Self-published authors dominate genre fiction category on short list for $10,000 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize

Five out of the six authors shortlisted in the romance category for this year’s Kobo Emerging Writer Prize are self-published.

The Kobo prize is for new books written by Canadian authors making their publishing debut. A C$10,000 cash prize will be awarded to a book in each of three categories — Non-fiction, Literary Fiction, and a rotating Genre Fiction category, which is Romance this year. Each winning author also gets promotional, marketing and communications support throughout 2022.

The last time that the Kobo prize genre category was for romance, in 2019, self-published author Julie Evelyn Joyce won with Steeped in Love.

The 2022 short list features six books in each category, which have been selected by Kobo’s team of booksellers. A judging panel of three best-selling Canadian authors will pick the winners.

The winners will be announced on June 22, 2022.

The Kobo Emerging Writer Prize 2022 short lists:


  • New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan, published by HarperCollins Canada
  • Cure Bound by M L Philpitt, published by M L Philpitt
  • Sarah Meets Mace by Ryan James Patrick, published by Kobo
  • The Way Maker by Arlie Sheelin, published by Pursuing Dreams
  • For the Record by Nicole Lam, published by KDP
  • Dad Jokes and Pine Cones by C J Banks, published by C J Banks

Literary Fiction

  • The Quiet is Loud by Samantha Garner
  • Satellite Love by Genki Ferguson
  • Ghost Forest by Pik-Shuen Fung
  • Spindrifts by A-M Mawhiney
  • The Push by Ashley Audrain
  • Personal Attention Roleplay by Helen Chau Bradley


  • Don’t Call It a Cult: The Shocking Story of Keith Raniere and the Women of NXIVM, by Sarah Berman
  • Measuring Up: A Memoir of Fathers and Sons, by Dan Robson
  • Yearbook, by Seth Rogen
  • Unreconciled: Family, Truth, and Indigenous Resistance, by Jesse Wente
  • Do Better: Spiritual Activism for Fighting and Healing from White Supremacy, by Rachel Ricketts
  • My Mother’s Daughter: A Memoir of Struggle and Triumph, by Perdita Felicien

Indie publishers in literary fiction accepting submissions from authors

The literary fiction shortlist for the Kobo Emerging Witer Prize also sees a strong showing from indie publishers.

Invisible Publishing (featured on the Kobo lit-fic short list with Samantha Garner’s The Quiet is Loud) is an indie publisher which accepts submissions from authors and publishes contemporary literary fiction, poetry and creative non-fiction.

All narrative works with contemporary themes will be considered, but they are not interested in children’s or YA projects, historical fiction, memoirs, or self-help books. You can find out more about submissions to Invisible on their website.

Friesen Press is a self-publishing specialist in Canada and has published Spindrifts by A-M Mawhiney, which is also on the lit-fic short list. The company offers a range of services and you can find further details on the Friesen Press website.

Metonymy Press, which publishes lit-fic-shortlisted Personal Attention Roleplay by Helen Chau Bradley, is a Montreal-based press that publishes literary fiction and non-fiction by emerging writers. It accepts submission from authors and guidelines can be found on the Metonymy website.

The judges who will choose the winning book in each category are:

Katherine Ashenburg

Prize-winning author of two novels, four non-fiction books and hundreds of articles on subjects that range from travel to mourning customs to architecture.

Heather O’Neill
Literary Fiction

Her latest novel, When We Lost Our Heads was released earlier this year and her previous novel The Lonely Hearts Hotel won the Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction.

Nana Malone
Genre Fiction (Romance)

Her books include Kobo Original The Spy in 3B, The Assassin in 5F, and To Catch a Thief.