Award shines a spotlight on debut authors – includes monetary prize and marketing support for books across three genres

TorontoJanuary 24, 2017 – Rakuten Kobo, one of the world’s most innovative eReading services, today announced it is now accepting submissions for its third annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. The prize identifies, and puts at the forefront of the competitive publishing industry, exceptional books written by first-time authors from three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (this year Speculative Fiction; a different genre is showcased each year), and Non-Fiction. Each winning author will be awarded a $10,000 CAD cash prize as well as promotional, marketing, and communications support, with the winners announced in June.

“We must always remember that before Munro was Munro, or Atwood was Atwood, they were first-time writers in search of readers. New writers are essential if we wish to continue to have a vital and compelling literary culture,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO, Rakuten Kobo. “We focus on debut writers because breaking through with a new book can be difficult in the world of online sales, where factors such as sales history and click-through rates directly affect its discoverability. As such, with this prize we complement the monetary award with promotional support to help find more readers and new audiences for the winning titles.”

This year, the final winners will be selected by top Canadian authors – Zoe Whittall for Literary Fiction, Kelley Armstrong for Speculative Fiction, and Ross King for Non-Fiction. They will choose from a shortlist determined by Kobo’s team of booksellers taking into account reading data.

Submissions will be accepted at www.kobo.com/emergingwriter until March 3 for debut books published in 2016 by Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada, in any of three categories. Submissions can be made by publishers or directly by authors. Traditionally published and self-published books are eligible for submission.

To explore the winning titles of the 2016 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, please visit: https://www.kobo.com/emergingwriterprize



Eligibility: The award is eligible to Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents of Canada who have published debut books during the 2016 calendar year in the categories of Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction this year; a different genre highlighted each year), or Non-Fiction. All submitted books must be available at Kobo.com.

Nomination process: Publishers and authors (traditionally published and self-published) can submit debut books published in 2016 at www.kobo.com/emergingwriter.

Selection: The author judges will select winners from a shortlist created by Kobo booksellers based on a combination of literary merit and reader engagement – completion rates, ratings, and reviews may be considered.

For more details, and Official Rules: www.kobo.com/emergingwriter



Zoe Whittall – Author Judge – Literary Fiction

whittall_zoe_portraitZoe Whittall is the award-winning author of The Best Kind of People (2016), which was a finalist for the Scotiabank Giller Prize and selected as Indigo’s Number One Book of the Year. She is also the author of The Best Ten Minutes of Your Life (2001), The Emily Valentine Poems (2006), and Precordial Thump (2008), and the editor of Geeks, Misfits, & Outlaws (2003). Her debut novel Bottle Rocket Hearts (2007) made the Globe and Mail Top 100 Books of the Year and CBC Canada Reads’ Top Ten Essential Novels of the Decade. Her second novel Holding Still for as Long as Possible (2009) won a Lambda Literary Award and was an American Library Association Stonewall Honor Book. She was awarded the K.M. Hunter Artist Award for Literature in 2016. Her writing has appeared in the Walrus, the Believer, the Globe and Mail, the National Post, Fashion, and more. She has also worked as a writer and story editor on the TV shows Degrassi, Schitt’s Creek, and the Baroness Von Sketch Show. Born in the Eastern Townships of Quebec, she has an MFA from the University of Guelph and lives in Toronto.

Kelley Armstrong – Author Judge – Genre Fiction (Speculative Fiction)

Photo © Kathryn HollinrakeKelley Armstrong is the internationally bestselling author of the thirteen-book Women of the Otherworld series, the Nadia Stafford crime novels and the Cainsville series, which includes the novels Omens, Visions, Deceptions and Betrayals. She is also the author of the hit crime novels City of the Lost and A Darkness Absolute, three bestselling young adult trilogies, and the stand-alone YA suspense thriller, The Masked Truth.


Ross King – Author Judge – Non-Fiction

15736_king_rossRoss King is the author of The Judgment of ParisBrunelleschi’s DomeMichelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling, Defiant Spirits: The Modernist Revolution of the Group of Seven, Leonardo and the Last Supper and most recently, Mad Enchantment: Claude Monet and the Painting of the Water Lilies. He has twice won the Governor General’s Award for Non-Fiction (for The Judgment of Paris and Leonardo and the Last Supper). Born and raised in Canada, he holds degrees from the University of Regina, York University in Toronto and University College, London. He now lives near Oxford, England.


About Rakuten Kobo Inc.

Owned by Tokyo-based Rakuten and headquartered in Toronto, Rakuten Kobo Inc. is one of the world’s most innovative eReading services offering more than 5 million eBooks to millions of customers in 190 countries. Believing that consumers should have the freedom to read any book on any device, Kobo provides people with a choice when reading. Kobo offers an eReader for everyone with a wide variety of E Ink eReaders to suit any Reader’s style including the Kobo Aura, Kobo Aura H2O, and Kobo Aura ONE. Along with the company’s free top-ranking eReading apps for Apple®, BlackBerry®, Android®, and Windows®, Kobo ensures the next great read is just a page-turn away. Kobo’s award-wining eReaders can be found in major retail chains around the world. For more information, visit www.kobo.com.


Please note that this contest is only open to Canadian authors

All Media Contacts and Questions regarding Kobo Emerging Writer Prize should be directed to pr@kobo.com


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