First Novel Award

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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, 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 Steins 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 $10,000.

The award was sold to in 2009 and its name was changed to the current incarnation.

Winners and nominees[edit]

Year Winner Nominated
1976 Blue ribbon Ian McLachlan, The Seventh Hexagram
Blue ribbon Michael Ondaatje, Coming Through Slaughter
1977 Blue ribbon Oonah McFee, Sandbars
1978 Blue ribbon Joan Barfoot, Abra
1979 Blue ribbon Clark Blaise, Lunar Attractions
1980 Blue ribbon W.D. Valgardson, Gentle Sinners
1981 Blue ribbon Joy Kogawa, Obasan
1982 Blue ribbon W.P. Kinsella, Shoeless Joe
1983 Blue ribbon Heather Robertson, Willie: A Romance
1984 Blue ribbon Geoffrey Ursell, Perdue, or How the West Was Lost[1]
1985 Blue ribbon Wayne Johnston, The Story of Bobby O'Malley
1986 Blue ribbon Karen Lawrence, The Life of Helen Alone[2]
1987 Blue ribbon Marion Quednau, The Butterfly Chair
1988 Blue ribbon Rick Salutin, A Man of Little Faith
1989 Blue ribbon Sandra Birdsell, The Missing Child
1990 Blue ribbon Nino Ricci, Lives of the Saints
1991 Blue ribbon Rohinton Mistry, Such a Long Journey
1992 Blue ribbon John Steffler, The Afterlife of George Cartwright
1993 Blue ribbon Deborah Joy Corey, Losing Eddie
1994 Blue ribbon Shyam Selvadurai, Funny Boy
1995 Blue ribbon Keath Fraser, Popular Anatomy
1996 Blue ribbon Anne Michaels, Fugitive Pieces
1997 Blue ribbon Margaret Gibson, Opium Dreams
1998 Blue ribbon André Alexis, Childhood
1999 Blue ribbon David Macfarlane, Summer Gone
Blue ribbon Alan R. Wilson, Before the Flood
2000 Blue ribbon Eva Stachniak, Necessary Lies[3]
2001 Blue ribbon Michael Redhill, Martin Sloane
2002 Blue ribbon Mary Lawson, Crow Lake
2003 Blue ribbon Michel Basilières, Black Bird
2004 Blue ribbon Colin McAdam, Some Great Thing
2005 Blue ribbon Joseph Boyden, Three Day Road
2006 Blue ribbon Madeleine Thien, Certainty
2007 Blue ribbon Gil Adamson, The Outlander
2008 Blue ribbon Joan Thomas, Reading by Lightning
2009 Blue ribbon Jessica Grant, Come, Thou Tortoise
2010 Blue ribbon Eleanor Catton, The Rehearsal
2011 Blue ribbon David Bezmozgis, The Free World
2012 Blue ribbon Anakana Schofield, Malarky
2013 Blue ribbon Wayne Grady, Emancipation Day
2014 Blue ribbon Alix Hawley, All True Not a Lie in It


  1. ^ "Writer from Regina wins book award". The Globe and Mail, March 29, 1985.
  2. ^ "Lawrence captures $3,000 literary prize". The Globe and Mail, April 3, 1987.
  3. ^ "Necessary Lies wins first-novel award". The Globe and Mail, September 26, 2001.

External links[edit]