Books in canada first novel award

The First Novel Award, formerly the Books in Canada First Novel Award, is a literary award given annually to the best first novel in English published the previous year by a citizen or resident of Canada. It has been awarded since 1976.

The First Novel Award was founded by the literary magazine Books in Canada. Between 1976 and 1994, the award was sponsored by Smithbooks. During this period, the award was known as the Smithbooks/Books in Canada First Novel Award. When Smithbooks was acquired by Chapters Books Inc., it became the Chapters/Books in Canada First Novel Award. The award was reorganized when Books in Canada was acquired by Adrian and Olga Stein in 1995. The Stein's retained a First Novel editor, introduced a comprehensive first novel review program, and formalized the adjudication process. In 1999, the magazine decided to end its affiliation with Chapters and became the in Canada First Novel Award. The arrangement saw the prize award doubled to ten thousand dollars. The award was sold to in 2009 and its name was changed to the current incarnation.

Winners and nominees


The 1976 award was a tie.

  • Ian McLachlan, The Seventh Hexagram
  • Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter
  • Alice Boissoneau, Eileen McCullough
  • David Kellum, The Falling World of Tristram Pocket
  • Susan Kerslake, Middlewatch
  • Sharon Riis, The True Story of Ida Johnson
  • Carol Shields, Small Ceremonies
  • Mary Soderstrom, The Descent of Andrew McPherson


  • Oonah McFee, Sandbars
  • Shane Dennison, Sidehill Gouger
  • Pauline Gedge, Child of the Morning
  • Jack Hodgins, The Invention of the World
  • M.T. Kelly, I Do Remember the Fall
  • Helen Levi, A Small Informal Dance
  • Morley Torgov, The Abramsky Variations


  • Joan Barfoot, Abra
  • Michael Dorland, The Double-Cross Circuit
  • Clive Doucet, Disneyland, Please
  • Margaret Drury Gane, Parade on an Empty Street
  • Kevin Major, Hold Fast
  • Frank Paci, The Italians


  • Clark Blaise, Lunar Attractions
  • Victoria Branden, Mrs. Job
  • Stan Dragland, Peckertracks
  • Florence Evans, A Man Without Passion
  • Shirley Faessler, Everything in the Window
  • Katherine Govier, Random Descent
  • Betty Lambert, Crossings




  • W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe
  • Lorris Elliott, Coming for to Carry
  • Nessa Rapoport, Preparing for Sabbath
  • Geraldine Rahmani, Blue
  • Ann Rosenberg, The Bee Book


  • Heather Robertson, Willie: A Romance
  • Robert G. Collins, Tolerable Levels of Violence
  • Susan Swan, The Biggest Modern Woman in the World
  • George Szanto, Not Working
  • Wayne Tefs, Figures on a Wharf



  • Wayne Johnston, The Story of Bobby O'Malley
  • Susan Charlotte Haley, A Nest of Singing Birds
  • Ann Ireland, A Certain Mr. Takahashi
  • Frank Jones, Master and Maid
  • Robert Walshe, Wales' Work


  • Karen Lawrence, The Life of Helen Alone
  • Jo Anne Williams Bennett, Downfall People
  • Marc Diamond, Momentum
  • David Gilmour, Back on Tuesday
  • Paulette Jiles, The Late Great Human Road Show














The 1999 award was a tie.


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  • Colin McAdam, Some Great Thing
  • David Elias, Sunday Afternoon
  • Ibi Kaslik, Skinny
  • Arthur Motyer, What's Remembered
  • Catherine Safer, Bishop's Road


  • Joseph Boyden, Three Day Road
  • Howard Akler, The City Man
  • Brenda Brooks, Gotta Find Me an Angel
  • Anne Giardini, The Sad Truth About Happiness
  • Kathryn Kuitenbrouwer, The Nettle Spinner
  • B. Glen Rotchin, The Rent Collector



  • Gil Adamson, The Outlander
  • David Chariandy, Soucouyant
  • Kyo Maclear, The Letter Opener
  • C.S. Richardson, The End of the Alphabet
  • Brian Tucker, Big White Knuckles
  • Andrew Wedderburn, The Milk Chicken Bomb



  • Jessica Grant, Come, Thou Tortoise
  • Diana Fitzgerald Bryden, No Place Strange
  • Annabel Lyon, The Golden Mean
  • Damian Tarnopolsky, Goya's Dog
  • Dragan Todorović, Diary of Interrupted Days
  • Ian Weir, Daniel O'Thunder




  • Anakana Schofield, Malarky
  • Marjorie Celona, Y
  • Scott Fotheringham, The Rest Is Silence
  • Pasha Malla, People Park
  • Kim Thúy, Ru

External links

  • First Novel Award at
  • Official website (defunct since December 2006)
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