Ottawa Book Awards

Celebrating Ottawa’s finest writers

About the Ottawa Book Awards

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. 

For over 32 years, the Ottawa Book Awards / Le Prix du livre d’Ottawa have paid tribute to our city’s outstanding writers by shining the spotlight on the top English and French books published in the previous year. Join us in celebrating the talent and creativity of our authors past and present, and applaud their remarkable achievements on the world’s literary stage.

Submission Deadline

Deadline for submission of entries was Monday, January 9, 2017 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.

Submission Forms

Ottawa Book Awards Program Guidelines

Author Submission Form

Publisher Submission Form

These PDF forms are optimized for Internet Explorer (version 8 or higher) and Adobe Reader (version 8 or higher). If you are using a different browser you may need to disable your browser’s PDF viewer.  iOS device users may require additional software in order to use PDF forms. 

Announcement of Finalists

The 2017 Ottawa Book Awards Finalists will be announced in late September.

View the 2016 Ottawa Book Awards Finalists.

Public Service Announcement: City announces 2016 Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawa finalists

Awards Ceremony

Awards will be presented to the winning authors on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, at 7 p.m. at Ottawa City Hall, Jean-Pigott Place, 110 Laurier Ave W. The event is open to the public. We hope that you will be able to join us for this celebration of literary excellence. 

The Ottawa Book Award and the Prix du livre d’Ottawa will be presented. Four $7,500 prizes will be awarded to the winning authors in the categories of English fiction, English non-fiction and French Fiction, and French Non-Fiction. The Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry will also be presented. This award is administered by Arc Poetry Magazine, and the winner will receive a $1,500 prize for best book of poetry in the region. 

A special thank you to our partners at the Ottawa Public Library / Bibliothèque publique d'OttawaOttawa International Writers Festival, L'Association des auteures et auteurs de l'Ontario français and ARC Poetry Magazine for their collaboration in this year's event.

Contact Us

Program Inquiries

For specific information on the submission process, or to discuss eligibility, contact:

Marlène Barré
613-580-2424 ext. 28517

General inquiries

For general information or to request submission forms, contact:

Infoculture
613-580-2424 ext. 29404

Ottawa Book Awards Winners

2016 Winner: Fiction

Nadine McInnis
Delirium for Solo Harp
(Buschek Books)

 Delirium for Solo Harp

How 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 of 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.

Jury Statement:

"Through sensuous, detail-rich language, teeming with psychological insights, McInnis has taken the last days of her father’s life and built an extraordinary suite of poems. Delirium for Solo Harp could have been a clichéd exploration of loss, but this poet has steered around simplistic deathbed scenes to give us moments charged with a visceral exactitude. In this intricately unified and deeply moving collection, what emerges is a profound meditation on courage, mortality, and human frailty, interwoven with an extended imagery of the poet as harpist. She brings an unstinting eye and an excellent ear to our shared mortality and the complexities of letting go."

Jury members: Saleema Nawaz, Peter Richardson, Cynthia Sugars

2016 Winner: Non-fiction

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

 Canadians in the Second World War

Fight 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 instalment 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.

Jury Statement:

"A massive, deeply researched, wide-ranging, and brilliantly told story of the Canadian participation in the second half of the Second World War, that deserves to be read by all Canadians who want to know how the experience of war affected our forebears and shaped our national character. It combines detailed military history with personal accounts of what it was like to be in the battle, on the airplane, or on the ship; and it poignantly describes the heroism, endurance, tragedy, and horror the war brought to the men and women who fought in it, their families, and the civilians caught in the maelstrom. The fluent writing and compelling narrative balance judicious assessments of battles, commanders, strategies, and achievements. Cook’s wide-ranging account is the work of a master at the top of his game."

Jury members: Alan Bowker, Jo-Anne McCutcheon, Wayne Spear

Ottawa Book Awards Finalists

2016 Finalists: 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 jacket

Children 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 jacket

Fight 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 instalment 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 jacket

O. 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 jacket

From 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 jacket

Former 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.

2016 Finalists: 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 jacket

The 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 jacket

Welcome 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 jacket

Lightness, 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 jacket

Starting 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 jacket

How 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.)

 

Ottawa Book Award: Past Winners 

Year

Ottawa Book Award

Prix du livre d’Ottawa

2015        
Fiction
Scott Randall, And to Say Hello Blaise Ndala, J’irai danser sur la tombe de Senghor

2015
Non-
Fiction

Heather Menzies, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good

N/A

2014        
Fiction

David O'Meara, A Pretty Sight

N/A

2014
Non-
Fiction

Paul Wells, The Longer I'm Prime Minister: Stephen Harper and Canada, 2006 -

Philippe Bernier Arcand, La dérive populiste

2013        
Fiction

Missy Marston, The Love Monster

Marie-Josée Martin, Un jour, ils entendront mes silences

2013
Non-
Fiction

Michael Petrou, Is This Your First War? Travels through the Post - 9/11 Islamic World

