June 18, 2016 – The Canadian Authors Association today announced the winners of its 2016 Literary Awards during a lunch event held at the Canadian Writers’ Summit in Toronto, Ontario.

The winners are as follows:

The winner of the CAA Award for Fiction is Nino Ricci, of Toronto, Ontario, for Sleep (Doubleday Canada).

Judge’s Comments

Ricci strips his characters to the bone, lays bare all their venal motives, ugly betrayals and toxic behaviours. It’s difficult to love any of the characters in Sleep, but the prevailing impression is that this is all TRUE. These are the ways we destroy ourselves and those around us. These are the things we do to our relationships and to the ones we say we love. This is life, messy, complex and, too often, bleak. It’s a book that has stayed with me long after I finished it, because it resonates so fully with the world we see around us. A powerful, involving and deeply engaging book. A marvel.


The winner of the CAA Award for Canadian History is Debra Komar, of Collingwood, Ontario, for The Bastard of Fort Stikine: The Hudson’s Bay Company and the Murder of John McLoughlin Jr. (Goose Lane Editions).

Judge’s Comments

Think of it as CSI meets the HBC – a whodunit in Canada’s north that says as much about bigger questions of identity and belonging as it does about a single murder. Debra Komar brings life to an obscure crime, and uses it to give us new insights into the Hudson’s Bay Company, the fur trade, and the harsh realities of life in the north.


The winner of the CAA Award for Poetry is Joe Denham, of Halfmoon Bay, British Columbia, for Regeneration Machine (Nightwood Editions).

Judge’s Comments

Regeneration Machine is a wave-like poem of impressive integrity, at times muscular and searing, at times delicate and tender. It possesses that rare quality of reading as if its poet either had to write it or else sink into utter despair at the loss of his faith in the human spirit’s capacity to withstand the ravages our exploited planet continues to endure.


The winner of the CAA Emerging Writer Award is Kayla Czaga, Vancouver, British Columbia, nominated by Nightwood Editions.

Nominator’s Comments

Kayla was winning awards for her poetry before her debut collection, For Your Safety Please Hold On, was published in 2015. Her controlled yet lucid poetry is refreshingly objective and empathic, and she cares more about a balanced portrayal of mood and purpose than delving into introspection. The accolades and appreciation her work continues to garner are impressive.

The winner of the Canadian Authors Fred Kerner Award is Caroline Vu, of Montreal, Quebec, for Palawan Story (Deux Voiliers Publishing).

Judge’s Comments

Palawan Story deals with the fundamental nature of memory and forgetting, and the stories we tell ourselves that make us the people we are. Vu’s writing hits hard with its simple, unaffected prose and engaging dialogue. Her protagonist is relatable and human, flawed but beautifully rendered, and her story is a moving and insightful journey both for her and for the reader.


Introduced in 1975, the CAA Literary Awards honour Canadian writers who achieve excellence without sacrificing popular appeal – a tradition originally begun in 1937 with the creation of the Governor General’s medals for literature (now overseen by the Canada Council of the Arts). The competition is open to all writers who are Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada. This event marks the second time the awards have been held during the Leacock Summer Festival.

Founded by Stephen Leacock and several other prominent Canadian writers in 1921, the Canadian Authors Association has continued to maintain a focus on “writers helping writers” since its inception.



For more information, contact:

Anita Purcell
Executive Director
Canadian Authors Association
T 705 325 3926 ext. 202
Cell 705 955 0716