News and Interviews

Alicia Elliott Wins the 2024 Amazon First Novel Award

Amazon FNA Logo

Last night at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto, Alicia Elliott won the forty-eighth annual Amazon Canada First Novel Award. The bestselling essayist won for And Then She Fell (Doubleday Canada), a powerful first novel about native life, motherhood, and mental health. She also took home the $60,000 cash prize awarded to the winner by Amazon Canada.

Alicia Elliott - Photo by Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Alicia Elliott - Photo by Cole Burston/The Canadian Press

Alicia has a special place in the hearts of the Open Book team, as she was a regular columnist from 2017 to 2019, and wrote some of the most widely read pieces on the site. Her work has been fearlessly championing and challenging the best and worst in CanLit for years.

Elliott's book was chosen from a shortlist of six works, that also included the following novels:

  • Empty Spaces, Jordan Abel (McClelland & Stewart)
  • As the Andes Disappeared, Caroline Dawson (Book*hug Press)
  • Tauhou: A Novel, Kōtuku Titihuia Nuttall (House of Anansi Press)
  • A History of Burning, Janika Oza (McClelland & Stewart)
  • The Berry Pickers, Amanda Peters (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd)

Each shortlisted novelist received a $6,000 cash prize from Amazon Canada. Billy-Ray Belcourt, francesca ekwuyasi, Kaie Kellough, and Souvankham Thammavongsa judged the 2024 prize.

In other prize news, after a moving introduction from acclaimed author David A. Robertson, the Youth Short Story prize was awarded to sixteen-year-old Khaliya Rajan. The prize for her winning short story, “Waves” was $5,000, and her story will be published in The Walrus later this year.

The other youth short story finalists were Noaah Karim from Vancouver; Abigail McGhie from Ottawa; Avery Moschee from Newmarket, Ont.; Natalie Webber from Nova Scotia and Payten Josephine Woldanski. They each took home $500.


About the Amazon First Novel Award

Established in 1976, the First Novel Award program has launched the careers of some of Canada’s most beloved novelists. Previous winners include Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W. P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Redhill, Mona Awad, Katherena Vermette, Michelle Good, and last year’s winner, Jasmine Sealy.