Gerald Lampert Memorial Award

for a debut book of poetry.


The Gerald Lampert Memorial Award is given in the memory of Gerald Lampert, an arts administrator who organized authors’ tours and took a particular interest in the work of new writers. The award recognizes a first book of poetry published by a Canadian. With a prize of $2,000, it is presented each year at the LCP Annual Conference in June, with the shortlist announced in April.



Book award submissions are now open! 

Deadline: December 10, 2019 

Publishers and authors may now submit books published in 2019 to the following awards: 

Additional eligibility guidelines (for all awards): 

  • Authors must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents 
  • Titles must be published in 2019 
  • Submitted titles must have one author. Translators are not eligible as authors 
  • Titles must be at least 48 pages in length, excluding front and back material 
  • If a title is “selected” or “collected” work, it must contain at least 50% new material, measured in pages of text. This percentage must be identified with the submission. 
  • Chapbooks and self-published books are not eligible. 
  • Submissions are welcome in any language, but submissions in a language other than English must be accompanied by a translation (the original language text must have been published in 2019) 
  • Titles may be submitted by a publisher, author, or other nominator 
  • There is a $25.00 submission fee per title, per award that may be paid by credit card or cheque upon confirmation of receipt of the submission. 
  • Submissions must be received by Tuesday, December 10, 2019. If a book is set to be published between December 10 and December 31, 2019, contact by November 30, 2019 to arrange an extension. 

Submission process: 

Please note the submission process has been updated to minimize confusion and errors during the submission process! We welcome feedback on this update process – feel free to email with any concerns or comments. 

  • Step one: complete this online form to indicate which books you will be submitting, and to which awards 
  • Step two: await e-mail confirmation from the League office confirming a) how many copies of each title to send and b) an invoice for applicable submission fees 
  • Step three: send books to the League Toronto office and submit payment for submission fees online via credit card, or include a cheque with the parcel of books for consideration 

Submissions will include three (3) copies of each title submitted, per award, and one (1) additional copy of each book, as well as a $25.00 submission fee per title, per award. 

Longlists and shortlists for the 2020 book awards will be announced in April 2020, and the winner will be announced in May 2020 at the League of Canadian Poets Annual Conference and AGM! 




The 2019 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award goes to…
Obits. by Tess Liem (Coach House Books) 



From the publisher: Can poems mourn the unmourned? In Obits. a speaker tries and fails to write obituaries for those whose memorials are missing, those who are represented only as statistics. She considers victims of mass deaths, fictional characters, and her own aunt, asking what does it mean to be an ‘I’ mourning a ‘you’ when both have been othered? Centring vulnerability, the various answers to this question pass through trauma, depression, and the experience of being a mixed-race queer woman. 


From the jurors: Tess Liem’sObits. is a rare success for any book, let alone a debut. Namely, it manages to create what feels like an entire intellectual world: whole ethics, aesthetics, aspirations, fears, and philosophies, line by line and trope by trope. The book takes real risks dangling over the edge of amateurism with its emotive openers and its centre-alignment, and relies on nothing but prosody and guts to win a skeptical reader back. It contains one of the most complete treatments of depression in Canadian poetry and an expansive, challenging, new approach to the idea of mourning. Most importantly, Liem’s ability to manage the collection itself as a gestalt object, tying images to one another across pages and reusing titles, sounds, and lines, is downright symphonic. It feels like someone’s life’s work. 


Click here to read “Adaptation” from Obits. and here to order a copy of the 2019 Gerald Lampert Memorial Award-winning title from Coach House Books. 


Tess Liem lives in Tio’tia:ke/Mooniyaangunceded Haudenosaunee and Anishinabe territories (Montreal QC). Her writing appears in The Puritan, Plenitude, Cosmonauts Avenue, THIS and elsewhere. Her debut collection of poetry, Obits. (Coach House 2018), was shortlisted for a Lambda Literary award. 

Congratulations, Tess!  

To see the 2019 Book Awards shortlists, click here
Thank you to our 2019 jury: Adebe DeRango-Adem, Amanda Earl, and Jacob McArthur Mooney. 



2018 Emily Nilsen, Otolith
2017 Ingrid Ruthig, This Being
Ben Ladouceur, Otter
2015 Kayla Czaga, For Your Safety Please Hold On
2014 Murray Reiss, The Survival Rate of Butterflies in the Wild
2013 Gillian Savigny, Notebook M
2012 Yi-Mei Tsiang, Sweet Devilry
2011 Anna Swanson, The Nights Also
2010 James Langer, Gun Dogs
2009 Katia Grubisic, What if red ran out
2008 Alex Boyd, Making Bones Walk
2007 Steven Price, Anatomy of Keys
2006 Suzanne Buffam, Past Imperfect
2005 Ray Hsu, Anthropy
2004 Adam Getty, RECONCILIaTION
2003 Kathy Mac, Nail Builders Plan for Strength and Growth
2002 Aislinn Hunter, Into the Early Hours
2001 Anne Simpson, Light Falls Through You
2000 Shawna Lemay, All the God-Sized Fruit
1999 Stephanie Bolster, White Stone: The Alice Poems
1998 Mark Sinnett, The Landing
1997 Marilyn Dumont, A Really Good Brown Girl
1996 Maureen Hynes, Rough Skin 
1995 Keith Maillard, Dementia Americana 
1994 Barbara Klar, The Night You Called Me a Shadow and Illya Tourtidis, Mad Magellanês Tale 
1993 Elisabeth Harvor, Fortress of Chairs and Roberta Rees, Eyes Like Pigeons 
1992 Joanne Arnott, Wiles of Girlhood 
1991 Diana Brebner, Radiant Life Forms 
1990 Steven Heighton, Stalinês Carnival 
1989 Sarah Klassen, Journey to Yalta 
1988 Di Brandt, Questions I Asked My Mother 
1987 Rosemary Sullivan, The Space a Name Makes 
1986 Joan Fern Shaw, Raspberry Vinegar 
1985 Paulette Jiles, Celestial Navigation 
1984 Sandra Birdsell, Night Travellers and Jean McKay, Gone to Grass 
1983 Diana Hartog, Manitee Light 
1982 Abraham Boyarsky, Schielber and Edna Alford, A Sleep Full of Dreams 
1981 Elizabeth Allan, The Shored Up House