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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. 

Since 1985, 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 is Monday, January 8, 2018 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

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Submission Procedure

A total of four copies of each book must be submitted to:

City of Ottawa
Ottawa Book Awards
Cultural Funding Support Section
110 Laurier Avenue West (01-49)
Ottawa, ON K1P 1J1

Please note that books will not be returned.

All authors are required to submit a signed submission form attesting to the fact that they meet the program’s eligibility and residency criteria.  In cases where books are submitted by the publisher, the author is required to mail the form under separate cover to the address above.

Announcement of Finalists

The 2017 Ottawa Book Awards Finalists were announced on September 18, 2017.

View the 2017 Ottawa Book Awards Finalists.

Public Service Announcement: City announces 2017 Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawa finalists

Awards Ceremony

Awards were 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 Ottawa Book Award and the Prix du livre d’Ottawa were presented. Three $7,500 prizes were awarded to the winning authors in the categories of English fiction, English non-fiction and French Fiction. Due to an insufficient number of entries, there was no award in the category of French Non-Fiction in 2017. Any submissions to this category will be forwarded to the following year’s competition.

The Archibald Lampman Award for Poetry was also presented. This award is administered by Arc Poetry Magazine, and the winner received 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:

613-580-2424 ext. 29404

Ottawa Book Awards Winners

2017 Ottawa Book Award Winners

The following winners of the 2017 Ottawa Book Awards were announced during an awards ceremony on Wednesday, October 18, 2017 at Ottawa City Hall, Jean Pigott Place.

News Release: City announces Ottawa Book Award and Prix du livre d’Ottawa recipients

English Fiction

The Museum at the End of the World


The Museum at the End of the World

Legendary Canadian writer and editor John Metcalf is back—in full comic force—with a linked collection of stories and novellas that span the life of writer Robert Forde. Playing with various forms of comedy, Metcalf paints a portrait of 20th century literary life with levity, satire, and unsuspecting moments of emotional depth.

John Metcalf was for 17 years the editor for the Porcupine’s Quill Press and for the last 12 years has been fiction editor for Biblioasis. His last fiction collection, Adult Entertainment, was a New York Times Notable Book. New from Biblioasis is The Museum at the End of the World.

Jury Statement: 
"In John Metcalf’s tour de force collection, the reader is in the company of Robert Forde, the at times insufferable, at times poignant protagonist of these linked stories. The writing employs satire and brilliant wordplay to present a worldview embraced, observed, and ultimately lost. The Museum at the End of the World speaks to the existential question of permanence, and to the individual’s place in a shifting world."

Jury members: Rita Donovan, Kate Heartfield, David O'Meara

English Non-Fiction

The Promise of Canada: 150 Years - People and Ideas that Have Shaped our Country

(Simon & Schuster Canada)

The Promise of Canada

The Promise of Canada is a fresh take on our history that offers fascinating insights into how we have matured and yet how—150 years after Confederation and beyond—we are still a people in progress. Charlotte Gray makes history come alive as she opens doors into our past, our present and our future, inspiring and challenging readers to envision the Canada they want to live in.

Charlotte Gray, one of Canada’s pre-eminent biographers and historians, has won many awards for her work, including the prestigious Pierre Berton Award, the Edna Staebler Award, the Ottawa Book Award, the Toronto Book Award, and the CAA Birks Family Foundation Award. Gray is a Member of the Order of Canada and was a panellist on the 2013 edition of CBC Radio’s Canada Reads. She lives in Ottawa.

Jury Statement:
"Charlotte Gray’s approach to a definition of Canada is both surprising and surprisingly familiar. By choosing nine Canadians to profile, some, like Tommy Douglas, obvious choices, others, like Harold Innis, more obvious in hindsight -- she arrives at a sweeping, multi-faceted mosaic that seems exactly right. Brilliantly illustrated, beautifully written, this is more than a celebration of Canada’s 150th: it’s a book to be read and savoured for a long time to come."

Jury members: Wayne Grady, Alan Morantz, Patricia Smart

Ottawa Book Awards Finalists

Titles by 2017 Ottawa Book Award finalists are available at the Ottawa Public Library.

2017 Finalists: Fiction

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

View video: 2017 Ottawa Book Awards finalists: English Fiction

Peggy Blair

Umbrella Man

Umbrella Man

When Mama Loa, a witch doctor, tells Inspector Ramirez that people in the sky are going to die, he thinks she’s crazy. After all, there hasn’t been a violent death in Havana in months. But things quickly change when a Russian is murdered, execution-style, on the Malecón and three flight crew members die in suspicious circumstances. When Russian intelligence officer Slava Kadun arrives in Havana warning that a CIA hitman has plans to assassinate Raúl Castro, Ramirez starts to wonder if the deaths are connected. With the political future of Cuba at stake, he has only hours to stop a cold-blooded killer.

