Hamilton, November 2023 — Hamilton Arts Council is pleased to reveal the shortlisted authors for the 30th annual Hamilton Literary Awards. This year marks a significant milestone in recognizing and celebrating literary excellence in the Greater Hamilton Area and Six Nations of the Grand River. The awards ceremony was hosted in partnership with Hamilton Public Library, located at 55 York Blvd, Hamilton, on Thursday, December 14th, 2023, at 7:00 P.M.

Ceremony attendees had the opportunity to enjoy readings from the shortlisted authors, witness the announcement of the category winners, and reflect on the rich 30-year history of the Hamilton Literary Awards.

The Awards recognize outstanding works published in the calendar year of 2022 across five categories, including: Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry, Children’s Books, and the Kerry Schooley Book Award. The Kerry Schooley Book Award honours the book that most vividly evokes the essence of Hamilton and its surrounding areas.

Anuja Varghese will return as the host for this special occasion. Anuja is a distinguished Hamilton-based QWOC (Queer Woman of Color), writer, editor, and recipient of the 2023 Governor General’s Literary Award in Fiction for her debut short story collection, “Chrysalis”. Anuja’s remarkable achievements in the literary world make her a fitting choice to guide the ceremony.

The 30th anniversary of the Hamilton Literary Awards is a testament to the vibrant and thriving community of writers, readers, publishers, editors, and booksellers who have continuously contributed to Hamilton’s cultural legacy. The Awards have played a crucial role in shaping Hamilton’s identity as a culturally enriching and inspiring city. Hamilton Arts Council invited literature enthusiasts, supporters of the arts, and all members of the community to join us on this momentous evening of literary celebration to honour the literary talent of our region and commemorate 30 years of literary excellence in Hamilton.

The shortlisted authors for each category are:

FICTION Category Shortlist for the Hamilton Literary Award:

  • Ainslie Hogarth for “Motherthing”
  • Robert McGill for “A Suitable Companion for the End of Your Life”
  • Sheila Murray for “Finding Edward”

NON-FICTION Category Shortlist for the Hamilton Literary Award:

  • David J. Forsyth for “Alice and the Machine Gunner”
  • Joyce Grant for “Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts”
  • Rollie Pemberton for “Bedroom Rapper:
  • Cadence Weapon on Hip-Hop, Resistance and Surviving the Music Industry”
  • Carl Watts for “I Just Wrote This Five Minutes Ago”

POETRY Category Shortlist for the Hamilton Literary Award:

  • Gary Barwin for “The Most Charming Creatures”
  • Fareh Malik for “Streams that Lead Somewhere”
  • Chris Pannell for “The Fragmentarium and Other Poems”

CHILDREN’S BOOK Category Shortlist for the Hamilton Literary Award:

  • Joyce Grant for “Can You Believe It? How to Spot Fake News and Find the Facts”
  • Lawrence Hill for “Beatrice and Croc Harry”
  • Sylvia McNicoll for “What the Dog Knows”


  • Darrell Epp for “Permanent Smoke”
  • Carrie Snyder for “Francie’s Got a Gun”
  • Brent van Staalduinen for “Cut Road”

The 30th annual Hamilton Literary Awards Ceremony is made possible due to our community-centred partners and sponsors, which include; Hamilton Public Library, Epic Books, and A Different Drummer Books. About the Hamilton Arts Council Founded in 1969, and incorporated in 1973, Hamilton Arts Council (HAC) is one of the longest serving community arts councils in Ontario. HAC envisions a dynamic arts community that is innovative, impactful, diverse and professionally sustainable. We fulfill our mission by advocating for the arts as integral to a healthy community, and providing inclusive opportunities to build connection and sustainability.

For media inquiries including interviews, please contact: Megan Divecha (she/her) Programs & Community Engagement Coordinator Hamilton Arts Council megan@hamiltonartscouncil.ca