League Awards and Contests

Submissions are now open for 2021 book awards

Each year, the League is pleased to present three book awards to poets at various stages in their career, as well as a spoken word lifetime achievement award and a young poets prize. Shortlists for the annual book awards are announced in April, and winners are announced in May. Scroll down to view past winners and shortlists on each award’s dedicated page, as well as contests administered by the League.

Submissions for Poetry Book Awards for books published in 2020 are now open! 

Deadline for submissions is November 13, 2020. 

To accommodate for the impact of COVID-19 on authors and publishers, the League has added some new options for book awards submissions:

  • PDF or hard copy book submissions
    • Given the impact of COVID-19 on Canada Post, the League is accepting both PDF and hard copy versions of books for review this year, according to the publisher’s preference
  • Financial relief
    • The League is offering two types of financial relief for book award submission fees, and publishers may apply for one or both types of relief.
      • 1. A FEE REDUCTION reduces the submission fee from $25 per award to $25 per book (for example, if a book were submitted to all three awards, the submission fee is $75; with a fee reduction, it is only $25)
      • 2. A FEE WAIVER is available for books authored by writers who self-identify as part of a Canada Council equity-seeking group (Deaf/Disabled, Indigenous, racialized/culturally diverse) and/or LGBTQI2SA.
    • Please submit a book awards submission form in full before submitting an application for a fee waiver and/or reduction.



Please review the submission guidelines before submitting: 

Step one: complete this online form to indicate which books you will be submitting, and to which awards: https://forms.gle/HVGkztNDZ1uLRL6v8

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.

If you are applying for a submission fee waiver or reduction, you may do so here after submitting your book awards submission form: https://forms.gle/PbSbVywN62ehDd6H6

Step three: send books and submit payment for submission fees (credit card or cheque) according to the instructions provided in your confirmation email.

Hard copy submissions will include three (3) copies of each title submitted, per award, and one (1) additional copy of each book. Submissions with no fee waiver or reduction will have a $25.00 submission fee per title, per award.


ELIGIBILITY GUIDELINES (for all book awards)

  • Authors must be Canadian citizens or permanent residents  
  • Titles must be published in 2020  
  • 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 Friday, November 13, 2020. If a book is set to be published between November 13, 2020 and December 31, 2020, contact admin@poets.ca by November 13, 2020 to arrange an extension.  


for a debut book of poetry | $2,000 prize





for a book of poetry by a woman | $2,000 prize





for a book of poetry by a League member | $2,000 prize





for excellence and innovation in spoken word poetry| $2,000 prize





for Canadian youth






Very Small Verse Contest

2020 Winner: Diana Manole “Lovers”

Broadsheet Contest

2020 Winner: Laura Cok “Cosmic Egg Hypothesis”

2020 Winners and Lists:

See the 2020 Book Awards Winners Announcement

See our 2020 Book Awards Shortlist Announcement

See our 2020 Book Awards Longlist Announcement


See our 2019 Winners here