Announcing the finalists for the Concordia University First Book Prize

Posted on: 13 October, 2020

Category: QWF Awards

Today, we announce the finalists for the Concordia University First Book Prize, sponsored by Concordia University. QWF is proud to have its First Book Prize sponsored by Concordia University, which offers the only BA and MA English-language Creative Writing programs in Quebec. The prize is awarded to a debut work of fiction, non-fiction or poetry written by an English-language writer in Quebec. The prize comes with a purse of $3,000.

This year’s jury was composed of writers Hasan Namir of Vancouver, Naomi Steinberg of Vancouver, and RM Vaughan of Montreal.

The three finalists in the category are:

Kama La Mackerel for ZOM-FAM

Published byMetonymy Press

From the jury: “It is refreshing and nourishing to read that zom-fam have historically been acknowledged in Mauritian culture… The book recounts difficult experiences and feelings, yet the writing persists and uplifts, ending with a strong note of acceptance and celebration.”

Madelaine Caritas Longman for The Danger Model

Published byMcGill-Queen’s University Press

From the jury: “A vivid, fearless re-visiting of beloved free verse tropes, from dense, manic prose poems to singing, call-and-response, otherworldly hymns. A generous book, The Danger Model hardly feels like a first book. Rather the opposite – a collected works by a senior poet.”

Yusuf Saadi for Pluviophile

Published byNightwood Editions

From the jury, “Dreamy and blue, Pluviophile is romantic and yet filled with hidden dangers. This is stealth poetry, it sneaks up on you and leaves a tiny, piercing mark on your brain. Saadi doesn’t “play” with language, he juggles it, punts it, and sometimes massages it like a lover. A beautiful book.”

Congratulations to all the finalists and their publishers!

Be sure to tune in to QWF’s YouTube page, or visit our website, at 11:00 am every day from October 13-19 to discover the finalists in all of the categories, as they too are announced. Visit the page now and set your reminders!

You can buy copies of the shortlisted works by visiting Paragraphe Bookstore’s website. Paragraphe has a special page dedicated to the QWF Awards finalists with all titles available at a discount.


The winners of this year’s prizes will be announced during a special celebratory video broadcast Gala at on Wednesday, November 4th. Watch the video with the rest of the community as it premieres at 7:00 pm on QWF’s YouTube page.

For those of you who want even more interaction, we invite you to take part in the QWF Red Carpet, taking place in the half hour before the Gala airs. Beginning at 6:30 PM, take a picture of your at-home gala garb and post in on either our Facebook page or on Instagram and Twitter using #QWFGala2020. All who do will be entered into a draw to win a collection of the award-winning books.

Also, immediately following the Gala broadcast, the QWF will be hosting a Zoom After Party. This will give everyone a chance to rub virtual elbows and connect on what would normally be the social event of Quebec’s English-language writing community. Check back to, or QWF’s Facebook page at a later date for the URL.

Let us know you are attending the Gala by RSVPing on Facebook: