Indigenous writers up for First Novel Award

Monday, May 13th, 2019 3:54pm



The winner will receive $60,000 and each of the six finalists will receive $6,000 in prize money.

Split Tooth by Tanya Tagaq, an Inuk throat singer from Cambridge Bay, Nunavut, and Jonny Appleseed by Joshua Whitehead of Peguis First Nation are nominated for the 43rd annual First Novel Award from Amazon Canada and The Walrus Foundation.

The award honours the achievements of Canadian authors and their debut novels. The winner will receive $60,000 and each of the six finalists will receive $6,000 in prize money. The winner will be announced at the annual Amazon Canada First Novel Award ceremony on May 22 at the Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto.

The event will be hosted by the CBC's Shelagh Rogers and will feature guest speaker and Man Booker Prize–winning novelist Yann Martel.

The finalists for the 2019 Amazon Canada First Novel Award, alphabetically, are:

The Amateurs, Liz Harmer (Knopf Canada)

Searching for Terry Punchout, Tyler Hellard (Invisible Publishing)

Little Fish, Casey Plett (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Split Tooth, Tanya Tagaq (Viking Canada)

Jonny Appleseed, Joshua Whitehead (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Reproduction, Ian Williams (Penguin Random House Canada)

"I am always impressed by the talent the First Novel Award nominees,” said Mike Strauch, Country Manager for Amazon Canada.

"We have such a unique range of novels to celebrate, from authors that represent a broad spectrum of backgrounds and life experiences. In addition, watching the accomplished careers of some of our past First Novel Award winners is inspiring and reinforces our commitment to supporting and developing Canadian talent."

Established in 1976, the First Novel Award program has launched the careers of some of Canada's most beloved novelists. Previous winners include Michael Ondaatje, Joan Barfoot, Joy Kogawa, W. P. Kinsella, Nino Ricci, Rohinton Mistry, Michael Redhill, Mona Awad, Katherena Vermette, and Michael Kaan. 

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