Amazon Canada and The Walrus Announce the Shortlist for the 44th Annual First Novel Award

The Adult Novel and Youth Short Story awards will be announced on Thursday, June 25th

SEATTLE, June 9, 2020 /CNW/ - (NASDAQ: AMZN) - Amazon Canada and The Walrus today announced the shortlists for the 44th annual First Novel Award (, which honours the achievements of Canadian authors and their debut novels, as well as young writers and their short stories. The winner of the grand prize will receive $60,000, with $6,000 going to each of the shortlisted authors. The winner of the Youth Short Story category will be awarded $5,000 and a virtual mentorship workshop with The Walrus editors.

The finalists for the 2020 Amazon Canada First Novel Award, listed alphabetically, are:

    --  The Western Alienation Merit Badge, Nancy Jo Cullen (Wolsak and Wynn
        Publishers/Buckrider Books)
    --  Going Dutch, James Gregor (Simon & Schuster)
    --  Mooncalves, Victoria Hetherington (Now Or Never Publishing)
    --  Aria, Nazanine Hozar (Penguin Random House Canada/Knopf Canada)
    --  The Dishwasher, Stéphane Larue (Biblioasis/Biblioasis International
        Translation Series)
    --  When We Were Vikings, Andrew David MacDonald (Simon & Schuster)

This year's shortlist for the Youth Short Story category, listed alphabetically, are:

    --  74 Percent of the Victims of Nonfamily Abductions are Girls, Cate
    --  Remnants of an Orange, Yaani Dinu Mahapatuna
    --  Bibi & Me, Nazanin Soghrati

This year's panel of judges is composed of Liz Harmer, a Journey Prize and Flannery O'Connor Award for Short Fiction finalist whose debut novel The Amateurs was a finalist for the 2019 Amazon Canada First Novel Award; Shani Mootoo, author of multiple the novels including Cereus Blooms at Night (shortlisted for the Giller Prize and longlisted for the Booker Prize); and Anakana Schofield, author of recently published Bina: A Novel in Warnings (Knopf Canada, Fleet, Little Brown UK), and whose debut novel Malarky (2012) won the 2012 First Novel Award. The judge for the youth category is Chelene Knight, author of the poetry collection Braided Skin and the memoir Dear Current Occupant (winner of the 2018 Vancouver Book Award). Read more about our judges here.

"Amazon Canada is proud to sponsor an initiative that helps Canadians discover talented, emerging local authors," said Mike Strauch, Country Manager for Amazon Canada. "Each of this year's shortlisted authors has a unique voice that deserves to be celebrated. We congratulate them on their achievements, and wish them the greatest success."

Given the current circumstances, there will be no physical award ceremony and the winner will be announced virtually the morning of Thursday, June 25. The prize money will be awarded as usual, and author promotion will proceed as originally planned as Amazon Canada maintains its support of Canadian writers in these difficult times. All of the shortlisted novels are available on, in print and Kindle editions. Additionally, The Western Alienation Merit Badge, Going Dutch, Aria, The Dishwasher, and When We Were Vikings, are all currently available as audiobooks through

Since its establishment in 1976, the Amazon Canada First Novel Award has helped launch the careers of some of Canada's most beloved novelists, including Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W. P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Anne Michaels, André Alexis, Michael Redhill, Mary Lawson, Colin McAdam, Joan Thomas, and David Bezmozgis.

For additional information about the finalists and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, visit or

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About The Walrus
The Walrus provokes new thinking and sparks conversation on matters vital to Canadians. As a registered charity, we publish independent, fact-based journalism in The Walrus and at, we produce national, ideas-focused events, including our flagship series The Walrus Talks, and we train emerging professionals in publishing and non-profit management.

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For more information, or to book an interview, please contact, or at 905-466-3624.

SOURCE Amazon Canada