Governor General's Literary Awards



15 March
1 June
7 July
1 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 Guidelines for Book Publishers [PDF, 225.2 KB].

2015 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, Young People’s Literature (Text), Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books) and Translation (from French to English).


15 March: for both English and French

1 June: for English only

7 July: for French only

1 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 2015 and 29 February 2016 must reach the Canada Council no later than 15 March 2016. Books published between 1 March 2016 and 15 May 2016 must reach the Canada Council no later than 1 June 2016. Books and bound proofs published between 16 May 2016 and 30 September 2016 must reach the Canada Council no later than 1 August 2016.

If these dates fall on a weekend or statutory holiday, the deadline moves to the next business day.

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


Prize Amount

  • Creators (authors/illustrators/translators) of winning books receive $25,000
  • Non-winning finalists receive $1,000
  • Publishers of winning titles 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, illustrated or translated 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 Canadian or first foreign edition trade books.
  • Books must have been written or translated 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. In the Illustrated Books category, both the illustrator and the author must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
  • English titles must be published and be available on the market between 1 September 2015 and 30 September 2016.
  • 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 have at least 48 pages between the covers, except for children’s illustrated books which must have a minimum of 24 printed pages.
  • All short stories, essays, poems and plays may have been previously published in magazines.

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, followed by the winners, will be announced in the fall of 2016.

Please refer to the news releases for details.

Further Information

Lori Knoll
Program Officer
Writing and Publishing Section

1-800-263-5588 (toll-free) or 613-566-4414, ext. 5573

TTY: 1-866-585-5559