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5 Authors Nominated for the $60,000 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize

Grey banner image with Writers' Trust logo and text reading  Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize 2023 finalists

This morning the Writers’ Trust of Canada announced the five finalists for the 2023 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. The $60,000 award is one of my country's most prestigious, annually recognizing the best novel or short story collection by a Canadian author. The prize is funded by businessman and philanthropist Jim Balsillie and is named in honour of Writers’ Trust co-founders and literary couple Margaret Atwood and the late Graeme Gibson, who started the organization in 1976 with the help of fellow writers.

This year's nominees were selected by Canadian fiction writers francesca ekwuyasi, Alix Hawley, and MG Vassanji. In total, 127 titles were submitted by 58 publishing imprints. Each finalist receives $5,000 and the $60,000 prizewinner will be announced on November 21 at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards ceremony, hosted at CBC’s Glenn Gould Studio in Toronto.

The 2023 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize finalists are:

  • Learned by Heart by Emma Donoghue (HarperAvenue)
  • The Berry Pickers by Amanda Peters (Harper Perennial)
  • A Grandmother Begins the Story by Michelle Porter (Viking Canada)
  • In the Upper Country by Kai Thomas (Viking Canada)
  • The Book of Rain by Thomas Wharton (Random House Canada)

Grey image with all five Atwood Gibson 2023 nominated books pictured

“This year’s finalists are testament to the generational vitality of fiction in Canada,” said Charlie Foran, executive director of Writers’ Trust. “From debut to midcareer to a former winner, the 2023 shortlist offers the sweep and range of a literary culture alive with vital, complimentary voices.”

No independent publishers made is onto this year's shortlist, with the finalist slots divided between imprints of Penguin Random House Canada and HarperCollins Canada. Emma Donoghue is a past winner of the award, having won the prize for her international bestseller Room. Kai Thomas, Amanda Peters, and Michelle Porter are all first time novelists (though Porter has previously published books of nonfiction and poetry).

Past winners include Alice Munro, Lawrence Hill, Miriam Toews, André Alexis, Gil Adamson, Katherena Vermette, and Nicholas Herring.

For more information on this year’s finalists, visit the Writers' Trust website.