Amazon First Novel Award

Amazon Canada First Novel Award

Celebrating debut Canadian novelists since 1976

FAQ | Rules | 2018 | 2017 | 2016



*Authors must be older than eighteen years at time of entry

*Authors must be older than thirteen and younger than eighteen years at time of entry


The Amazon Canada First Novel Award recognizes the outstanding achievement of a Canadian first-time novelist. Since 1976, the First Novel Award has launched the careers of some of Canada’s most beloved novelists, including Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W. P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels, André Alexis, Michael Redhill, Mary Lawson, Colin McAdam, Joan Thomas, and David Bezmozgis.

This year’s finalists will each receive more than $4,000 in cash and prizes, and the winner will receive additional prizes totalling more than $40,000. Authors between the ages of thirteen and seventeen are invited to submit a short story under 3,000 words in the Youth Short Story category. Finalists will receive $500, and the prize for the winning short story is $5,000 and a mentorship lunch with editors of The Walrus.

The shortlists will be announced in April 2019, and the winners will be announced on Wednesday, May 22, 2019, at an award ceremony in Toronto.


Adult Novel Category

Doretta Lau is the author of the short-story collection (Nightwood Editions, 2014). The book was shortlisted for the City of Vancouver Book Award, longlisted for the Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award, and was named by The Atlantic as one of the best books of 2014. In 2013, she was a finalist for the Writers’ Trust of Canada/McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize. She has written on arts and culture for Artforum International, South China Morning Post, the Wall Street Journal Asia, ArtReview, LEAP, and The Walrus. She completed an MFA in writing at Columbia University. Her fiction and poetry have appeared in Day One, Event, Grain Magazine, Prairie Fire, Prism International, Ricepaper, Room Magazine, sub-terrain, and Zen Monster. She splits her time between Vancouver and Hong Kong, where she is at work on a comedic novel about a dysfunctional workplace, called We Are Underlings.


Dimitri Nasrallah is the author of three novels, most recently The Bleeds (2018). He was born in Lebanon in 1977, during the civil war, and lived in Kuwait, Greece, and Dubai before moving to Canada in 1988. His first novel, Blackbodying (2005), won the Quebec’s McAuslan First Book Prize and was a finalist for the Grand Prix du Livre de Montréal. His second novel, Niko (2011), won the Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, was nominated for the CBC’s Canada Reads and the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, and went on to become a critical and commercial success in French. A film adaptation is currently in preproduction. He lives in Montreal, where he is fiction editor for the Esplanade Books imprint at Véhicule Press. He is currently translating Éric Plamondon’s 1984 trilogy from French to English.


Diane Schoemperlen is the author of fourteen books, including This Is Not My Life: A Memoir of Love, Prison, and Other Complications which was shortlisted for the 2017 RBC Taylor Prize. Her collection Forms of Devotion: Stories and Pictures won the 1998 Governor General’s Award for English Fiction. Her most recent book, First Things First: Early and Uncollected Stories, was published in 2017. She has received two awards from the Writers’ Trust of Canada: the 2007 Marian Engel Award and the 2017 Matt Cohen Award. In 2018, she was awarded the Molson Prize in Arts by the Canada Council for the Arts “in recognition of exceptional achievement and outstanding contribution to the cultural and intellectual heritage of Canada.” Born and raised in Thunder Bay, Ontario, Diane has lived in Kingston, Ontario, for over thirty years.


Youth Short Story Category

Alix Hawley studied English literature and creative writing at Oxford University, the University of East Anglia, and the University of British Columbia. Her story collection, The Old Familiar (Thistledown Press), was longlisted for the ReLit award. Several pieces have won accolades from the CBC: “Witching” won the 2017 Literary Awards Short Story Prize, while “Tentcity” and “Jumbo” were runners-up in 2012 and 2014, and “Pig (for Oma)” won the 2014 Bloodlines memoir contest. Her first novel, , was published by Knopf as its New Face of Fiction pick for 2015, was longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize, and won the First Novel Award and BC Book Prize for Fiction. My Name is a Knife, her second novel and one of Esi Edugyan’s picks for the year, was published in 2018. Alix lives in British Columbia.



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Angela Misri is the digital director at The Walrus, and has worked at The Banff Centre and the CBC. She has written about technology and women in technology for The Walrus, the Globe and Mail, CBC Radio and many other publications.