Book Awards
Submission Guidelines

2022 Awards: Submissions closed on November 1, 2021

1. Eligibility Criteria

Nova Scotia Book Awards

  • Evelyn Richardson Non-Fiction Award ($2,000 prize): awarded for a book of creative non-fiction (a narrative non-fiction book, a collection of essays, a biography, a memoir, or a long-form academic publication that offers a complex and reflective narrative about original research) written or co-written by a full-time resident of Nova Scotia* that was published and/or distributed for the first time in Canada in the year prior to and including the submission deadline. For the 2023 award, the eligibility year runs from November 2, 2021, to November 1, 2022.
  • Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award ($500 prize): awarded for a book of poetry written or co-written by a full-time resident of Nova Scotia* that was published and/or distributed for the first time in Canada in the two years prior to and including the submission deadline. Because this award is biennial, each cycle of the award covers two publication years. For the 2023 award, the eligibility years run from November 2, 2020, to November 1, 2022.

* Full-time residents of Nova Scotia are those who have lived in Nova Scotia for at least two consecutive years immediately prior to the submission deadline date. A co-authored book is eligible if at least one co-author meets this residency requirement.

Atlantic Book Awards

  • Ann Connor Brimer Award for Atlantic Canadian Children’s Literature ($5,000 prize): awarded for a book of fiction or non-fiction written or co-written by a living, full-time resident of Atlantic Canada** that is readily available in print and that was published and/or distributed for the first time in Canada in the two years prior to and including the submission deadline. Because this award alternates annually between children’s literature (for readers up to 11 years old) and young adult (YA) literature (for readers aged 12 to 17), each cycle of the award covers two publication years. For the 2023 award for young adult (YA) literature, the eligibility years run from November 2, 2020, to November 1, 2022.
  • J.M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award ($2,000 prize): awarded for a book of poetry written or co-written by a full-time resident of Atlantic Canada** that was published and/or distributed for the first time in Canada in the year prior to and including the submission deadline. For the 2023 award, the eligibility year runs from November 2, 2021, to November 1, 2022.
  • Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award ($30,000 prize): awarded for a novel or a book of short fiction written or co-written by a full-time resident of Atlantic Canada** that was published and/or distributed for the first time in Canada in the year prior to and including the submission deadline. A writer may win the Thomas Raddall Atlantic Fiction Award a maximum of three times. YA titles are ineligible for this award and should be submitted to the Ann Connor Brimer Award. Plays are ineligible for this award. For the 2023 award, the eligibility year runs from November 2, 2021, to November 1, 2022.

** Full-time residents of Atlantic Canada are those who have lived in one or a combination of the Atlantic provinces (New Brunswick, Newfoundland & Labrador, Nova Scotia, or Prince Edward Island) for at least two consecutive years immediately prior to the submission deadline date. A co-authored book is eligible if at least one co-author meets this residency requirement.

Titles ineligible for submission to any WFNS-administered Book Awards

  • unpublished manuscripts
  • plays and other scripts for stage or screen
  • titles less than 48 pages in length (with the exception of picture books submitted for the Brimer)
  • selected works, collected works, and reissued titles from a previous submission year
  • literary, academic, and other anthologies
  • reference titles, including dictionaries and textbooks
  • titles for which the eligible writer has written only an introduction

WFNS reserves the right to accept (as eligible) or reject (as ineligible) any submitted title. The list of titles deemed eligible by WFNS and submitted to award juries is final. For submissions deemed ineligible due to title ineligibility, author ineligibility, or the lateness or incompleteness of submission, administrative fees cannot be refunded and submitted books cannot be returned.

2. Submission Requirements

Each award entry must be submitted by the program deadline and must include all three components listed below. Early submissions are strongly encouraged. Late or incomplete submissions will be rejected as ineligible.

1. Submission form completed and signed by the publisher

  • A publisher submitting multiple titles must include one submission form per entry per award category.
  • The publisher must provide information for a publisher contact, who will be the best representative for any follow up regarding submitted titles.

2. Five (5) printed and bound copies of the title being submitted

  • Printed and bound copies of the title are required for the adjudication process.

3. Non-refundable $35 administrative fee per entry per award

  • A publisher submitting multiple titles may submit a single payment or cheque in the total of all entry fees.
  • A publisher submitting eight or more titles may be eligible for discounted administrative fees. The WFNS reserves the right to offer an such discount depending on the resources of the publisher and how many titles the publisher proposes submitting. Please contact the Executive Director at director@writers.ns.ca to enquire.

Titles should be submitted by publishers. If you are the author of an eligible book and are unsure whether it has been or will be submitted, please contact both the WFNS (wits@writers.ns.ca) and your publisher to enquire.

