- Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award
Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Award
This award was established in 1992 in honour of Jon Whyte, a much-respected writer, historian and community leader in Alberta. He was a poet, storyteller, journalist, curator and conservationist. A passionate master of the English language, Whyte was deeply committed to writing about, researching and advocating for the area in which he grew up – the Rockies around Banff – and its culture and natural history. He wrote or contributed to more than 20 books on the Rockies, and his poetry collection Homage, Henry Kelsey was the inaugural recipient of the WGA’s Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry.
- Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
Wilfrid Eggleston Award for Nonfiction
This award was established in 1982 in honour of Wilfrid Eggleston (1901-1986). Eggleston’s family homesteaded near Manyberries, AB in 1909. He was a teacher with the Golden Prairie School District and later attended Queen’s University and became a journalist. His career included jobs with the Toronto Daily Star and the Reuters News Agency. He headed the school of journalism at Carleton University and was awarded the Order of the Empire in 1943. In addition to his career as a journalist, Eggleston published several non-fiction works, including his memoir Literary Friends (1980).
- Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
Stephan G. Stephansson Award for Poetry
This award was established in 1982 in honour of Stephan G. Stephansson (1853-1927) who immigrated to Alberta and homesteaded near Markerville at the age of 36. He was considered the voice of the Icelandic immigrant community and his poetry expressed the alienation and loneliness felt by many who found themselves belonging neither to their homeland nor their newly adopted country. Considered Iceland’s greatest poet since the 13th century, he was an avid reader, an ardent pacifist and a philosopher. By 1923, five volumes of his poems had been published and a sixth was published posthumously.
- R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
R. Ross Annett Award for Children’s Literature
This award was established in 1982 in honour of children’s author Ronald Ross Annett (1895-1988). Annett is best known for his Babe and Joe series of more than 70 stories in the Saturday Evening Post. His Especially Babe stories, set in Jenner, AB, were collected into a book in 1942 and reprinted by Treefrog Press in 1978. George Melnyk, in The Literary History of Alberta, comments that Annett’s stories dealt with “a family trying to make ends meet on a Depression farm. The stories had simple, homely dialogue and happy endings, comforting words for such uncertain times.”
- James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction
James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction
The James H. Gray Award for Short Nonfiction was established in 2010 in honour of Dr. James H. Gray (1906 – 1998) whose first book, The Winter Years was published when he was 66 years old. He then went on to write a dozen more books including Red Lights on the Prairies and Men Against the Desert, all of which profiled Western Canadian experiences and history. After 12 years as an Ottawa senior correspondent for the Winnipeg Free Press he then became the Editor of the Calgary-based Farm and Ranch Review, and later of the Western Oil Examiner. James H. Gray was inducted into the Alberta Order of Excellence in 1987 and the Order of Canada in 1988.
- Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story
Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Story
This award was established in 1982 in honour of accomplished short story writer Howard O’Hagan (1902-1982). O’Hagan was born in Lethbridge and educated in law at McGill University. He was known as a mountain guide, and lived in Australia, England, the US, and the Alberta Rockies. He authored two novels and two books of short stories. Michael Ondaatje writes that “Howard O’Hagan’s Tay John was one of the first novels to chart important motifs that have become crucial to the work of later western writers.”
- Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
Gwen Pharis Ringwood Award for Drama
This award was established in 1985 in honour of Gwen Pharis Ringwood (1910-1984). Ringwood was born in Washington State in 1910 and moved with her family to a farm near Lethbridge in 1913. She received her Bachelor of Arts degree from the U of A in 1939 and was appointed the registrar of the Banff School of Fine Arts. Her first published play, Still Stands the House, published in 1939, was the most performed one-act play in Canadian theatre. Ringwood was honoured for her achievement with honourary doctorates from both the University of Lethbridge and the University of Victoria and the Governor General’s Medal for outstanding service in the development of Canadian drama.
