News and Interviews

The Writers' Trust Announces the Winners of the RBC Bronwen Wallace Awards, the Journey Prize, & the Dayne Ogilvie Prize

WT emerging writer 2020

Today in an online broadcast, the Writers’ Trust of Canada announced four prizewinners for its emerging writers awards: the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers (short fiction and poetry categories); the Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize; and the Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers

Author Téa Mutonji hosted the digital event announcing all four winners, where each finalist contributed a personal reading of part of their nominated piece, as well as a glimpse into their writing space (which are very much worth checking out). The event also featured a live chat on YouTube, with viewers cheering on the finalists in the comments. The winners each filmed a heartfelt acceptance speech. You view the full event broadcast on the Writers' Trust YouTube channel here. Each winner will receive $10,000.

These three prizes (with two winners for the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award) are unique in the literary landscape for their knack of identifying promising writers early in their careers who often go on to become household names. Past winners include the likes of Zoe Whittall (the Dayne Ogilvie Prize), Yann Martel (the Journey Prize), and Michael Crummey (the RBC Bronwen Wallace Award), to name just a handful. 

The Writers' Trust 2020 Emerging Writers Prize Winners:

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers (short fiction)

Awarded for the best piece of short fiction submitted by a writer under age 35 and unpublished in book form
Winner: Leah Mol (Toronto) for "Six Things My Father Taught Me About Bears

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Award for Emerging Writers (poetry)

Awarded for the best sample of poetry submitted by a poet under age 35 and unpublished in book form
Winner: Alexa Winik (Edinburgh) for "Selections from Winter Stars Visible in December"

The Writers’ Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize

Awarded for the best short fiction published by an emerging writer in a Canadian literary magazine
Winner: Jessica Johns (Vancouver) for "Bad Cree

The Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers

Awarded to an emerging writer from the LGBTQ community whose published work demonstrates great literary promise
Winner: Arielle Twist (Halifax), author of Disintegrate/Dissociate

We recently had the chance to speak to the nominees for all three awards. Check out our conversations with the Journey Prize nominees, the Bronwen Wallace Award nominees, and the Dayne Ogilvie Prize nominees for inspiring writing advice, keen observations about CanLit, and fascinating background about where each of the finalists' nominated pieces came from. 

The remaining finalists for the prizes are Jamaluddin Aram and Omer Friedlander (Bronwen Wallace Award, short fiction), nina jane drystek and Zoe Imani Sharpe (Bronwen Wallace Award, poetry); Lisa Foad and David Huebert (the Journey Prize); and Robyn Maynard and Smokii Sumac (the Dayne Ogilvie Prize). Each finalist will receive a cash prize. 

The RBC Bronwen Wallace Awards are sponsored by the RBC Foundation’s Emerging Artists Project. The Writers' Trust McClelland & Stewart Journey Prize is made possible by James A. Michener’s donation of his Canadian royalty earnings from his 1998 novel Journey. The Dayne Ogilvie Prize for LGBTQ Emerging Writers is supported in 2020 by one anonymous donor.

Several donors and funders supported the 2020 online award presentation event, including presenting partner The Humber School for Writers, media partner The Globe and Mail, and project partners CBC Books and Indigo Books & Music. Additional partial funding from the Department of Canadian Heritage helped make the event possible. 

To learn more about the winning writers, visit the Writers' Trust website