First Novel Award


The submission period for the 2013 First Novel Award has ended. On March 5, the five finalists will be announced. Stay tuned for updates. Learn more about the competition and past winners at

The First Novel Award is proud to present the First Novel Award, which recognizes the outstanding achievement of a Canadian first-time novelist. Since 1976, the First Novel Award has launched the careers of some of Canada's most beloved novelists, including Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W.P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels, André Alexis, Michael Redhill, Mary Lawson, Colin McAdam, Joseph Boyden, Joan Thomas, and David Bezmozgis.

The 2013 First Novel Award Winner: Wayne Grady for Emancipation Day

Emancipation Day congratulates Wayne Grady, winner of the 2013 First Novel Award for Emancipation Day. Steeped in the jazz and big band music of the 1930s and '40s, Emancipation Day, Grady's first novel, is an arresting, heart-rending story about fathers and sons, love and denial, and race relations in a world on the cusp of momentous change. Grady has written fourteen books of science and natural history, travel and personal essays, translated fifteen novels and edited eleven anthologies of literary fiction and nonfiction. Born in Windsor, Ontario, he currently lives near Kingston, Ontario.

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2013 First Novel Award Finalists

The Lion Seeker by Kenneth BonertThe Eliot Girls: A Novel by Krista Bridge
The Lion Seeker Johannesburg, South Africa. The Great Depression. In this harsh new country, young Isaac Helger burns with fiery determination — to break out of the inner city, to buy his scarred mother the home she longs for, to find a way to realize her dream of reuniting a family torn apart. But there are terrible, unspoken secrets of the past that will haunt him... The Eliot Girls: A Novel For years, Audrey Brindle has dreamed of attending George Eliot Academy, the school where her mother, Ruth, has taught for a decade. But when she is finally admitted, she discovers a place of sly bullying and ferocious intolerance. Ruth, meanwhile, finds her world upended by the arrival of a new teacher, Henry Winter...
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Juanita Wildrose: My True Life by Susan DowneEmancipation Day by Wayne Grady
Juanita Wildrose: My True Life In 1904, in Wichita, Kansas, Mallie gave birth to a baby girl, whom she named Juanita (after a Spanish novel) and Wildrose (for "the most beautiful of the flowers"). So began the long life of Juanita Wildrose, who lived, vividly, every ounce and minute of her one hundred and two years... Emancipation Day How far would a son go to belong? And how far would a father go to protect him? With his curly black hair and his wicked grin, everyone swoons and thinks of Frank Sinatra when Navy musician Jackson Lewis takes the stage. It's World War II, and while stationed in St. John's, Newfoundland, Jack meets...
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Ballistics by D.W. Wilson
Ballistics Alan West has been raised by his grandfather, the only family he has ever known. But when the gruff old man suffers a heart attack, he sends Alan on a mission to bring back his estranged father, Jack, who abandoned Alan as a baby. To fulfill what may be his grandfather’s dying wish, Alan will have to navigate the 2003 firestorms raging through British Columbia...
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