- George Bugnet Award for Fiction
George Bugnet Award for Fiction
This award was established in 1982 in honour of novelist Georges Bugnet (1879-1981), who immigrated to Canada and homesteaded near Gunn, AB in 1905. Bugnet attended the Sorbonne in Paris, served in the French army and worked as an editor. He was also a botanist, researcher, poet, science fiction writer and novelist. At age 100, Bugnet was awarded a honourary doctorate from the University of Alberta.
- Golden Pen Award
Golden Pen Award
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta’s Golden Pen Award is presented to acknowledge the lifetime achievements of outstanding Alberta writers. Past recipients include W.O. Mitchell, Grant MacEwan, Rudy Wiebe, Myrna Kostash, Robert Kroetsch, Merna Summers, Aritha van Herk, Fred Stenson, and George Melnyk.
- The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize
The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize is awarded in honour of acclaimed Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell. The prize was established in 1996 and is administered by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. The $5000 prize is awarded annually for an outstanding book of fiction, poetry, nonfiction, children’s literature or drama published in the preceding year.
- The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize
The Robert Kroetsch City of Edmonton Book Prize was established by the City Council in 1995 and is administered by the Writers’ Guild of Alberta. The award was named to honour the late Robert Kroetsch. Entries must deal with some aspect of the city of Edmonton: history, geography, current affairs, its arts or its people or be written by an Edmonton author. Entries may be fiction, nonfiction, poetry or drama written for adults or children, published in the preceding year. The winning author will receive a prize of $10,000. The prize is sponsored by Audreys Books and the Edmonton Arts Council.
- The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative
The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative
The Alberta Screenwriters Initiative calls for submissions of feature film scripts of any genre from Alberta writers. An independent jury selects one script/screenplay to receive a workshop with an experienced story editor or screenwriter. The Writers’ Guild of Alberta administers the initiative on behalf of the Alberta Association of Motion Picture and Television Unions (AAMPTU). The initiative recognizes the importance of story in the creation of filmed entertainment and the necessity to actively encourage and develop the voices of Alberta writers in film and television.
- The Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize
The Sharon Drummond Chapbook Prize
Established in 2013 in memory of Calgary poet Sharon Drummond, this award recognizes adult Alberta writers who have not yet published a poetry collection. The winner receives a contract with Rubicon Press, including editorial assistance and publication of the edited chapbook.
Sharon Drummond lived in Calgary from 1976 until her death in 2005. Her 1999 chapbook, Still the Rush, was nominated for the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award. Her first full-length book, Into This Room, was published in 2001. Her final book, Where it Began, was published posthumously in 2006.
The Writers’ Guild of Alberta administers the annual Alberta Literary Awards every year to recognize outstanding Alberta writing. We also administer several additional awards throughout the year. Visit each award’s page below for more information and submission guidelines.
View past shortlists and winners.
Longlist, Frank O’Connor International Short Story Award (The Glorious Mysteries)
Finalist, Howard O’Hagan Award for Short Fiction, 2014 (“Snow,” The Glorious Mysteries)
First Prize, Room Magazine Short Fiction Award, 2009
Runner-Up, Alberta Views Short Fiction Contest, 2008
Finalist, Jon Whyte Memorial Essay Prize, 2008
Third Place, “This Place” Poetry Contest, Legacy Magazine, Spring 2007
Second Place, Prairie Fiction Contest, FreeFall Magazine, Spring 2006
Finalist, Grant MacEwan Authors Award, 2004 (Teaching Places)
Finalist, Wilfred Eggleston Award for Non-Fiction, 2004 (Teaching Places)
Finalist, ForeWord Magazine’s 2004 Book of the Year Award in the Body/Mind/Spirit category (Teaching Places)
Honourable Mention, Writing Towards the Light Poetry Contest, 2004
Highly Commended, Poetry on the Lake. Silver Wyvern Anthology 2002.
Honourable Mention, Going Home Travel Contest, The Edmonton Journal, 1995