UBC Creative Writing seeks submissions for 2024 Prize for Best New Fiction

We’re excited to announce the prestigious HarperCollinsPublishersLtd/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction is seeking submissions for its eighth year.

The prize has an impressive history, reflecting the strength and talent found in our community. Recent winners have been nominated for or received major Canadian literary prizes, become bestsellers in Canada and the US, and sold in multiple languages.

Our 2022 prize-winner was Tammy Armstrong, with her novel now titled Pearly Everlasting, which will publish with HarperCollins Canada and HarperCollins US this year, and Diogenes, a literary publisher in Germany, next year.

We invite enrolled students and previous graduates of UBC Creative Writing to submit their fiction manuscripts from May 1 to May 31, 2024. The winner will receive literary representation by CookeMcDermid Literary Management and an advance and book publication by HarperCollinsPublishersLtd.

Past Winners

Pearly Everlasting
Tammy Armstrong
2022 Winner

In a narrative sown with rural folklore and superstition, Pearly Everlasting is an enchanting woodland Gothic about the triumph of good over evil and the forgotten beauty of the natural world.

New Brunswick, 1934. When a cook in a logging camp finds an orphaned baby bear, he brings it home to his wife, who names the cub Bruno and raises him alongside her newborn daughter, Pearly Everlasting.

But when a new camp supervisor—who increasingly endangers the lives of the loggers for profit—arrives, he is less accepting of Bruno. When the supervisor is found dead, Bruno is blamed, and soon after is kidnapped and sold to an animal trader. Pearly, now a teenager, has no choice but to find Bruno and sets off on a hazardous solo journey through the forest—her first trip to “the Outside”—to rescue him.

To make her way home again, Pearly will have to tramp more than fifty miles through ice and snow, elude the malevolent spirit of Jack in the Dark and confront the modern-day cruelty of villagers fearful of her family’s way of life. Over those harrowing miles, Pearly will discover what it really means to be family to a bear.

Forthcoming June 25, 2024

The Island of Forgetting
Jasmine Sealy
2020 Winner

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.

Forthcoming 2022

Five Little Indians
Michelle Good
2018 Winner

Five Little Indians chronicles the criss-crossing lives of residential-school survivors struggling to overcome the trauma they endured during their years at the school. 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. With compassion and insight, Five Little Indians chronicles the desperate quest of these residential school survivors to come to terms with their past and, ultimately, find a way forward.

The Dutch Wife
Ellen Keith
2016 Winner

From the Netherlands to Germany to Argentina, The Dutch Wife braids together the stories of three individuals who share a dark secret and are entangled in two of the most oppressive reigns of terror in modern history. This is a novel about the blurred lines between love and lust, abuse and resistance, and right and wrong, as well as the capacity for ordinary people to persevere and do the unthinkable in extraordinary circumstances.

The Ghost Keeper
Natalie Morrill
2015 Winner

Set in Vienna during the 1930s and ’40s, The Ghost Keeper centres on a poignant love story and a friendship that ends in betrayal. The Ghost Keeper is a story about the terrible choices we make to survive and the powerful connections to communities and friends that define us. Here is a finely accomplished novel that introduces an exciting new voice to our literary landscape.

In the Place of Silence
(published as The Good Sister)
Chelsea Bolan
2014 Winner

Just shy of her 15th birthday, Gabriela Amador Prieto has been cast out of the family home by her father for tarnishing the family honour. All traces of her are brutally erased, and not even Lucy, Gabi’s older sister and best friend, knows where she is. Furious at her father and desperate to find her sister, Lucy leaves their small town in Baja California, Mexico, and sets out for the capital to track Gabriela down. The Good Sister is an urgent, timely and moving exploration of betrayal and steadfast devotion, and the ways in which our own intolerance can harm what—and who—we love most.

Book of Sands
Karim Alrawi
2013 Winner

This powerful novel is set amid the upheaval of the Arab Spring and the brutal repression of a totalitarian regime. Facing the threat of police arrest, Tarek flees with his nine-year-old daughter, Neda and is forced to leave behind his pregnant wife, Mona. Tarek and Neda encounter fellow travellers from Tarek’s past and his time as a political prisoner. The reunion reveals secrets that Tarek must come to terms with for his own and Neda’s sake.