Peggy Blair was a lawyer for more than thirty years. Most of her legal career was spent in Aboriginal law. She is the author of the award-winning and critically acclaimed Inspector Ramirez mysteries The Beggar’s Opera, The Poisoned Pawn, and Hungry Ghosts. She lives in Ottawa.

Nadia Bozak

Thirteen Shells

Thirteen Shells

Told in the tradition of Richard Linklater’s Boyhood and Alice Munro’s Lives of Girls and Women, Thirteen Shells is a novel-in-stories about a young girl coming of age in the 1980s.  Narrated from the perspective of Shell, the only child of bohemian artisans determined to live off their handicrafts and uphold a left-wing lifestyle. Shell quietly watches her parents’ loveless marriage fall apart and learns to survive divorce, weight gain, heartache, and first love.

Nadia Bozak is the author of the novels Orphan Love and El Niño, the first two parts of her Border Trilogy. She has also written a book of film theory, The Cinematic Footprint: Lights, Camera, Natural Resources. She is currently Assistant Professor of English at Carleton University, where she teaches creative writing.

Faizal Deen

The Greatest Films

The Greatest Films

This poem addresses the imaginations of cultural hybridity as they are formed through passages between real and imagined homelands and host lands--Guyana, Canada, and India. Employing disjunctive poetic techniques that exteriorize the personal and public histories of the Indo-Guyanese Canadian diaspora, The Greatest Films refashions and revivifies these improvisational sources into a collage of repeating lines of verse that pull readers back-and-forth.

Faizal Deen was born in Georgetown, Guyana in 1968 and arrived in Canada in 1977. In 2000 he published what became Guyana's first LGBTQ poetry collection, Land Without Chocolate, a Memoir. He lives in Ottawa and is presently working on a new book of poems and an experimental novel.

Katherine Leyton

All the Gold Hurts My Mouth

All the Gold Hurts My Mouth

Katherine Leyton’s fresh and vibrant debut collection takes on the sexual politics of the twenty-first century, boldly holding up a mirror to the male gaze and interrogating the nature of images and illusions. And yet, for all its unflinching and raw lyricism, the poetry of All the Gold Hurts My Mouth is warm and searching, full of humour and hope.

Katherine Leyton was the inaugural Writer-in-Residence at the Al & Eurithe Purdy A-Frame (Summer 2014). Her poetry and non-fiction have appeared in numerous publications, including the Malahat Review, Hazlitt, the Globe and Mail, and the Edinburgh Review. She is the founder of the highly unorthodox video poetry blog,


2017 Finalists: Non-fiction

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

View video: 2017 Ottawa Book Awards finalists: English Non-Fiction

Kevin Burns

Henri Nouwen: His Life and Spirit

Henri Nouwen: His Life and Spirit

This is a biography of Henri Nouwen, the celebrated writer. A Dutch-born psychologist, ordained priest, and successful academic, Nouwen was a wounded, restless soul. Encouraged by Jean Vanier, Nouwen moved to Canada to work in the L’Arche community in Richmond Hill, Ontario. A decade of intense creative renewal resulted. Since his death in 1996, Nouwen’s readership continues to grow. Why?

Kevin Burns is an Ottawa-based writer, editor, and documentarian. His print and broadcast work focuses on spirituality, culture, and biography. His 2013 CBC Ideas series on Henri Nouwen received the Gold Medal at the New York Festivals. He is a member of Editors Canada and the Writers’ Union of Canada.

Deborah Gorham

Marion Dewar: A Life of Action

Marion Dewar: A Life of Action

A beloved mayor, Marion Dewar shaped the landscape of Canada's capital city and was a role-model for social activists and aspiring female politicians. Her work on behalf of refugees gives her accomplishments special resonance today. Women's history scholar Deborah Gorham shows us a woman who acted when it counted most and whose legacy is a wonderful example of public life.

Deborah Gorham taught History and Women's Studies at Carleton University for forty years, including setting up, planning and teaching the first women’s history course there – one of the first such courses in North America. She is the author of Vera Brittain: A Feminist Life, and others. Deborah lives in Ottawa.

Nathan M. Greenfield

The Reckoning: Canadian Prisoners of War in the Great War

The Reckoning

In The Reckoning bestselling author and Governor General’s Award–nominee Nathan M. Greenfield explores life and death in German POW camps, as well as the attempts to run for freedom. These are the forgotten stories of our soldiers at war and in the camps, and of how they never gave up hope of making it out alive.

Nathan M. Greenfield, PhD, is the Canadian correspondent for TES and is a contributor to Maclean’s, Canadian Geographic and TLS. He is the author of The Damned, Baptism of Fire, The Battle of the St. Lawrence and The Forgotten. Greenfield lives in Ottawa.

D. Peter MacLeod

Backs to the Wall: The Battle of Ste-Foy and the Conquest of Canada

Backs to the Wall

The Battle of Sainte-Foy was less a battle for territory than a struggle for survival between two equally desperate adversaries. MacLeod presents this historical event in riveting detail, from the preparation and day-by-day actions during the engagement to the compelling siege of Quebec by land and ship. Backs to the Wall is an accessible and engaging account of an important episode in Canadian history.

