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About the Prize

Named in honour of Writers' Trust co-founders and literary couple Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson, who started the organization in 1976 with the help of a few fellow writers and an aim to encourage a Canadian literary culture at home, the Atwood Gibson Prize recognizes writers of exceptional talent for the best novel or short story collection of the year.

The finalists are selected by a three-member, independent judging panel and the $60,000 winner is announced at the annual Writers’ Trust Awards. The award is generously funded by Canadian businessman and philanthropist Jim Balsillie.

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2021 Winner

Katherena Vermette

The Strangers

Hamish Hamilton Canada

Jury Citation

"Reminiscent of the hard-scrabble tales of the Métis in the Road Allowance days, Vermette offers up a beautiful, raw testament to those living on the margins. Brilliantly weaving the lives of the Strangers into stories within stories within stories, Vermette’s confident, understated prose walks the reader through the unforgiving reality of the descendants of those who stood with Riel and Dumont, grasping for survival in a world committed to a long-established campaign of dispossession. Cathartic and disturbing, The Strangers offers vital insight into the colonial brutality that still haunts the lives of the Métis."

—2021 Atwood Gibson Writers' Trust Fiction Prize Jury (Rebecca Fisseha, Michelle Good, and Steven Price)

2021 Finalists

Jury

Canadian fiction writers Rebecca Fisseha, Michelle Good, and Steven Price read 130 titles submitted by 60 publishers to select the 2021 finalists.

Sponsor

Canadian businessman and philanthropist Jim Balsillie