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QWF Literary Awards Gala

24 November, 2021 at 19:00 21:00 EST

The winners of six prestigious book prizes will be announced from the Cabaret Lion d’Or, Montreal, in a live-stream broadcast of the Gala, on Wednesday, November 24, 2021, at 7 PM. The QWF Literary Awards Gala will be hosted by Giller Prizewinning author Sean Michaels. Since 1988, the QWF Literary Awards have celebrated the best books and plays published or performed by English-language writers and translators in Quebec, as well as those translating English works from Quebec into French. Each award comes with a purse of $3,000. This year also marks a very special moment in the history of QWF: the unveiling of The Janet Savage Blachford Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature, the first QWF Award to be endowed. Nobody embodied the values of QWF more than Janet Blachford. She was a dedicated and serious writer with a keen sense of humour and a strong community ethic. For years, she volunteered endless hours of her time to serve the organization as a board member, and we are proud to play a role in contributing to her legacy. This year’s finalists

Janet Savage Blachford Prize for Children’s and Young Adult Literature

  • Dani Jansen, The Year Shakespeare Ruined My Life (Second Story Press)
  • Nadine Neema, Journal of a Travelling Girl (Wandering Fox/Heritage House)
  • Monique Polak, Room for One More (Kar-Ben Publishing)
  • Su J. Sokol, Zee (Bouton d’or Acadie)

Concordia University First Book Prize

Sponsored by Concordia University
  • Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch, Knot Body (Metatron Press)
  • Balfour M. Mount, Ten Thousand Crossroads: The Path As I Remember It (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
  • Samir Shaheen-Hussain, Fighting for a Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism Against Indigenous Children in Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press)
  • Aimee Wall, We, Jane (Book*hug Press)

Cole Foundation Prize for Translation (French to English)

  • Sheila Fischman, Em (Random House Canada)*
  • Sarah Henzi, I Am a Damn Savage; What Have You Done to My Country? (Wilfrid Laurier University Press)**
  • Donald Winkler, Orwell in Cuba: How 1984 Came to Be Published in Castro’s Twilight (Talonbooks)***
*A translation of Kim Thúy, Em (Groupe Librex) **A translation of An Antane Kapesh, Je suis une Maudite sauvagesse; Qu’as-tu fait de mon pays? (Mémoire d’Encrier) ***A translation of Frédérick Lavoie, Avant l’Après (La Peuplade Récit)

A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry

Sponsored by two anonymous donors
  • Sarah Burgoyne, Because the Sun (Coach House Books)
  • Klara du Plessis, Hell Light Flesh (Palimpsest Press)
  • Jessie Jones, The Fool (Goose Lane Editions)
  • Sarah Venart, I Am the Big Heart (Brick Books)

Mavis Gallant Prize for Non-fiction

  • Tanya Bellehumeur-Allatt, Peacekeeper’s Daughter: A Middle-East Memoir (Thistledown Press)
  • Karen Messing, Bent Out of Shape (Between the Lines)
  • André Picard, Neglected No More: The Urgent Need to Improve the Lives of Canada’s Elders in the Wake of a Pandemic (Random House Canada)
  • Robyn Sarah, Music, Late and Soon (Biblioasis)
  • Samir Shaheen-Hussain, Fighting for a Hand to Hold: Confronting Medical Colonialism Against Indigenous Children in Canada (McGill-Queen’s University Press)

Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction

Sponsored by Librairie Paragraphe Bookstore
  • Mikhail Iossel, Love Like Water, Love Like Fire (Bellevue Literary Press)
  • Saleema Nawaz, Songs for the End of the World (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Aimee Wall, We, Jane (Book*hug Press)
  • Kathleen Winter, Undersong (Knopf Canada)


Also announced at the Gala will be the winners of three other prizes. The carte blanche Prize will be awarded to a Quebec writer in recognition of their outstanding submission to carte blanche, QWF’s online literary journal. The honorary Judy Mappin Community Award will be bestowed upon a person who has contributed to the advancement of Quebec’s English-language literary community. The new QWF College Writers Award will be awarded for the best short story, poem, or work of nonfiction written in English between August 15, 2020 and June 4, 2021 by a student at one of the six sponsoring colleges: Champlain, Dawson, Heritage, John Abbott, Marianopolis, and Vanier.


Participants are invited to watch the premiere live-stream of the Gala on Wednesday, November 24 at 7 PM at the QWF YouTube page. The QWF is also inviting viewers to participate in the QWF Maskerade, taking place in the half hour before the Gala airs. Beginning at 6:30 PM on November 24, viewers are invited to take a picture of themselves at home, ready to watch the event in their Venetian masks. Post the photo on FacebookInstagram or Twitter using #QWFMASKERADE: All who do will be entered into a draw to win a collection of the award-winning books. More information about the shortlisted authors, including photos and book summaries, is online at the QWF Literary Database, http://quebecbooks.qwf.org.


24 November, 2021
19:00 – 21:00 EST
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