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  4. Guidelines Canada-Japan Literary Awards

Canada-Japan Literary Awards


The Canada Council for the Arts is committed to equity and inclusion, and encourages applications and nominations from artists, groups and organizations from culturally diverse, Deaf, disability and official language minority communities. The Canada Council recognizes and affirms the Aboriginal and treaty rights of the Indigenous peoples of this land and encourages applications and nominations from First Nations, Inuit and Métis individuals, groups, and organizations in all its programs. Measures are in place in all programs to support these commitments.

The Canada-Japan Literary Awards recognize the literary merit of books on Japan, on Japanese themes or on themes that promote mutual understanding between Japan and Canada, written by Canadian authors, or translated by Canadian translators from Japanese into English or French.

Awards will be given for literary merit to Canadian authors for published, first-edition trade books of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama. The books must be in English or French. Books in the same genres by Canadian translators, translated from Japanese into English or French, are also eligible.

The funds for the Canada-Japan Literary Awards come from a gift from the Government of Japan.

Deadline – 1 October 2022

Your completed nomination form must be submitted by email on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time). Mailed books must be postmarked on or before the deadline.

Incomplete or late applications will not be assessed.

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

Notification of results – approximately 5 months after the nomination deadline

Prize amount – $10,000 each

Two awards of $10,000 each may be given, one for an English-language book and one for a French-language book. The award is given to the author. For translations, the award is given to the translator. For co-authored or co-translated books, the prize amount is split equally. 

Eligibility – Who can be a nominator?

Publisher eligibility

Only eligible book publishers can submit titles for consideration. Publishers may be based in Canada or abroad. Publishers must:

  • publish books based on an editorial selection process
  • pay royalties or financially compensate the author or translator for any submitted book
  • have established a marketplace presence through distribution in Canadian bookstores and through marketing and public awareness efforts
  • meet basic professional standards of publishing.

Author and translator eligibility

Authors and translators may not submit their own published books for this award; they must be nominated by a professional book publisher.

Authors must be Canadian citizens or have permanent resident status, as defined by Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada. They do not need to be living in Canada. They must be living on the date of book publication.

For books translated from Japanese, only the translator must meet these criteria.

Eligibility of books

Nominated books must have been published professionally, between 1 May 2020 and 30 April 2022, to be eligible for the 2022 awards competition. An eligible book may be nominated to either the English-language component or the French-language component, but not to both.

Books must:

  • be on Japan, on Japanese themes or on themes that promote mutual understanding between Japan and Canada
  • be in English or French
  • be works of fiction, non-fiction, poetry or drama (plays)
  • have an ISBN
  • be the first Canadian or first foreign trade edition
  • be distributed in Canada
  • be available in Canadian bookstores
  • be at least 48 pages long.

The following books are not eligible:

  • books containing material that has previously been awarded a Canada-Japan Literary Award
  • anthologies of the works of more than one author, illustrator or translator, or works that are not expressed in a single voice
  • commissioned works or works for which the writer does not receive compensation for the use of his or her intellectual property
  • self-published books
  • spiral bound books
  • books that are only available in electronic format
  • textbooks or instruction guides, academic and scholarly publications, academic theses, conference proceedings, illustrated (coffee-table) books, how-to and self-help books, guidebooks, trivia books, cookbooks, exhibition catalogues, film scripts, testimonials, journals, transcripts of interviews, collected letters, directories, reference books or bibliographies, and books of minimal critical content.

Assessment – How are decisions made?

Peer evaluation is fundamental to the Canada Council’s decision-making process. Nominations for this award will be evaluated by separate English-language and French-language peer assessment committees, composed of experienced writers or other appropriate literary peers. Committee members will also be selected with consideration given to fair representation of literary genres, Indigenous peoples, Deaf and disability communities, gender, age and the regional and cultural diversity of Canada.

The peer assessment committees may decide not to award one or both of the awards in a given year, if they feel that none of the nominated works sufficiently meet the literary merit criterion.

All peer assessment committee decisions are final.

Assessment criteria

  • Nominated books will be assessed on their literary merit.
  • Translations will be assessed on the literary merit of the translation.

Required information and support material – What you need to submit with the nomination

  • 5 copies of each nominated book
  • For translations, you must also include 2 copies of each nominated work in its original language (Japanese).

Nomination preparation

  • A separate nomination form must be completed for each eligible book.
  • The Canada Council will make decisions about your eligibility based on the information you provide.
  • You are responsible for providing all the information and support material requested.
  • The Canada Council is not responsible for the loss or damage of material submitted.
  • Submit only the material requested. Extra material will not be shown to the peer assessment committee.
  • In addition to filling out your contact information in the nomination form, please ensure that the information is up to date on the Canada Council’s portal, if you have an account.

Personal information

Personal information collected in this nomination shall be used for purposes related directly to the program, service or activity of the Canada Council.

The Canada Council may share personal information from applications and nominations for awards with officials in other arts and cultural industry funding agencies and government institutions on a confidential basis. Shared information is limited to your name, contact information, field of practice and project description, and is provided to assist with research, reporting, program planning and evaluation, to present networking or economic opportunities, or to respond to federal reviews. For more information on how your personal information is protected, see our Privacy Notice.

Prize terms and conditions

Once the recipients have been contacted, they must agree to keep the results of the competition confidential until the Canada Council makes a public announcement. If successful, the terms and conditions will be outlined in a notification letter.

Participation in promotional and award activities

Winners agree to allow their photographs and public information to be used for promotion of the prize and in other Canada Council promotional initiatives. They are expected to participate in activities related to the award.

In addition to the books submitted to the competition, publishers may be required to provide to the Canada Council, at no cost, additional copies of winning titles for promotional and partnership purposes.

Acknowledgement of Canada Council support

You must acknowledge the support of the Canada Council for the Arts in all promotional material associated with the prize. Details will be included in your notification letter.

Previous winners

Visit the Canada-Japan Literary Awards web page to download a list of past winners.

Instructions – How to submit a nomination?

Send each completed nomination form by email only on or before the deadline date by 11:59 pm (local time) to canadajapan-prizes@canadacouncil.ca.

  • Send each nomination form in a separate email.
  • Enter the book title and name of publisher in the subject line.

If you do not receive a confirmation email within 3 business days, please contact us.

Send your books

  • by mail: Prizes, Canada Council for the Arts, 150 Elgin St., P.O. Box 1047, Ottawa ON K1P 5V8
  • by courier: Prizes, Canada Council for the Arts, 150 Elgin St., 2nd Floor, Ottawa ON K2P 1L4

Books must be postmarked on or before the nomination deadline.

Contact information

Lori Knoll

Program Officer, Prizes


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