Alberta Readers' Choice Award
2015 Alberta Readers' Choice Award Submissions Now Open!
The deadline to submit books for the 2015 Alberta Readers' Choice Award is Wednesday, December 31, 2014.
Sponsored by the Edmonton Public Library, the Edmonton Public Library Alberta Readers' Choice Award is awarded annually for the best fiction or narrative non-fiction written by an Alberta author. The $10,000 award - presented annually by the Edmonton Public Library and one of Alberta's richest literary prizes - recognized the exceptional writing talent in Alberta and encourages readers to support Alberta authors.
In early 2015 all the books submitted will be narrowed down to a top5 list and the public will go to the polls (www.epl.ca/alberta-readers-choice) to cast their votes in the spring. The winner of the 2015 Alberta Readers' Choice Award will be announced later in 2015.
Sponsored by the Edmonton Public Library, the Edmonton Public Library Alberta Readers’ Choice Award is awarded annually for the best fiction or narrative non-fiction book written by an Alberta author. The prize is valued at $10,000 with the prize going to the winning author.
a. Only works of fiction, narrative non-fiction, and poetry are eligible. Books must be a first edition full-length novel, short story collection or book of poetry written by an Alberta author who has been a resident of Alberta for a minimum of 12 consecutive months immediately prior to the publication of the submitted work, and who currently resides in Alberta.
b. Books must be published between January 1, 2014 and December 31, 2014 for the 2015 Award.
c. The primary language of the work must be English. Previous publication of the book in another language does not disqualify it. In the case of a translation, the original work must be Alberta- authored and it must have been published no more than three years prior to its English translation.
d. All books must carry an ISBN number, be distributed for sale in Alberta and be available in Alberta bookstores, online bookstores or Alberta libraries.
e. Unpublished manuscripts are not eligible.
f. Reprints or new format reprints of any kind are not eligible.
g. Selections and collections of poetry and short stories that have been previously published in magazines are eligible.
h. Multi-author anthologies are not eligible.
i. With the exception of poetry collections, works must be 48 pages or longer.
a. Request for submissions will be posted to the following websites; the Edmonton Public Library Alberta Readers’ Choice page on the Edmonton Public Library website, the Book Publishers Association of Alberta, the Writers Guild of Alberta and the Canadian Authors Association.
b. Entries may be submitted by authors, publishers or other interested parties.
c. Each submission must be accompanied by two printed copies of the book, which will not be returned to the author or publisher.
d. Each entry must be accompanied by the submission form, a current author biography, and a high resolution electronic image (minimum 300 DPI) of the author and book cover sent by email that can be reproduced for publicity purposes.
e. Entries must be mailed to:
Edmonton Public Library Alberta Readers’ Choice Award
Attn: Diego Ibarra
Stanley A. Milner Library
7 Sir Winston Churchill Square
f. Entries must be postmarked no later than December 31, 2014. Books received or postmarked after the deadline will not be eligible.
Selection Procedures and Jury
a. Edmonton Public Library's Alberta Readers' Choice Award Team will serve as the jury.
b. The jury will shortlist the best books on the basis of literary quality, with no consideration given to publisher, geography, gender, or ethnicity.
c. The jury will shortlist no more than 5 titles to be voted on by Alberta readers. The jury will select the shortlist in private deliberations.
d. The jury will only discuss submissions with their fellow jurors.
e. The decision of the jury is binding.
f. The decision of the jury as to whether a book is eligible shall be binding.
a. The shortlist of finalists will be announced with a press release in February 2015 (tentative).
b. Publicity promoting the Edmonton Public Library Readers Choice Award will begin at the time of the shortlist announcement and continue until after the winner is declared.
c. The winner of the Edmonton Public Library Alberta Readers’ Choice Award will be announced at the Book Publishers Association of Alberta Awards Gala in October 2015 .
a. Public voting will take place online.
b. Public voting will take place during a minimum 4 week voting period ending approximately one week before the award is announced.
c. In order to maintain fairness while still providing the best opportunity for the public to vote for their favourite book, voting for the Alberta Readers' Choice Award is limited to one vote per computer. Some computers that share a network may not all be able to cast separate votes.
d. Votes will be tabulated electronically, and the author with the most votes will be declared the winner.
Conditions of the Prize
a. The author of the winning book will participate in all reasonable publicity associated with the Edmonton Public Library Alberta Readers’ Choice Award.
Past Award Winners
2014 Alberta Readers' Choice Award
About Almost a Great Escape
About Tyler Trafford
Tyler Trafford worked for many years as a reporter and editor first with the Calgary Herald, then in Australia with the Australian and later with the Fort Lauderdale Sun-Sentinel. When he returned to Canada, he began writing biographies, histories, and works of fiction, including The Story of Blue Eye, which was shortlisted for the 2005 Grant McEwan Author's Award. He now divides his time between Calgary and his studio on the Oldman River near Pincher Creek, Alberta.
2013 Alberta Readers' Choice Award
The Shore Girl
by Fran Kimmel
Published by NeWest Press
About The Shore Girl
Rebee Shore's life is fragmented. She's forever on the move, ricocheting around Alberta, guided less than capably by her dysfunctional mother Elizabeth.
The Shore Girl follows Rebee from her todder to ther teen years as she grapples with ther mother's fears and addictions, and her own desire for a normal life. Through a series of narrators-family, friends, teachers, strangers, and Rebee herself-her family's dark past, adn the core of her mother's despair, are slowly revealed. The Shore Girl is a mosaic of Rebee: of her origins, of her past and present; from darkness and grief, to understanding and hope for a brighter future.
About Fran Kimmel
Fran Kimmel was born and raised in Calgary. After graduating from the University of Calgary with a degree in Sociology, she worked an eclectic mix of jobs including youth worker, career counsellor, proposal writer, and a ten-year stint as a VP for a career consulting firm. Fran's stories have appeared in literary journals across Canada and have twice been nominated for the Jurney Prize. Fran currently lives in Lacombe with her husband and overly enthusiastic silver lab. This is her first novel.
2012 Alberta Readers' Choice Award
Fall From Grace
by Wayne Arthurson
Published by Forge Books
About Fall From Grace
Leo Desroches goes straight—off the streets, into the newsroom, and up to his neck in murder.
Marking the debut of Leo Desroches, one of the most unusual amateur detectives ever to appear in Canada or points south, this fast-paced, enthralling mystery is the story of a man who had everything, lost it all, and is trying to get it back. Leo Desroches doesn’t look like a native, but his mother was Cree, and he understands the problems of indigenous Canadians of the First Nations... which is probably why the Edmonton newspaper he writes for decides he should be their Aboriginal Issues reporter.
He has his own issues to deal with: his compulsive gambling that he couldn’t stop even after it cost him his wife and children; his alcoholism; the risk-taking that threatens to derail him every time he starts to get his life back together.
When he’s assigned to cover the murder of a young native prostitute, it’s just one more story...until the cop in charge lets him view the corpse, something the Edmonton police never do. When Leo writes his article, it starts a chain of events that leads him to discover a much, much bigger story, one that could bring down the entire police department...if it doesn’t get him killed.
About Wayne Arthurson
Wayne Arthurson is an aboriginal writer / musician who lives in Edmonton. He is the author of four history books, two novels, and countless magazine articles.
2011 Alberta Readers' Choice Award
Letters from the Lost
By Helen Waldstein Wilkes
Published by AU Press
About Letters from the Lost
On March 15, 1939, Helen Waldstein’s father snatched his stamped exit visa from a distracted clerk to escape from Prague with his wife and child. As the Nazis closed in on a war-torn Czechoslovakia, only letters from their extended family could reach Canada through the barriers of conflict. The Waldstein family received these letters as they made their lives on a southern Ontario farm, where they learned to be Canadian and forget their Jewish roots.
Helen Waldstein read these letters as an adult―this changed everything. As her past refused to keep silent, Helen followed the trail of the letters back to Europe, where she discovered living witnesses who could attest to the letters’ contents. She has here interwoven their stories and her own into a compelling narrative of suffering, survivor guilt, and overcoming intergenerational obstacles when exploring a traumatic past.
About Helen Waldstein Wilkes
Since receiving her Ph.D in French Literature, Helen Waldstein Wilkes spent 30 years teaching at every level in Canada and in the U.S. Her research interests include cross-cultural understanding, language acquisition, and neurolinguistics. Now retired and living in Vancouver, she is actively examining her own cultural inheritance and its impact.
2010 Alberta Readers' Choice Award
Fishing for Bacon
By Michael Davie
Published by NeWest Press
About Fishing for Bacon
My name’s Bacon Sobelowski, and I’m trying to find my someone. Kenny Rogers sings a song that says there’s someone for everyone, and in Bellevue where I live, Kenny Rogers’ word is gold. It’s just too bad my mother thinks girls turn boys into pigs, but that’s probably just because my father had enough of her Eggos and walked out.
But maybe she’s right. I’m not sure if Sarah is my someone because she got mad and smashed chili peppers into a cut on my head, and maybe my someone wouldn’t do that. Karla could be it because she lets me stay at her condo, but she might be too old to be my someone. Then there’s Mr. Kwon’s daughter, but she’s sort of my cousin and I’m not sure if sort-of cousins can be someones at the same time.
I think it might all come down to timing, and if that’s true then I’m in trouble. I’m Bacon Sobelowski—who knows if I’ll ever find my someone.
"Fishing for Bacon is raw, pungent, funny, and strangely poignant. Michael Davie is one of the most engaging authors to emerge in some time. And now, if you'll excuse me, I have a sudden craving for beef dip.” —Will Ferguson, author of Spanish Fly
"I wish success on any book that has the word 'bacon' in the title." —Dennis Cass, author of Head Case: How I Almost Lost My Mind Trying to Understand My Brain
About Michael Davie
While Michael Davie has lived in South Korea, it was his years spent in the Rocky Mountain towns of Waterton, Banff, Canmore, and Jasper, living immersed in an often eccentric resort subculture, that most influenced his creative output, first in publishing a cartoon series, The Last Resort, then in literature with his first novel, Fishing for Bacon.
Davie, who is originally from Lethbridge, graduated from the University of Lethbridge with a Bachelor of Management and studied Creative Writing at the University of Calgary and the Victoria School of Writing. He and his family now live in Victoria, BC.
2014 Alberta Readers' Choice Award Final 5
The following titles represent the final five titles as chosen by the jurors.
Almost a Great Escape
The Unfinished Child
2014 Alberta Readers' Choice Award Top 10
The following titles represent the top ten titles for the 2014 Alberta Readers Choice Award. The jurors will determine the final five titles. The public will be able to vote for their favorite book starting on May 1, 2014.
A Bitter Mood of Clouds
Almost a Great Escape
Love at Last Sight
The Last Temptation on Bond
The Unfinished Child
In 2014, the Alberta Readers Choice Award (ARCA) enters its 5th Year. ARCA has selected five individuals from across Alberta to serve as members of the 2014 ARCA Jury. The ARCA Jury plays an important role in determining the eventual ARCA winner. Jurors are expected to read the 10 titles that have been longlisted by the Alberta Library Community on the basis of literary quality, with no consideration given to publisher, geography, gender, or ethnicity. Jurors then discuss submissions with other jurors in private deliberations and select the top 5 titles that will be presented to the Alberta reading public for the final decision. We looked for individuals who are excited by an opportunity to promote Alberta literature of all types, and who are willing and able to read all of the wonderful submissions that make it to the ARCA longlist.
The 2014 Alberta Readers' Choice Award Jurors
Anne Bailey is the Senior Issues and Communications Manager, University Relations, at the University of Alberta. Anne holds a Ph.D. in Specialization, Canadian Literature from the University of Western Ontario and has a MA in English from Queen's University. In addition to being an expert in literary arts and publishing in Alberta & Canada, she is also a published author and literary critic.
Amanda Connolly is a reporter with CBC Calgary and has a Bachelor of Journalism from Carleton University. Amanda is also a published author and is passionate about supporting local writers. She loves books, travelling, history, and bone-dry cappuccinos.
