The Ottawa Book Awards and Prix du livre d’Ottawarecognize 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.
Announcement of 2019 Finalists
The 2019 Ottawa Book Awards Finalists were announced on September 16, 2019.
The 2019 Ottawa Book Award and the Prix du livre d’Ottawa 2019 will be presented to the winning authors on Wednesday, October 16, 2019, at 6:30 p.m. at Ottawa City Hall, Jean-Pigott Place, 110 Laurier Ave W.
Additionally, the following awards will also be presented at the ceremony:
The Ottawa Book Awards recognize published books of literary excellence, written by authors residing in Ottawa. A prize of $7,500 is awarded annually in each of the following four categories: English fiction, English non-fiction, French fiction and French non-fiction. Short-listed authors receive a $1,000 prize.
Eligible books must meet the following criteria:
a book of literary merit published with an ISBN number
a minimum of 48 bound pages (except children’s books)
a work of Fiction (including novels, short stories, children’s literature and poetry) or Literary Non-fiction (including biographies, memoirs, cultural histories, literary journalism and essays)
published in 2018
written in English or French
written by one or two authors 18 years of age or older and who reside in the City of Ottawa* or who are Algonquin Anishinabe and live within 150 km radius of Ottawa**
* To meet the residency requirements, authors must live in Ottawa at the time of the award submission deadline and / or book publication, and a minimum of 12 consecutive months up to and including either or both dates. City staff reserves the right to ask for proof of Ottawa residency. Residency is established by a personal CCRA Notice of Assessment (the statement you are sent after filing an annual income tax return) for the previous year, indicating a current residential address in Ottawa.
**Those who do not have a status card must include a letter of acknowledgement from their Band Council
anthologies and books with works by more than two authors
re-prints or republications of titles originally published at an earlier date
books submitted by City of Ottawa employees and elected representatives
A minimum of 10 eligible entries must be received each year in a given category and language. If this minimum is not reached, submissions will be forwarded to the following year’s competition.
Either the author or publisher may submit an eligible book. However, in cases where the publisher submits the book directly, the author is required to submit a signed form under separate cover to attest that they meet the program’s eligibility and residency criteria.
Along with four copies of the nominated book, please send the following on a USB key (in an envelope identified with the author name and book title) or by email to email@example.com (please include the Program name and the author name in the subject field):
a Hi-Res author photo in JPEG format (minimum 300 dpi), including photo credit
a Hi-Res colour image of the book cover in JPEG format (minimum 300 dpi)
a short, 50-word author bio
a short, 60-word book description
Please note that the books and USB key will not be returned.
The City of Ottawa uses a peer review process to select the Ottawa Book Award laureates. In each language and category, a three-person jury composed of writers and literary arts professionals reviews the books and selects a short list of up to four finalists and one award recipient.
The criterion for selection is literary excellence. This is determined based on the following literary qualities:
Deadline for submission is Monday, January 7, 2019 at 4 pm. All submissions must be received by the deadline date, or postmarked by that date. Late submissions will not be accepted.
A total of four copies of each book must be submitted to:
City of Ottawa
Ottawa Book Awards
Cultural Funding Support Section (26-49)
100 Constellation Drive, 9th Floor West
Ottawa, ON K2G 6J8
Please note that books and USB key will not be returned.
Announcement of Finalists and Winners
A short-list of finalists will be announced in September, 2019.
The names of award winners will be announced in October, 2019.
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For specific information on your submission, or to discuss eligibility, contact:
Awarded for outstanding published works of fiction including novels, short stories, children’s literature and poetry.
The High-Rise in Fort Fierce by Paul Carlucci
Meet three generations of landlords, each more paranoid and alienated than the last, in the ravaged history of Franklin Place from its construction during the Cold War to its demolition decades later. Their tenants: a drug dealer, a lonely bigot, a political activist, a struggling father, a wandering sex offender, and a woman who refuses to give into it all.
Paul Carlucci's first collection of short fiction, The Secret Life of Fission, won the 2013 Danuta Gleed Literary Award. His second collection, A Plea for Constant Motion, was published to critical acclaim in 2017. His stories have been published in the Malahat Review, subTerrain, the Fiddlehead, and the New Quarterly. He lives in Ottawa.
The Rising Tide by Mark Frutkin
Venice, 1769. Michele Archenti, publisher, former priest and friend to the mysterious skeleton-bearer, Rodolfo, finds himself swept up in a rising tide of politics, ambition and lust in eighteenth-century Venice. Called upon to defend Rodolfo against charges of heresy, Archenti must navigate the murky political waters, and outsmart the ambitious new Inquisitor from Rome.
