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  3. Governor General's Literary Awards

Governor General's Literary Awards

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For the winners and finalists, the awards bring valuable recognition from peers and readers across the country.

They are an opportunity to promote Canadian literature and to invite people of all ages and backgrounds to read great books!


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 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).

Prize amount

  • 14 awards of $25,000 per book for winners in both languages in the seven categories and $3,000 to each publisher to promote the winning works
  • $1,000 per book for the finalists

How to qualify

Books must be submitted to the Council by an eligible publisher.

A peer assessment committee selects the winning book in each of the categories from all nominations received.

For eligibility criteria, the nomination form and further information on these prizes, refer to the Governor General's Literary Awards Guidelines and visit the Governor General's Literary Awards website.


  • 15 March: for books in English and French
  • 1 June: for English books only
  • 7 July: for French books only
  • 1 August: for English books only

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 Prizes were created. In 1959, the Canada Council for the Arts assumed responsibility for the prizes and added prizes for works written in French. In 1987, three categories were added: Translation and 2 children's literature categories (text and illustration), which are now Young People’s Literature – Text and Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books.

Further Information

Lori Knoll

Program Officer

E-mail: Lori.knoll@canadacouncil.ca

613-566-4414, ext. 5573

Toll free: 1-800-263-5588, ext. 5573

Fax: (613) 566-4390

TTY: 1-866-585-5559

Next Deadline

March, 2019
June, 2019
August, 2019


Prize Amount

$1,000 -

By Nomination

Cumulative list of winners

We are committed to equity in all our activities, including the administration of our prizes.