Please note: In the event a submitted title is shortlisted for an Atlantic Book Award, the publisher will be required to provide the following two supplementary components within 30 days of shortlist notification.

4. Two (2) additional printed and bound copies of the title submitted

  • Printed and bound copies of the title are required for the adjudication process.

5. Non-refundable $300 travel-offset and promotional fee per title

  • This fee is payable by cheque to the Atlantic Book Awards Society.
  • If a title is shortlisted for multiple Atlantic Book Awards, the shortlist fee will be payable only once.

3. How to Submit

Complete submissions (including administrative fees) must be received by the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia no later than the submission deadline. If mailed, components may be received later but must be postmarked no later than the submission deadline.

1. Submission form(s)

  • Online: click the “Submission Form” button above, complete and sign form digitally, and email form to wits@writers.ns.ca (subject line: “Nova Scotia Book Awards” or “Atlantic Book Awards”).
  • By mail: click the “Submission Form” button above, complete and sign form digitally or manually, and send hardcopy to WFNS, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS, B3H 4P7 (“ATTN: Nova Scotia Book Awards” or “ATTN: Atlantic Book Awards”).

2. Hardcopies of submitted title(s)

  • By mail: send to WFNS, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS, B3H 4P7 (“ATTN: Nova Scotia Book Awards” or “ATTN: Atlantic Book Awards”).

3. Administrative fee(s)

  • Online: click the “Add Administrative Fee to Cart” button above to pay via PayPal account or credit card. You may add multiple administrative fees to your cart prior before checkout.
  • By phone: call 902 423 8116 from 9am – 5pm on a weekday and have your credit card information ready. You may pay multiple administrative fees with a single call.
  • By mail: send a cheque payable to “Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia” and address to WFNS, 1113 Marginal Road, Halifax, NS, B3H 4P7 (“ATTN: Nova Scotia Book Awards” or “ATTN: Atlantic Book Awards”). You may pay multiple administrative fees with a single cheque.

Receipt of submissions will be acknowledged via email messages to both press contact and writer, after which publishers will not receive additional communication from the Writers’ Federation of Nova Scotia until the spring following the adjudication process.

4. Adjudication Process

All eligible titles submitted to the WNFS-administered awards are adjudicated by independent juries with literary expertise appropriate to each award. The juries are recruited and facilitated by the WFNS. All decisions made by the WFNS juries are final.

Adjudication procedure

  1. Prior to a prize jury meeting in person, the WFNS sends each member of the prize jury a package containing (A) a copy of each title submitted for the prize, (B) adjudication instructions, and (C) general criteria for assessment.
  2. Jurors complete individual assessment of all submitted titles.
  3. Jurors attend an in-person meeting facilitated by a WFNS representative, where the jurors discuss each book (drawing on their notes taken during individual assessment) and reach a consensus on a shortlist of three books and a winning book from that shortlist. (Prior to discussing a title, jurors must disclose any conflicts of interest, determined by whether a juror stands to gain any financial benefit through association with a submitted title; stands to gain from any moral or intellectual rights; or has a significant personal relationship with the author of a submitted title. If there is a conflict of interest, the juror claiming the conflict will be absent during discussion of the book in question.)
  4. Jurors are compensated $250, an additional $5 for each title under consideration, and reimbursement for any necessary travel or accommodations.
  5. In partnership with the Nova Scotia Book Awards and the Atlantic Book Awards, the WFNS announces award shortlists in the spring following the adjudication period. Award winners are subsequently announced at the Nova Scotia Book Awards Gala and the Atlantic Book Awards Gala.
  6. Publishers of winning titles will be supplied with gold seals to attach to books. Digital copies of the seals will also be available.

Assessment criteria

Each eligible title submitted to an award is assessed according to the following general criteria, both on its own terms and in relation to all other titles received for the same award.

  • Merit of the writing (such as creativity and quality)
  • Social and/or cultural merit of the text
  • Originality of content, approach, or technique

Eligible titles received for the Ann Connor Brimer Award are also assessed for their appeal to the intended target audience. The quality of any illustration or photography within a title is not considered.

During individual assessment, jury members are asked to read all entries thoughtfully and rigorously, assessing, where appropriate, how the entries may be read and appreciated in response to the following specific questions: Does the work challenge any assumptions about a genre or form? Is the work cohesive in story, theme and content? Does the text make use of interesting or unusual structure and/or language? Is the language evocative? Is the work well-organized? Is the work fresh, not imitative? Has the writer been intentional about the use of style and language? Are there any social or cultural considerations that apply? Does the work make a contribution to the literary arts

For questions about title eligibility or further information, please contact us.

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