Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust

 Full details 

Prize Guidelines

A prize of $60,000 will be awarded to the novel or short story collection published between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021 that, in the opinion of the jurors, is the year’s best book of fiction. The jurors will shortlist between three and five titles. Prizes of $5,000 will be awarded to each of the finalists.

COVID-19 Update

Due to the ongoing pandemic, jurors are reading all submissions to the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize via eReader. Please ensure that each uploaded eBook is in its most final form before submitting. You will be contacted after the final deadline of July 14, 2021 for further instructions on how to send two copies of each submitted title in book form to the Writers' Trust.

The 2021 award winner will likely be announced online via a digital version of the Writers' Trust Awards.

Eligibility Criteria

  • Titles must be published between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021. Titles that are not yet in final published form by the deadline of July 14 may be submitted as uncorrected proofs.
  • Books must be English-language, first-edition trade books, written by Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Previous publication in another country does not disqualify a book.
  • Translations from other languages into English are eligible and will be considered in the year in which the English translation is published. In the event of a translation winning the prize, the prize money will be divided as follows: $45,000 to the author, $15,000 to the translator.
  • To be eligible to submit books for consideration, publishing houses must have a professional editorial process independent from the authors whose books are submitted. They must not charge authors for publishing.
  • Imprints must be editorially independent to be permitted to submit books in addition to submissions from their parent company.
  • All books must have an ISBN and be available in Canadian bookstores for some duration between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.
  • Titles may be single-authored or co-authored. Multi-authored collections, anthologies, and conference proceedings are not eligible.
  • Self-published books are not eligible.
  • Ghostwritten books are not eligible.
  • Books written for children are not eligible.
  • No more than 20% of the manuscript can be previously published in book form.
  • Books whose author was deceased at the time of publication are not eligible.
  • Publishers should note that the prize is for literary excellence and therefore they should only submit books they deem outstanding in this regard.

Please note submissions are now open.

The schedule for submissions corresponds to publication dates as follows:

Deadline 1: Wednesday, March 10, 2021
For books published between October 1, 2020 and March 9, 2021

Deadline 2: Wednesday, May 19, 2021 
For books published between March 10, 2021 and May 18, 2021

Deadline 3: Wednesday, July 14, 2020
For books published between May 19, 2021 and September 30, 2021

Publishers are strongly encouraged to submit titles prior to the deadlines. Submissions upon release of titles are appreciated. If a publisher, for any reason whatsoever, feels they cannot submit titles in accordance with the above schedule it is requested that they contact the program manager to discuss alternate arrangements or the possibility of an extension.

Number of Submissions

All publishers of original manuscripts may enter two books by Canadian authors. Companies publishing more than five eligible fiction titles may add one book for every additional two eligible (or fraction thereof) on their fiction list, up to a maximum of five. See below for reference. This is dependent on the number of titles published between October 1, 2020 and September 30, 2021.

5 or fewer books published - eligible to submit 2
6-7 books published - eligible to submit 3
8-9 books published - eligible to submit 4
10+ books published - eligible to submit 5

Required Materials
The following must be submitted by the final deadline of July 14, 2021:

  • A completed Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize online submission form listing all submitted titles and planned submissions. There is no need to print a paper copy.
  • A digital copy of each title attached to the online submission form in non-protected EPUB (preferred) or non-protected PDF format.
  • A spreadsheet listing all fiction titles published during the prize eligibility period (October 1, 2020 – September 30, 2021) with their authors and publication dates. This full list is necessary for verifying the number of titles a publisher is eligible to submit.
  • Images of the author and book cover suitable for reproduction in print materials (300dpi). Please name each file "Fiction_AuthorLastName_FirstName” and “Fiction_AuthorLastName_BookTitle”. Upload files smaller than 10 GB via our web form.
  • Publishers will be contacted after the final deadline of July 14, 2021 with instructions on how to send two copies of each submitted title in book form to the Writers’ Trust. Please do not send copies until contacted by the prize manager.

Jury Composition

A three-person jury selects the winner and finalists of the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize. The jury acts independently of the Writers’ Trust and is charged with interpreting the mandate and eligibility criteria of the prize, as well as determining which of the submissions best reflect the prize mandate. In evaluating the writing, literary merit is the sole criterion.

Each juror may request an unlimited number of additional titles from a publisher’s list. Such titles are on equal footing with all other submissions, provided that their publishers agree to abide by the conditions laid out in these guidelines. The judgment of the jury in selecting the winners, determining eligibility, and interpreting these rules is final.

Announcement of Nominees & Winners

The list of finalist authors will be announced in September and the award will be presented in November at the Writers’ Trust Awards.

Publisher Obligations

If an author is nominated for the prize, the publisher will agree to:

  • Supply the Writers’ Trust with 18 additional copies of the shortlisted book for publicity purposes.
  • Affix stickers provided by the Writers’ Trust to all outgoing copies of the current edition of the finalist and winning books and include prize sticker artwork on an subsequent editions.
  • Participate in promotion and publicity efforts undertaken by the Writers’ Trust and stress the importance of this with their authors.
  • Commit resources, in accordance to their ability, to ensure shortlisted authors are able to attend prize-related events in the fall of 2021.


For further information or help with submissions please email:
Devon Jackson, Author Programs Manager



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