
Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post – 9/11 Islamic World

Michael Petrou Is This Your First War? Travels Through the Post – 9/11 Islamic World  

Is This Your First War? is a gritty and intimate journey from al-Qaeda’s backyard in the Tribal Areas of Pakistan, to the front lines of the Afghan war, the living rooms of Iranian dissidents, and ethnically cleansed villages of the African Sahel. It details a world in the midst of great turmoil and tells the stories of the people changing it.

Michael Petrou, an award-winning foreign correspondent at Maclean’s Magazine, has reported from across the Middle East, Africa, and Central Asia. He is the author of Renegades: Canadians in the Spanish Civil War, which was shortlisted for the 2009 Ottawa Book Award. He has a doctorate in modern history from the University of Oxford.

 

Robert C. Sibley
The Way of the Stars: Journeys on the Camino de Santiago

Robert C. Sibley The Way of the Stars: Journeys on the Camino de Santiago 

The Way of the Stars: Journeys on the Camino de Santiago recounts a month-long trek across northern Spain along an ancient Catholic pilgrimage routes. Sibley offers a personal narrative not only of the sights and sounds of the outward journey, but also the inward journey afforded by an interlude of solitude and a respite from the demands of daily life that open him to moments of unexpected self-awareness.

Robert Sibley is an award-winning Senior Writer at the Ottawa Citizen, an Adjunct Professor in political science at Carleton University, and the author of three other books. Raised in the Yukon and Alberta, he moved to Ottawa in 1986. His latest book is The Way of the 88 Temples, an account of a pilgrimage in Japan.

 

Jeffrey Simpson
Chronic Condition: Why Canada's Health-Care System Needs To Be Dragged Into The 21st Century

Jeffrey Simpson Chronic Condition: Why Canada's Health-Care System Needs To Be Dragged Into The 21st Century

Chronic Condition analyses the history of Canadian health-care, its current challenges and future prospects. The book examines the tenets of the Canadian medicare system and compares it with other public health-care systems. Chronic Condition is a call to Canadians to act more decisively to improve an under-performing and expensive system.

Jeffrey Simpson is the national affairs columnist of The Globe and Mail. He has written eight books, one of which won the Governor-General’s award for non-fiction. Chronic Condition received the 2013 Donner Prize for the best book on public policy. An officer of the Order of Canada, Simpson has been awarded seven honorary doctorates and has served on the boards of the Ottawa Public Library and the University of Ottawa.

 

Liane Tanguay  
Hijacking History: American Culture and the War on Terror

Liane Tanguay Hijacking History: American Culture and the War on Terror

Hijacking History examines the ideology supporting America’s so-called “War on Terror” through the prism of post-Cold War American popular culture. Reviewing a range of  texts including Hollywood films,  news coverage,  television series,  and  presidential speeches, the book  dissects the logic and aesthetics of these representations as well as the fears, anxieties and hopes they encode.

Liane Tanguay received her Ph.D. in English and Cultural Theory from the University of Manchester and has taught English at Lakehead and Acadia. She is currently an independent scholar and External Fellow at the York Centre for International and Security Studies.

 

Scott Fotheringham
The Rest is Silence  

Scott Fotheringham The Rest is Silence 

In the backwoods of Nova Scotia, a man slowly withdraws from the world. He builds a cabin, plants a garden. He recounts a story to new friends; a tale of youthful passions, idealism, and science. As reports trickle in of a brewing environmental catastrophe, the nature of his confession becomes clear. And the world will never be the same again.

Scott Fotheringham holds a PhD in molecular biology and genetics from Cornell University. He has co-authored numerous scientific articles on molecular genetics, and closely studied the mechanisms of recombination using genetically engineered fungi, bacteria, and fruit flies. Raised in Thornhill, Scott now lives in Ottawa.

 

Missy Marston
The Love Monster

Missy Marston The Love Monster

The Love Monster is a novel about one woman’s climb out of the deep dark hole of mid-life sadness. Margaret H. Atwood has psoriasis, a boring job and a bad attitude. Her cheating husband has left her. And none of her pants fit any more. But there is hope. It comes in the form of a love-sick alien speaking in the voice of Donald Sutherland.

As explained in her National Post Afterword columns, Missy Marston loves Margaret Atwood, aliens and Donald Sutherland. Her first novel, The Love Monster, is an ode to all three. She has been called “an irreverent Canadian” by Commentary Magazine and according to Ms. Atwood, she sure has chutzpah.

 

Nadine McInnis
Blood Secrets

Nadine McInnis Blood Secrets

Nadine McInnis’s sophomore collection is about endings and their revelations: the affair that ends a marriage, the disease that ends a life, the effect of a long-ago suicide. As her characters struggle to administer to each other in their final moments, each story becomes an autopsy, dissecting bodies for their secrets and bloodlines for the things they hide.

Nadine McInnis is the author of seven books, including Two Hemispheres, which was shortlisted for the 2008 Pat Lowther Award, the ReLit Award, the People’s Choice Award and the Lampman-Scott Award. Her other books include First Fire /ce feu qui devoreQuicksilver, Hand to Hand, Poetics of DesireThe Litmus Body and Shaking the Dreamland Tree

 

Christine McNair
Conflict

Christine McNair Conflict

Conflict interweaves ghosts, bad communication, the uncanny and the archival, to create a collection of poems that breaks down remembrance into abandoned historic markers, jet fuel, keening, or teeth. What you are given (this is a gift) is an insistent refusal to silence or shift. In exchange, the reader faces the impossibility of erasure and a gritty resistance.

Christine McNair’s work has been published in sundry journals. Her first collection of poetry Conflict was published by BookThug in 2012. She was shortlisted for the 2011 Robert Kroetsch Award for Innovative Poetry. Recent chapbooks include notes from a cartywheel (AngelHousePress, 2012) and pleasantries and other misdemeanours (Apt9, 2013). She works as a book conservator in Ottawa. 

 

Dorothy Speak
Reconciliation

Dorothy Speak Reconciliation

In Reconciliation, fifteen stories about risk-taking women who break familial, societal and sexual stereotypes, Dorothy Speak lays bare the human heart. The stories shimmer with humour, irony and compassion as families, marriages and friendships are placed under pressures that bring intimate relationships to the point of ruin. Yet the women of her stories emerge from these rebellions stronger, happier and with greater self-knowledge.

Dorothy Speak has published the short story collections Object of Your Love and The Counsel of the Moon, and a novel, The Wife Tree.  Speak grew up in the small southern Ontario city of Woodstock and has lived in Ottawa for nearly forty years.