Note: Due to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, we have extended the deadline for submitting all remaining nominations for these prizes to October 1, 2020. The competition results will be announced in 2021. Submissions received while isolation measures are in place in Ontario will not be processed until the measures have been lifted.
Governor General's Literary Awards
The Canada Council for the Arts celebrates the best in Canadian literature: our Governor General’s Literary Awards recognize finalists and winners in seven categories, in both official languages, for readers of all ages.
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What is this prize?
The Governor General's Literary Awards are presented in recognition of the best English-language and best French-language book in each of the following seven categories: Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Young People's Literature – Text, Young People's Literature – Illustrated Books and Translation (from French to English and vice versa).
- 14 awards of $25,000 per book for winners in both languages in the seven categories and a $3,000 grant to each publisher to promote the winning works
- $1,000 per book for the finalists
How to qualify
For complete eligibility criteria and the nomination form, refer to the Governor General’s Literary Awards Guidelines.
Books must be submitted to the Canada Council by an eligible publisher.
Peer assessment committees review all eligible titles in each of the 7 categories. Each committee chooses a winner, and up to 4 more books as finalists.
For further information on these prizes, visit the Governor General’s Literary Awards website.
Deadlines align with the book publication date. For details, refer to the guidelines.
- March 15, 2020: for books in English published September 1, 2019 - February 29, 2020 and for books in French published July 1, 2019 – February 29, 2020.
- October 1, 2020: for books in English published March 1, 2020 – September 30, 2020 and for books in French published March 1, 2020 to June 30, 2020.
Note: Books must arrive at the Canada Council offices no later than the deadline date.
Who created this prize?
In 1936, His Excellency the Right Honourable John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir, was approached by members of the Canadian Authors Association to establish a system of literary prizes. He agreed to lend the name of his office in order to stimulate writers and encourage a deeper interest in their work among the general public. As a result of these talks, the Governor General's Literary Awards were created. In 1959, the Canada Council for the Arts assumed responsibility for them and added prizes for works written in French. In 1987, three categories were added: Translation and the two children's literature categories (text and illustration), which are now known as Young People’s Literature – Text and Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books.
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