Fifth Annual Rakuten Kobo Emerging Writer Prize competition calls for entries

The annual award that shines a spotlight on Canadian debut authors, while offering monetary prizes and marketing support for books across three genres, has announced that it’s now accepting submissions for the Fifth Annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize. As part of Rakuten Kobo’s goal of raising the profiles of debut Candian writers, the prize identifies and puts at the forefront exceptional books written by first-time Canadian authors in three categories: Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (this year Romance – a different genre is showcased each year), and Non-Fiction. The winning authors will be announced in June and will be awarded a $10,000 (CAD) cash prize, as well as marketing and communications support throughout 2019.

Submissions are now open and will be accepted at until Wednesday, February 27, 2019 for debut books published in 2018 by Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents of Canada. Submissions can be made by publishers or directly by authors. Traditionally published and self-published books are also eligible for submission. To explore the winning titles of the 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, please visit:

Michael Tamblyn.

“Our mission is simple: To position Canadian writers at the forefront of our country’s impressive literary culture. The Kobo Emerging Writer Prize was created to help winning authors achieve that goal. First books have an uphill battle in the online world, with so much visibility and discovery based on algorithms, sales history and bestseller position,” said Michael Tamblyn, CEO of Rakuten Kobo. “We’re here to help new authors both with cash prizes and by helping them find their fan base through marketing and communications support.” This year, the winners will be selected by top Canadian authors including Craig Davidson for Literary Fiction; Dale Mayer for Romance; and Michael Harris for Non-Fiction. They’ll choose from a shortlist determined by Kobo’s team of booksellers, also taking into account reading data.

Eligibility. The award is open to Canadian citizens and/or permanent residents of Canada who’ve published debut books during the 2018 calendar year in the categories of Literary Fiction, Genre Fiction (Romance this year – a different genre highlighted each year) or Non-Fiction. All submitted books must be available at

Nomination process and official rules. Publishers and authors (as well as traditionally published and self-published) can submit debut books published in 2018 at

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 also be considered.


Tony Curcio is the editor of Graphic Arts Magazine.