Ottawa author Mark Frutkin has published sixteen books of fiction, poetry and nonfiction. His most recent novel is The Rising Tide. His most recent poetry book, Hermit Thrush, was a finalist for the Ottawa Book Award. His novel, Fabrizio’s Return, won Ontario’s Trillium Award in 2006.
This Book Betrays My Brother by Kagiso Lesego Molope
Naledi has a charming, gifted older brother, Basi. When she sees Basi commit a horrific act that goes against everything she knows about him, Naledi is caught in a bind. Should she report Basi or should she keep quiet? Would anyone believe her? How will she live her life now? There are no simple answers.
Kagiso Lesego Molope was born in South Africa and lives in Ottawa. Her first two novels, Dancing in the Dust and The Mending Season, were used as school texts in South Africa. This Book Betrays My Brother is her third YA title. Such a Lonely, Lovely Road is her first book for adults.
Ray Vs the Meaning of Life by Michael F. Stewart
Ray is about to inherit his zany grandma’s million-dollar trailer park. But there’s just one small hitch — he has to uncover the meaning of life, and fast!
Michael F. Stewart is an award-winning author who lives in Ottawa, Canada. His graphic novels, novels, and early readers havebeen published by Rubicon Publishing and distributed by Pearson Education, Scholastic Canada, and Oxford University Press.
Building on River by Jean Van Loon
Weaving conjecture with scant known facts, Jean Van Loon has created a verse narrative imagining the life of lumber king J.R. Booth. The poems speak in varied voices – of J.R. Booth himself, family members, business associates, employees, visiting royalty and tavern wags – collectively evoking the man, the place, and the times with drama, insight, and vivid sensory detail.
Jean Van Loon lives with her husband in a home that is an easy walk to the Ottawa River. Since retiring from a career as a public servant and head of the steel industry's national trade association, she has published poems and stories in literary magazines across Canada.
2019 Finalists: Non-fiction
Awarded for outstanding published works of non-fiction including biographies, memoirs, cultural histories, literary journalism and essays.
The Lac-Mégantic Rail Disaster: Public Betrayal, Justice Denied by Bruce Campbell
This book uncovers the truth about the Lac-Mégantic rail disaster that took place on July 6, 2013. It includes first person interviews with many of the key players, analysis of the corporate executives and the companies involved, an examination of the complex world of transport safety regulation in Canada, and an account of the trials of the three accused.
Bruce Campbell is a former Executive Director of the Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives, one of Canada's leading independent think tanks. Bruce was awarded a Law Foundation of Ontario Community Leadership in Justice Fellowship and spent 2016 as a visiting professor at the University of Ottawa Faculty of Law for his work on Lac- Mégantic. He lives in Ottawa.
Getting to Zero: Canada Confronts Global Warming by Tony Clarke
In this book, long-time social and environmental activist Tony Clarke provides the hard-to-find information and analysis about what Canada is and is not doing right now to get to zero. He documents the key initiatives that are moving Canada towards a lower-carbon future. But he also spells out how contradictory government decisions and policies are enabling a business-as-usual approach by the oil and gas industry.
Tony Clarke is the founder and director of the Polaris Institute in Ottawa, an organization dedicated to developing tools and strategies for civic action on major public policy issues. He holds a doctorate from the University of Chicago and is the recipient of Sweden's Right Livelihood Award. He lives in Ottawa.
The Secret History of Soldiers: How Canadians Survived the Great War by Tim Cook
The Secret History of Soldiers examines how WWI soldiers found entertainment, solace, relief, and distraction from the relentless slaughter. These tales come from the soldiers themselves, mined from the letters, diaries, memoirs, and oral accounts of more than five hundred combatants. Rare examples of trench art, postcards, and even song sheets offer insight into a hidden society that was often irreverent, raunchy, and anti-authoritarian.
Tim Cook is the Great War historian at the Canadian War museum. His ten books have won numerous awards, including J.W. Dafoe Prizes, Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, and C.P. Stacey prizes. He received the 2013 Pierre Berton Award for popularizing Canadian history. He is a member of the Order of Canada.
All Things Consoled: A daugther's memoir by Elizabeth Hay
In this courageous memoir, written with tough-minded candour, tenderness, and wit, Elizabeth Hay lays bare the exquisite agony of a family's dynamics—entrenched favouritism, sibling rivalries, grievances that last for decades, genuine admiration, and enduring love. In the end, she reaches a more complete understanding of the mostunforgettable characters she will ever know, the vivid giants in her life who were her parents.
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 four other highly acclaimed works of fiction, His Whole Life, A Student of Weather, Garbo Laughs, and Small Change. Formerly a radio broadcaster, she spent a number of years in Mexico and New York City before returning to Canada. She lives in Ottawa.