D. Peter MacLeod is the pre-Confederation historian at the Canadian War Museum and currently works as English language style editor for the Canadian History Hall at the Canadian Museum of History. His previous books include The Canadian Iroquois and the Seven Years’ War and Northern Armageddon. He lives in Ottawa.

(For outstanding books published in French, see the 2017 Prix du livre finalists.)

Ottawa Book Award: Past Winners 


Ottawa Book Award


Ottawa Book Awards


Prix du livre d'Ottawa


Prix du livre d’Ottawa


2017 John Metcalf, The Museum at the End of the World Charlotte Gray, The Promise of Canada: 150 Years - People and Ideas that Have Shaped our Country Andrée Christensen, Épines d'encre N/A
2016 Nadine McInnis, Delirium for Solo Harp Tim Cook, Fight to the Finish: Canadians in the Second World War, 1944-1945 Pierre-Luc Landry, Les corps extraterrestres Patricia Smart, De Marie de l'Incarnation à Nelly Arcan
2015 Scott Randall, And to Say Hello Heather Menzies, Reclaiming the Commons for the Common Good Blaise Ndala, J’irai danser sur la tombe de Senghor N/A


David O'Meara, A Pretty Sight

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

Philippe Bernier Arcand, La dérive populiste


Missy Marston, The Love Monster

Michael Petrou, Is This Your First War? Travels through the Post - 9/11 Islamic World Marie-Josée Martin, Un jour, ils entendront mes silences



Jamieson Findlay, The Summer of Permanent Wants

Ruth B. Phillips, Museum Pieces: Toward the Indigenization of Canadian Museums Estelle Beauchamp, Un souffle venu de loin



Gabriella Goliger, Girl Unwrapped

Eric Enno Tamm, The Horse that Leaps Through Clouds


Lucie Joubert, L’envers du landau


Craig Poile, True Concessions

Andrew Horrall, Bringing Art to Life: a Biography of Alan Jarvis Claire Rochon, Fragments de Sifnos 



Andrew Steinmetz, Eva’s Threepenny Theatre

Kerry Pither, Dark Days: The Story of Four Canadians Tortured in the Name of Fighting Terror Margaret Michèle Cook, Chronos à sa table de travail

Maurice Henrie, Esprit de sel


Elizabeth Hay, Late Nights on Air

Tim Cook, At the Sharp End: Canadians Fighting the Great War 1914-1916 Andrée Christensen, Depuis toujours, j’entendais la mer



Janet Lunn, A Rebel’s Daughter

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



John-James Ford, Bonk on the Head

John Geddes, The Sundog Season

Heather Menzies, NO TIME: Stress and the Crisis of Modern Life Gilles Lacombe, Trafiquante de lumière

Réjean Robidoux, D’éloge et de critique


Frances Itani, Poached Egg on Toast

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

Maurice Henrie, Les roses et le verglas

Michel Thérien, L’aridité des fleuves



Elizabeth Hay, Garbo Laughs

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

Maurice Henrie, Mémoire Vive

Mila Younes, Ma mère, ma fille, ma sœur


Brian Doyle, Mary Ann Alice


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

Nancy Vickers, La Petite Vieille aux poupées




Anna Heilman, Never Far Away  

Françoise Lepage, Histoire de la littérature pour la jeunesse


Alan Cumyn, Burridge Unbound


Nicole Champeau, Dans les pas de la louve

Michèle Matteau, Quatuor pour cordes sensibles




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

Patricia Smart, Les femmes du Refus Global


Alan Cumyn, Man of Bone

  Pierre Raphaël Pelletier, Il faut crier l’injure




Dr. Isaac Vogelfanger, Red Tempest  

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


Patrick Kavanagh, Gaff Topsails

  Maurice Henrie, Le Balcon dans le ciel




Clyde Sanger, Malcolm MacDonald: Bringing an End to Empire  

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


John Barton, Notes Towards a Family Tree

Frances Itani, Man Without Face

  Andrée Christensen, Noces d’ailleurs




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

Gilberte Paquette, Dans le sillage d’Élizabeth Bruyère


Rita Donovan, Daisy Circus

Nadine McInnis, The Litmus Body


Maurice Henrie, Le Pont sur le temps

Gabrielle Poulin, Petites Fugues pour une saison sèche




John Sawatsky, Mulroney: The Politics of Ambition  



Rita Donovan, Dark Jewels

  Daniel Poliquin, Visions de Jude




Roy MacGregor, Chief: The Fearless Vision of Billy Diamond  




  Maurice Henrie, La chambre à mourir




Patricia Morley, Kurelek: A Biography  



John Metcalf, Adult Entertainment





Joan Finnigan, Legacies, Legends and Lies

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