Governor General's Literary Awards



15 March
1 June
15 July
7 August
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Prize Amount

$1,000 - $25,000

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Get Eligibility Information
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The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and welcomes applications from diverse Aboriginal, cultural and regional communities, and from people with disabilities.

Please refer to the complete Submission Guidelines [PDF, 288.4 KB].

2013 Awards - News and announcements

Program Description

The Governor General’s Literary Awards are given annually to the best English-language and the best French-language book in each of the seven categories of Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Children’s Literature (text), Children’s Literature (illustration) and Translation (from French to English).


15 March: for both English and French

1 June: for English only

15 July: for French only

7 August: for English only

Publishers must submit books as early as possible to ensure that members of the peer assessment committees have sufficient reading time.

  • Books published in English between 1 September 2013 and 28 February 2014 must reach the Canada Council no later than 15 March 2014.
  • Books published between 1 March 2014 and 15 May 2014 must reach the Canada Council no later than 1 June 2014.
  • For books and bound proofs published between 16 May 2014 and 30 September 2014, the deadline is 7 August 2014.

If the deadline falls on a weekend or statutory holiday, it moves to the next business day.

Books must reach the Canada Council for the Arts by the deadline date. Late submissions, incomplete submissions and registration forms submitted by fax or email will not be accepted.

Prize Amount

  • Authors/translators/illustrators of winning books receive $25,000
  • Non-winning finalists receive $1,000
  • Publishers of winning books receive $3,000 to promote the book


Eligibility of Publishers

Only eligible book publishers can submit titles for consideration. Publishers must:

  • publish books based on an editorial selection process
  • have at least four eligible titles in print and be committed to a sustained trade book publishing program, consisting of titles by a variety of authors
  • pay royalties or financially compensate the author, illustrator or translator for any submitted title
  • use appropriate and effective means to market, distribute and create public awareness of their titles
  • meet basic professional standards of publishing.

The publisher may publish a maximum of 25% each year of publications written by owners, family or employees of the publishing house.

Books may be published in Canada or abroad. Foreign or new publishers must provide a historical background, a catalogue of their published titles and a list of Canadian distributors. 

Eligibility of Titles

Publishers should note that the award is for literary and artistic excellence; they should submit only books that they deem to be outstanding in these regards.

  • Books must be first foreign or first Canadian edition trade books that have been written, translated or illustrated by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada (they do not need to be residing in Canada). In the Translation category, the original work, written in French, must also be a Canadian-authored title.
  • English titles must be published and be available on the market between 1 September 2013 and 30 September 2014 (13 months).
  • The main language of all books must be English.
  • All books must have an ISBN, be distributed in Canada and be available in Canadian bookstores.
  • All books must have a print run of at least 350 copies.
  • All books must be at least 48 pages long, except for children’s picture books which must have a minimum of 24 pages.
  • All the short stories, essays, poems and plays may have been previously published in magazines.


  • Each book must be submitted in only one category, except for those submitted to the Translation category; children’s books may be submitted in the Children’s Literature (illustration) and Children’s Literature (text) categories.
  • Books that have been published in French and in English at the same time may be submitted in only one of the two languages.

Ineligible titles

Titles that are not eligible are:

  • books that were already submitted to the Governor General’s Literary Awards
  • selections and collections of poetry, short stories, essays and plays containing material that has previously been short-listed for a Governor General’s Literary Award
  • books that do not include new material
  • reprints or new format reprints of any kind
  • self-published books
  • textbooks or instruction guides, academic and scholarly publications, academic theses, conference proceedings, illustrated (coffee-table) books, how-to and self-help books, guide books, cookbooks, exhibition catalogues, film scripts, testimonials, journals, transcripts of interviews, collected letters, directories, reference books or bibliographies, and books of minimal critical content
  • anthologies or works that are not expressed in a single voice
  • books where illustrations occupy less than 30% of the book’s space (for the Children’s Literature  (illustration) category)
  • graphic novels, except for titles intended for children (Children’s Literature (illustration) and Children’s Literature (text) categories)
  • books whose author, illustrator or translator was deceased at the time of publication
  • books that have been translated from a language other than one of the two official languages, except for titles submitted in the Children’s Literature (illustration) category. 

Nomination confirmation

A list of titles submitted to the peer assessment committees will be posted regularly on the Canada Council website. 

Announcement of Finalists and Winners

The names of finalists will be announced in October 2014; the names of winners will be announced in mid-November 2014.

Please refer to the news releases for details.

Further Information

Program Officers
Writing and Publishing Section

1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, extension indicated below

Lori Knoll, ext. 5573

Brigitte Fontille, ext. 4571

Mona Kiame, ext. 4016

TTY: 1-866-585-5559