N/A

2012
Fiction

Jamieson Findlay, The Summer of Permanent Wants

Estelle Beauchamp, Un souffle venu de loin

2012
Non-
Fiction

Ruth B. Phillips, Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums

 N/A

2011
Fiction

Gabriella Goliger, Girl Unwrapped

Lucie Joubert, L’envers du landau

2011
Non-
Fiction

Eric Enno Tamm, The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds

 N/A

2010
Fiction

Craig Poile, True Concessions

Claire Rochon, Fragments de Sifnos 

2010
Non-
Fiction

Andrew Horrall, Bringing Art to Life: a Biography of Alan Jarvis

 N/A

2009
Fiction

Andrew Steinmetz, Eva’s Threepenny Theatre

Margaret Michèle Cook, Chronos à sa table de travail

2009
Non-
Fiction

Kerry Pither, Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror

Maurice Henrie, Esprit de sel

2008 Fiction

Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air

Andrée Christensen, 
Depuis toujours, j’entendais la mer

2008 Non-Fiction

Tim Cook, At the Sharp End: Canadians Fighting the Great War 1914-1916

 N/A

2007
Fiction

Janet Lunn, A Rebel’s Daughter

Daniel Poliquin, La Kermesse

2007
Non-Fiction

Charlotte Gray, Reluctant Genius: The Passionate Life and Inventive Mind of Alexander Graham Bell

 N/A

2006
Fiction

John-James Ford, Bonk on the Head

John Geddes, The Sundog Season(presented as a tie)

Gilles Lacombe, Trafiquante de lumière

2006
Non-Fiction

Heather Menzies, NO TIME: Stress and the Crisis of Modern Life

Réjean Robidoux, D’éloge et de critique

2005
Non-Fiction

Valerie Knowles, From Telegrapher to Titan: The Life of William C. Van Horne

 N/A

2005
Fiction

Frances Itani, Poached Egg on Toast

Maurice Henrie, Les roses et le verglas

Michel Thérien, L’aridité des fleuves

2004
Non-Fiction

Madelaine Drohan, Making A Killing: How And Why Corporations Use Armed Force To Do Business

Mila Younes, Ma mère, ma fille, ma sœur

2004
Fiction

Elizabeth Hay, Garbo Laughs

Maurice Henrie, Mémoire Vive

2003
Fiction

Brian Doyle, Mary Ann Alice

Jean Mohsen Fahmy, Ibn Kaldoun :l'Honneur et la Disgrâce

Nancy Vickers, La Petite Vieille aux poupées

2002
Non-Fiction

Anna Heilman, Never Far Away

Françoise Lepage, Histoire de la littérature pour la jeunesse

2001
Fiction

Alan Cumyn, Burridge Unbound

Nicole Champeau, Dans les pas de la louve

Michèle Matteau, Quatuor pour cordes sensibles

2000
Non-Fiction

Roy MacGregor, A Life in the Bush: Lessons From My Father

Patricia Smart, Les femmes du Refus Global

1999
Fiction

Alan Cumyn, Man of Bone

Pierre Raphaël Pelletier, Il faut crier l’injure

1998
Non-Fiction

Dr. Isaac Vogelfanger, Red Tempest

René Dionne, Histoire de la Littérature Franco-Ontarienne des origines à nos jours

1997
Fiction

Patrick Kavanagh, Gaff Topsails

Maurice Henrie, Le Balcon dans le ciel

1996
Non-Fiction

Clyde Sanger, Malcolm MacDonald: Bringing an End to Empire

Dr. Elisabeth J. Lacelle,L’incontournable échange. Conversations oecuméniques et pluridisciplinaires

1995
Fiction

John Barton, Notes Towards a Family Tree

Frances Itani, Man Without Face

Andrée Christensen, Noces d’ailleurs

1994
Non-Fiction

Penelope Williams, That Other Place: A Personal Account of Breast Cancer

Gilberte Paquette, Dans le sillage d’Élizabeth Bruyère

1993
Fiction

Rita Donovan, Daisy Circus

Nadine McInnis, The Litmus Body

Maurice Henrie, Le Pont sur le temps

Gabrielle Poulin, Petites Fugues pour une saison sèche

1992
Non-Fiction

John Sawatsky, Mulroney: The Politics of Ambition

 N/A

1991
Fiction

Rita Donovan, Dark Jewels

Daniel Poliquin, Visions de Jude

1990
Non-Fiction

Roy MacGregor, Chief: The Fearless Vision of Billy Diamond

 N/A

1989
Fiction

 N/A

Maurice Henrie, La chambre à mourir

1988
Non-Fiction

Patricia Morley, Kurelek: A Biography

 N/A

1987
Fiction

John Metcalf, Adult Entertainment

 N/A

1986
Non-Fiction

Joan Finnigan, Legacies, Legends and Lies

Jean Bruce, Back the Attack! : Canadian Women During the Second World War

 N/A