Toronto, ON – May 20, 2015 – Kobo, a Rakuten company and leading innovator in the digital reading space, today announced the Kobo Emerging Writer Prize shortlist. The annual award, designed to kick-start the careers of debut authors, will award a $10,000 CAD cash prize to a book in each of three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (beginning with Mystery this year), and Non-Fiction. In addition, each winning author will receive promotional, marketing, and communications support for their written works through 2015.
More than 140 entries were received from 40 different traditional publishers, as well as from more than 45 self-published authors.
The shortlist, selected by Kobo’s team of booksellers and taking into consideration book completion rates, customer ratings and reviews, comprises five books in each genre. The shortlist will now move on to the final selection process, led by top Canadian authors: Charlotte Gray for Non-Fiction, Miriam Toews for Literary Fiction, and Ian Hamilton for Genre Fiction (Mystery), with winners announced on July 7.
- Know the Night: A Memoir of Survival in the Small Hours by Maria Mutch – Knopf Canada
- Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada by Brent Rathgeber – Dundurn
- Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story by Robyn Doolittle – Penguin Canada
- They Left Us Everything: A Memoir by Plum Johnson – Penguin Canada
- Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz – HarperCollins Canada
- Based on a True Story by Elizabeth Renzetti – House of Anansi Press
- Family Business by Renny deGroot – Self-Published
- For Today I Am a Boy by Kim Fu – HarperCollins Canada
- Fire In The Unnameable Country by Ghalib Islam – Penguin Canada
- Circus by Claire Battershill – McClelland & Stewart
- A Quiet Kill: A Forsyth and Hay Mystery by Janet Brons – Touchwood Editions
- The Monarch: A Thriller by Jack Soren – HarperCollins
- Cipher by John Jantunen – ECW Press
- A Siege of Bitterns: A Birder Murder Mystery by Steve Burrows – Dundurn
- Last of the Independents: Vancouver Noir by Sam Wiebe – Dundurn
Eligibility: The award is eligible to Canadian residents who have published debut books during the 2014 calendar year in the categories of Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (Mystery this year; a different genre will be highlighted each year), or Non-Fiction. All submitted books must be available at Kobo.com.
For more details: www.kobo.com/emergingwriter
ABOUT THE AUTHOR JUDGES
Charlotte Gray – Author Judge – Kobo Emerging Writer Prize – Non-Fiction
"How do we make sense of the world? The best non-fiction combines the craft of great story-telling with the moral imperative of telling larger truths. In my own work, I try to lift history off the page so that my readers can see it, feel it, understand it. I look forward to exploring the work of emerging writers who engage their readers with great stories, written with style and integrity." – Charlotte Gray
Charlotte Gray is author of nine acclaimed books of literary non-fiction. Born in Sheffield, England, she came to Canada in 1979 and worked as a political commentator, book reviewer and magazine columnist before she turned to biography and popular history.
Charlotte's most recent book is The Massey Murder: A Maid, Her Master and The Trial that Shocked a Country. It won the Toronto Book Award and the Toronto Heritage Book Award, and was long-listed for the B.C. Non-fiction Award, and shortlisted for the Charles Taylor Award, the Ottawa Award for Non-Fiction and the Evergreen Award. An adaptation of her 2010 bestseller Gold Diggers, Striking It Rich in the Klondike was broadcast as a television miniseries on the US Discovery Channel, under the title Klondike. Her previous seven books, which include Reluctant Genius, Sisters in the Wilderness, Flint & Feather, and A Museum Called Canada, were all bestsellers.
Charlotte appears regularly on radio and television as a political and cultural commentator. She was a celebrity panelist, championing Jane Urquhart’s novel Away, in CBC Radio’s annual battle of the books, Canada Reads. In 2004 she was the advocate for Sir John A. Macdonald, Canada’s first prime minister, for the CBC series: The Greatest Canadian. She has been a judge for several of Canada’s most prestigious literary prizes, including the Giller Prize for Fiction, the Charles Taylor Prize for Non-fiction and the Shaughnessy Cohen Prize for Political Writing. In 2014, she was short-listed as "Author of the Year" by the Canadian Booksellers Association.
An Adjunct Research Professor in the Department of History at Carleton University, Charlotte is the 2003 Recipient of the Pierre Berton Award for distinguished achievement in popularizing Canadian history. She is former chair of the board of Canada’s National History Society, and sits on the boards of the Ottawa International Authors Festival, the Art Canada Institute/Institut de l’Art Canadien, and the Sir Winston Churchill Society of Ottawa. Charlotte is a member of the Order of Canada and a Fellow of the Royal Society of Canada.
Charlotte lives in Ottawa with her husband George Anderson, and has three sons.
Miriam Toews - Author Judge – Kobo Emerging Writer Prize – Literary Fiction
“The writing life is one long, never-ending search for narrative. Well, it’s not even a conscious searching. It happens even while you’re busy buying groceries and when you’re fast asleep. It’s a curse. A writer is always, always searching, even against her will, against all her better instincts, for the thread of a story. This award is in essence a search for the successfully afflicted.” – Miriam Toews
Miriam Toews is the author of five previous bestselling novels: Summer of My Amazing Luck, A Boy of Good Breeding, A Complicated Kindness (Canada Reads 2006, Canada Reads Canadian Bestseller of the Decade 2010), The Flying Troutmans, and Irma Voth, and one work of non-fiction, Swing Low: A Life. She is a winner of the Governor General’s Award for Fiction, the Libris
Award for Fiction Book of the Year, the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize, and the Writers Trust Marian Engel/Timothy Findley Award. Her most recent novel, All My Puny Sorrows, won the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize, was a Scotiabank Giller Prize finalist. She lives in Toronto.
Ian Hamilton - Author Judge – Kobo Emerging Writer Prize – Fiction (Mystery)
"I am really honoured to be a judge of the very first Kobo Emerging Writer Prize contest. There are a lot of talented and hard-working writers who haven't had the kind of luck I've had in finding a great agent and publisher. It is exciting to think that - along with Charlotte and Miriam in their categories -I have the opportunity to help introduce Canadians to a deserving author." – Ian Hamilton
Ian Hamilton is the author of the wildly popular and bestselling Ava Lee novels, which will be adapted for television by CBC. The first book in the series, The Water Rat of Wanchai, was the winner of multiple awards including the Arthur Ellis Award for Best First Novel, a Toronto Star Top 5 Fiction Book of the Year, and a Quill & Quire Top 5 Fiction Book of the Year. The Disciple of Las Vegas was a finalist for the Barry Award for Best Original Trade Paperback, and The Wild Beasts of Wuhan was a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award for Lesbian Mystery. Most recently, The Two Sisters of Borneo was an instant Canadian bestseller and, in July 2014, BBC included Ian Hamilton on their list of “crime writer[s] to read now.”
About Rakuten Kobo Inc.
Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s fastest-growing eReading services offering more than 4-million eBooks and magazines to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides consumers with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders and Google-Certified Android tablets to suit any Reader’s style including the award-winning Kobo Touch™, Kobo Mini, Kobo Glo, Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, Kobo Aura HD, Kobo Arc, Kobo Arc 7, Kobo Arc 7HD, Kobo Arc 10HD – and the newly launched Kobo Glo HD. Along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Headquartered in Toronto and owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten, Kobo eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.
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