Winner of Amazon Canada First Novel Award picks up $60,000 cash prize with survivors’ story

Five Little Indians by Michelle Good has won the 45th annual Amazon Canada First Novel Award which offers a cash prize of $60,000 for first-time Canadian novelists. 

Good is a member of Saskatchewan’s Red Pheasant Cree Nation and now lives in British Columbia. The book is is set in the 1960s and chronicles the criss-crossing lives of residential-school survivors struggling to overcome trauma they endured during their years at the school. Taken from their families when they were very young and sent to a remote, church-run residential school, Kenny, Lucy, Clara, Howie, and Maisie are barely out of childhood when they are finally released after years of detention. The paths of the five friends intertwine over the decades as they struggle to overcome, or at least forget, the trauma they endured during their years at the school.

Five Little Indians is available in print and Kindle editions on, as well as in audiobook format through It could become an even more lucrative festival season for Michelle Good as Five Little Indians is also on the shortlist for this year’s Kobo Emerging Writer Prize which features a $10,000 award.

For the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, Good’s book (published by Harper Perennial) was chosen from a shortlist of six works that also included:

  • Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi (Arsenal Pulp Press)
  • Happy Hour by Marlowe Granados (Flying Books)
  • You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked. by Sheung-King (Book*hug Press)
  • Gutter Child by Jael Richardson (HarperCollins Publishers/Harper Avenue)
  • Vanishing Monuments by John Elizabeth Stintzi (Arsenal Pulp Press)

Each shortlisted novelist received a $6,000 cash prize. All of the shortlisted books are available in print and Kindle editions on

The Youth Short Story category for authors between the ages of 13 and 17 who have written a short story under 3,000 words was won by 17-year-old Rama Altaleb for her short story, Lost Childhood. She wins $5,000,  a virtual mentorship workshop with editors of the Canadian magazine The Walrus and publication of her story on later this year.

This year’s shortlist for the Youth Short Story category were:

  • Rama Altaleb — Lost Childhood
  • Stella Braun — The Sound of Light
  • Aimée Després-Smyth — The Thing That Wasn’t a Thing
  • Yanxi Li — The Gates of Heavenly Peace
  • Diya Singh — The Escape from Alcatraz
  • Malcolm Wernestrom, Troy

For more information about the finalists and the Amazon Canada First Novel Award, visit or The Walrus.

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