Recognizing excellence in Canadian independent publishing

Prizes for fiction and non-fiction self-published books


Submissions will be accepted from 1 March to 30 April, 2017


Established in 2016 to recognize excellence in Canadian independent publishing, the Whistler Independent Book Awards now offers prizes in two categories: fiction and non-fiction. There are three finalists in each category (fiction and non-fiction), with the winners being announced at the annual Whistler Writers Festival.

Jointly administered by the Whistler Writing Society and Vivalogue Publishing, the Whistler Independent Book Awards (WIBAs) provide independent authors with a unique opportunity to have their work recognized through a juried process typically reserved for trade-published titles.

In supporting independent authors, this competition is unique in that each and every entry receives a valuable, constructive critique of their submission, which can be quoted for publicity and promotional purposes.

  1. Authors must be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada
  2. The author must have paid costs associated with the production of the book
  3. All entries must be available for purchase in physical form (ebook-only publications not eligible)
  4. The book must be copyrighted within the last six years and the author must retain all rights

Nominees (shortlisted titles) will receive:

  • A certificate confirming their right to brand their title as “Nominated for the Whistler Independent Book Award 2017”
  • 100 award stickers suitable for use on the book’s cover
  • Inclusion on the Tidewater website with a link to the author’s website
  • One review provided by an appointee of the Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver

Finalists will receive:

  • A certificate confirming their right to brand their title as “Finalist for the Whistler Independent Book Award 2017”
  • 100 award stickers suitable for use on the book’s cover
  • Inclusion on the Whistler Writers Festival and Tidewater websites with a link to the author’s website
  • Inclusion in the Whistler Writers Festival official program guide
  • An invitation to attend the Finalists’ Reception at the Whistler Writers Festival
  • One complimentary ticket to the Literary Cabaret event (Additional tickets will be available for purchase)
  • One complimentary ticket to the Speed Dating for Authors Event
  • An opportunity to sell their books throughout the Festival (Note: Vivalogue Publishing will process all sales and will retain 25% of the purchase price)
  • One review from each of the two final judges
  • A cash award of $250

Winners will receive:

  • The prizes listed above
  • An award presented at the Literary Cabaret by the event sponsor
  • An invitation to participate in a reading event during the Whistler Writers Festival
  • An opportunity to sell their book through Armchair Books in Whistler until January 15, 2018 (Sales will be on a consignment basis; Armchair Books will retain an industry-standard 40% of the purchase price)
  • An additional cash award of $250 ($500 in total)
  • Inclusion in a press release distributed to appropriate media
Selection Process


  • Books must be submitted in physical form from March 1 to April 30, 2017
  • All submissions will be evaluated by a member of the shortlisting committee
  • Authors of unsuccessful entries will receive a written evaluation from the selection committee
  • Entries deemed to have exceptional merit in each category will be shortlisted
  • The shortlist will be announced May 31, 2017
  • A small number of outstanding entries in each category that are not shortlisted but are considered to have significant merit, may be recognized with an award of merit by the selection committee.

Finalist selection

  • All shortlisted titles will be submitted to Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver
  • Appointees of Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver will provide a written review of each title and will select three finalists in each category
  • Finalists will be announced July 17, 2016
  • Finalists will be recognized at a reception hosted by Vivalogue Publishing at the beginning of the Whistler Writers Festival

Final Selection

  • Finalist entries will be submitted to a two-person judging panel
  • Each judge will provide a written review of each title
  • Winning entries will be announced at the Literary Cabaret event held as part of the Whistler Writers Festival

$100 plus GST per fiction and non-fiction entry (Paypal or cheque made payable to Vivalogue Publishing).
All entries will receive an evaluation from a member of the selection committee.



The Canadian Authors Association, founded by Stephen Leacock in 1921, is a membership-based organization that offers aspiring, emerging, and professional writers opportunities and resources to hone their writing and business skills, network with others, and thrive in a community of like-minded professionals.

Finalist judges for the fiction and non-fiction categories will be announced in March. Judges for the 2016 WIBAs were:

Non-Fiction – JJ Lee

JJ Lee is a well-known author, journalist and broadcaster. In 2014, he hosted the CBC radio show, Head to Toe (now available in podcast). His fashion and personal essays are published in ELLE Canada. His memoir piece, “ELLE First: You are beautiful,” tied for GOLD at the 2011 National Magazine Award for Best Short Feature. His debut book, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the BC Book Prize Huber Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

Non-Fiction (WWS) — Sue Oakey Baker
Sue Oakey Baker is a teacher, guide, painter and a writer and holds degrees in French Literature and Language Education.  Her photographs and writing have been published in Pique Newsmagazine, the Alpine Club of Canada Gazette and the Canadian Alpine Journal. Her memoir, Finding Jim was published in 2013 by Rocky Mountain Books.

Fiction – Genni Gunn
Genni Gunn is an author, musician and translator. She has published eleven books: three novels – Solitaria (nominated for the Giller Prize), Tracing Iris (made into a film, The Riverbank), and Thrice Upon a Time (finalist for the Commonwealth Writers’ Prize); two short story collections — Hungers and On the Road; two poetry collections—Faceless and Mating in Captivity (finalist for the Gerald Lampert Award), and a collection of personal essays, TRACKS: Journeys in Time and Place. Genni was Writer-in-Residence at the Whistler Writers Festival in 2014.

Fiction (WWS) – Stella Harvey
Stella Harvey founded the Whistler Writers Society in 2001, which each year produces the Whistler Writers Festival under her direction. Stella is a fiction writer whose short stories have appeared in The Literary Leanings Anthology, Emerge Magazine, The New Orphic Review, and The Dalhousie Review. Her non-fiction has appeared in Pique Newsmagazine, The Question and the Globe and Mail.  Signature Editions published her first novel, Nicolai’s Daughters, in 2012 and Psichogios Publications of Athens published the Greek translation in 2014.  The Brink of Freedom is her second novel.

Crime Fiction – Linda L. Richards
Linda Richards is the editor and co-founder of January Magazine, the publisher of Self-Counsel Press and the author of three series of crime novels featuring strong female leads: Madeline Carter, Kitty Pangborn and Nicole Charles. Her fourteenth book and eighth novel, When Blood Lies, will be published by Orca Books in April of 2016.

Crime Fiction (WWS) – Katherine Fawcett
Katherine Fawcett began her career as a sports writer before venturing into freelance journalism and commercial writing, and eventually turning to fiction. Her award-winning short stories have been published in WordWorks, Event, FreeFall, subTerrain and Other Voices. The Little Washer of Sorrows, published by Thistledown Press in 2015, is her first book of fiction.

Poetry – Evelyn Lau
Evelyn Lau began publishing poetry at the age of 12, ran away from home at 14 and spent a number of years homeless on the streets of Vancouver. Her diary of that time, published in 1989 as Runaway: Diary of a Street Kid and was a commercial and critical success. In 1990, her poetry collection You Are Not Who You Claim won the Milton Acorn People’s Poetry Award. This was followed by Oedipal Dreams in 1992 (nominated for a Governor General’s Award).  Evelyn has published four other collection of poetry including A Grain of Rice (Oolichan, 2012), which was shortlisted for the Dorothy Livesay Award and the Pat Lowther Award. In 2011, she was named the poet laureate for the City of Vancouver,  the third poet to hold this honorary position.

Poetry (WWS) – Mary MacDonald
Mary MacDonald is a poet, writer, and child psychologist. She has written for ballet, opera, and public art and her work has appeared in Pique and Room Magazine.


What qualifies as non-fiction?

The Non-Fiction category is intended to recognize literary treatment of factual material. Creative non-fiction that uses imagined dialogue or description to enhance a true story is eligible. Manuals and catalogues intended to provide factual information only are not eligible as the judges would have no basis to assess the literary merit of the submission. If you require further clarification, contact us.

Is my book eligible if I received grant funding?

Yes, as long as your grant was not specifically intended to cover the costs of publication. If you received grant funding after your book was published, or if your grant was awarded for research purposes, your book is eligible. If you received grant funding in order to pay for printing or other publication costs, your book is not eligible as you did not assume the financial risk normally associated with independent publishing.

What about hybrid publishing?

In general, these book ARE eligible, but the Awards Committee will make a determination on a case-by-case basis..


whistlerwriters-logThe Whistler Writing Society was founded in 2001 and became a non-profit organization in 2005. Our group includes over 150 members living in the Sea to Sky corridor. From its inception, the group has promoted the literary arts, provided a forum for local writers to develop their craft within the community, and sponsored events such as the Whistler Writers Festival, the Whistler Writer in Residence Program and the Author in Schools Program.

vl-logo-large-rgb Vivalogue Publishing was established in 2010 with branches in Canada and the United Kingdom. They have provided author services, including editing, design and production, to self-publishing authors. Vivalogue also provides publishing services for non-profits and groups to create fund- and awareness-raising books.

Award Supporters