Deb Isbister has a Degree in Education and has worked as a Youth Services Librarian for the past 17 years at the Red Deer Public Library. She's an avid reader of both Children's and Young Adult materials and see's this as a fantastic opportunity to share opinions, recommendations and love of the genre.
Breanna Mroczek is a freelance writer in Edmonton with a BA Honours in English from the University of Calgary and a MA in English from the University of Alberta. She works in magazine publishing as Assistant Editor of Where Edmonton magazine, and volunteer contributor for Glass Buffalo magazine. Breanna loves reading and promotes local authors and literature at various local literary events.
Christine Sheppard is the Executive Director of the Library Association of Alberta which is a not-for-profit organization that offers members continuing education, advocacy, grants and scholarships, and assistance with library-related issues. Christine manages the Association including member services and continuing education. She loves to read and has a wealth of experience with all types of literature.
April 11, 2012
Five Alberta authors vie for $10,000 award
January 18, 2011
Alberta Readers’ Choice Award Reveals 2011 Book Champions Panel
March 1, 2010
Alberta Readers’ Choice Award Names Top 5 Books
January 26, 2010
Alberta Readers' Choice Award Announces Juror Panel
December 4, 2009
Alberta Readers' Choice Award Announces Semi-Finalists
October 23, 2009
Alberta Readers' Choice Award Call for Votes Begins
May 12, 2009
EPL and the BPAA Sponsor $10,000 Publishing Award
In the Media
- Edmonton Journal, June 10, 2012 - Edmonton author Arthurson wins $10,000 book prize
- Edmonton Examiner, May 17, 2012 - Get your vote in for Alberta Readers' Choice Award
- Edmonton Journal, May 12, 2012 - Title bout approaches final round
- CBC Daybreak Alberta, May 5, 2012 - Russell Bowers interviews Judy Schultz, author of Freddy's War
- CBC Daybreak Alberta, April 28, 2012 - Russell Bowers interviews Tim Bowling, author of In the Suicide's Library (first of five interviews with ARC Award finalists)
- Edmonton Journal, April 15, 2012 - $10,000 prize nominees all local
- Edmonton Journal, December 21, 2011 - Book prize for Albertans only
- CBC Daybreak Alberta, June 12, 2011 - Winner Helen Waldstein-Wilkes on Daybreak Alberta with host Russell Bowers
- Edmonton Journal, June 12, 2011 - Journal columnist wins top fiction award
- Canmore Leader, May 25, 2011 - Manifesto championed for message and storytelling
- CBC Daybreak Alberta, May 22, 2011 - Listen to all five book champions on Daybreak Alberta with host Russell Bowers
- The Leduc Rep, May 20, 2011 - Local author competes for one of Alberta's largest literary prizes
- Grande Prairie Daily Herald-Tribune, April 29, 2011 - Alberta Readers' Choice Award nominees announced
- Regina Leader-Post, April 24, 2011 - Voting begins May 1 for finalists in $10,000 Alberta book prize
- Edmonton Journal, April 23, 2011 - Finalists chosen for $10,000 Alberta book prize
- Calgary Herald, April 22, 2011 - Five Alberta authors nominated for $10,000 Readers' Choice book awards
- Canmore Leader, April 20, 2011 - Grizzly Manifesto makes top five
- Rocky Mountain Outlook, March 17, 2011 - Grizzly story makes top 10
- Edmonton Journal, January 23, 2011 - Searching for Alberta's top book
- Calgary Herald, May 16, 2010 - Calgary author captures $10,000 Alberta book prize
- Edmonton Journal, May 16, 2010 - Calgary author wins $10,000 Alberta book prize
- CBC News, May 16, 2010 - Calgarian's teen novel captures first Alberta readers' prize
- Calgary Herald, April 11, 2010 - Albertans have their say on who wins inaugural literary prize
- Crowsnest Pass Promoter, April 9, 2010 - Crowsnest Pass makes the shortlist
- Edmonton Journal, Mar. 1, 2010 - Short list finalized for Alberta Readers' Choice Award
- Edmonton Journal, Jan. 29, 2010 – Alberta readers can choose a winner
For all media enquiries, please contact:
Senior Marketing Communications Consultant