Announcing the finalists for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction

Posted on: 19 October, 2020

Category: QWF Awards

Today, we announce the finalists for the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction, sponsored by Montreal’s Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore. It comes with a purse of $3,000.

This year’s jury was composed of writers Douglas Babington of Montreal, Amanda Leduc of Hamilton, Ontario, and Peter Behrens of Brooklin, Maine.

The four finalists in the category are:

Endre Farkas for Home Game

Published by Signature Editions

From the jury: “This novel is imbued with political tensions of the late 60s — from the socialism of Hungary to the Arab-Israeli War of 1967. But much of its literary force derives from depictions of Montreal.… Indeed, the city becomes a character in its own right, providing Tommy with sharply rendered settings for his adventures.… Farkas is a writer in full control of his sentences.”

Kaie Kellough for Dominoes at the Crossroads

Published by Véhicule Press/Esplanade Books

From the jury: “Dominoes is many things all at once — a meta-fiction, a wistful nod to the past, a relentless turn toward the future and an expertly crafted celebration of language in all of its shifting musicality. The character of Kaie Kellough is ever-present throughout the book, both as an actual character and as a presence, infiltrating and influencing the characters that come after…. This is a collection that wants, and succeeds, in being more than the sum of its parts — a linked galaxy of worlds that brim with sorrow and fierce, uncompromising joy.”

Sean Michaels for The Wagers

Published by Random House Canada

From the jury: “At once a careful meditation on the hopes and dreams that we have for ourselves and also a fast-paced, electric thriller that sparkles with magic — of both the actual and the word kind — The Wagers is a moving portrayal of what it means to realize the life that you’ve grown into, versus the life that you might once have imagined…. This novel makes the impossible seem delightfully commonplace and leaves the reader alive to the magic that sits all around us.”

Ceilidh Michelle for Butterflies, Zebras, Moonbeams

Published by Palimpsest Press

From the jury: “Butterflies is a sharply observed realist tale of wayward Romantics living the creative, messy lives that dreams — and nightmares — are made of… Books must be about language and I appreciate the stern way Michelle handles language here, stripping diction and syntax down to simple. There’s nothing overripe. The prose works like clean hard chords on a guitar.”

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: