Amazon Canada and The Walrus have announced that Jasmine Sealy, author of The Island of Forgetting (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd), is the winner of the 2023 Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Sealy was announced as the winner during the in-person ceremony this evening at The Globe and Mail Centre in Toronto, where she also took home the $60,000 cash prize that is awarded to the winner by Amazon Canada.
How does memory become myth? How do lies become family lore? How do we escape the trauma of the past when the truth has been forgotten? The Island of Forgetting is an intimate saga spanning four generations of one family who run a beachfront hotel. Loosely inspired by Greek mythology, this is a novel about the echo of deep—and sometimes tragic—love, and the ways a family’s past can haunt its future.
Sealy’s book was chosen from a shortlist of six works, that included the following novels:
- A Minor Chorus, Billy-Ray Belcourt (Hamish Hamilton Canada)
- In The City of Pigs, André Forget (Dundurn Press Ltd/Rare Machines)
- Bad Cree, Jessica Johns (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd)
- Hollow Bamboo, William Ping (HarperCollins Publishers Ltd)
- In the Upper Country, Kai Thomas (Viking Canada)
Each shortlisted novelist received a $6,000 cash prize from Amazon Canada.
All of the books (including the winning novel) are available in print and Kindle editions on amazon.ca. The Island of Forgetting, A Minor Chorus, Bad Cree, Hollow Bamboo, and In the Upper Country are also available as audiobooks through audible.ca.
Danica Popovic Wins the Youth Short Story Category
Now in its sixth year, the Youth Short Story category celebrates authors between the ages of thirteen and seventeen who have written a short story under 3,000 words. Seventeen-year-old Popovic was chosen as the winner by the First Novel Award’s panel of judges. The prize for her winning short story, “Local Shopper,” is $5,000 and her story will be published on thewalrus.ca later this year. Each shortlisted youth author received a $500 cash prize.
“I read hundreds of stories, penned by young writers from across the country. Imbibing their words was both a privilege and a pleasure. These authors bend and blend genres. They write with authenticity and confidence, plumbing emotions and rendering vivid scenery. The future of CanLit is in these stories and it's a bright one indeed,” said Sharon Bala, the 2023 Youth Short Story category judge.