Canadian Authors Association Literary Awards


UPDATE: Please note that the Fiction, Poetry, and Canadian History categories of the Canadian Authors Literary Awards have been suspended indefinitely as we work to ensure that our awards program adds value to Canada’s diverse literary community in a financially sustainable way.

In the meantime, we continue to offer the Fred Kerner Book Award (eligibility limited to CAA members) and to partner with the Whistler Writing Society and Vivalogue Publishing to support independent writers across Canada through administering the Whistler Independent Book Awards.


We are open to taking our awards program in different directions. If you have ideas for us to consider, or wish to sponsor a literary award, please tell us! Send an email to

About the CAA Literary Awards

The association’s history of literary awards go back to 1936, when that year’s board president, Dr. Edgar Pelham, approached John Buchan, 1st Baron Tweedsmuir, who at the time was Canada’s 15th Governor General, to support awards for Canadian literature. Although he was was keenly interested in the work of the association, Lord Tweedsmuir did not agree to financially support the awards with the requested $100,000. However, he gave the association permission to use the name of the Governor General’s office in perpetuity, provided the association took full responsibility for financing, judging, and all other administration.

CAA initiated the Governor General Literary Awards that very year and continued to administer the Awards until 1959, when the associated asked the Governor General’s office to assume the financial and administrative responsibility. The responsibility was later assumed by the Canada Council of the Arts.


The Canadian Authors Association Literary Awards Program was created in 1975 to honour writing that achieves excellence without sacrificing popular appeal. Past award recipients have included Carol Shields, Hugh MacLennon, W. P. Kinsella, Robertson Davies, Margaret Atwood, Michael Ondaatje, and Leonard Cohen—and many other Canadian literary stars.