New Atwood Gibson Prize celebrates year’s best Canadian fiction

$60,000 Writers' Trust Award is rebranded and named after co-founders Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson

The Giller Prize and the Governor General’s Award for Fiction are two of Canada’s most prestigious writing awards. But neither of them is named after beloved literary couple Margaret Atwood and Graeme Gibson – until now. The annual $60,000 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Prize will annually honour the best Canadian fiction writer.

Atwood and her partner, Gibson, who died in 2019, were among the five co-founders of the Writers’ Trust in 1976, which was created to help build structural supports for Canada’s new literary scene. In 2020, the Trust distributed more than $970,000 in direct support to Canadian writers.

Since 1997, the Writers’ Trust has given out the Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize to the best work of fiction by a Canadian writer. Past recipients include Alice Munro, Lawrence Hill, Austin Clarke and André Alexis.

Now, that award is being rebranded as the Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Prize, and the value boosted $10,000 to $60,000.

“Fantastic news for Canadian writers”

“The Atwood Gibson Prize is fantastic news for Canadian writers,” said David Young, playwright (Inexpressible Island, Glenn) and another Writers’ Trust co-founder, in a statement.

“Margaret and Graeme lit the founding fire that brought the Writers’ Trust into being. This prize is a perfect way to commemorate their vision and commitment to the broad ecosystem of our literary culture.”

The award is supported by businessman and philanthropist Jim Balsillie.

Atwood calls the Writers’ Trust “the quiet giant of Canadian literature” and says she and Gibson used to marvel at how it had evolved since its founding.

Finalists announced September 28

“We knew the role a major prize could have on a writer’s confidence and career, not to mention their bank account,” says Atwood. “I can’t wait to discover the new voices and new stories that this prize rewards.”

The finalists for the 2021 Atwood Gibson Writers’ Trust Prize will be announced on September 28. The winner will be revealed at the Writers’ Trust Awards on November 3. 


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