Whistler Independent Book Awards

  • Recognizing excellence in Canadian independent publishing
  • Prizes for fiction and non-fiction self-published books
  • Submissions for the 2017 Awards are now closed.


Established in 2016 to recognize excellence in Canadian independent publishing, the Whistler Independent Book Awards now offers prizes in two categories: fiction and non-fiction. There are three finalists in each category (fiction and non-fiction), with the winners being announced at the annual Whistler Writers Festival.

Jointly administered by the Whistler Writing Society and Vivalogue Publishing, the Whistler Independent Book Awards (WIBAs) provide independent authors with a unique opportunity to have their work recognized through a juried process typically reserved for trade-published titles.

In supporting independent authors, this competition is unique in that each and every entry receives a valuable, constructive critique of their submission, which can be quoted for publicity and promotional purposes.


Authors must be either Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada
The author must have paid costs associated with the production of the book
All entries must be available for purchase in physical form (ebook-only publications not eligible)
The book must be copyrighted within the last six years and the author must retain all rights


Nominees (shortlisted titles) will receive:
A certificate confirming their right to brand their title as “Nominated for the Whistler Independent Book Award 2017”
100 award stickers suitable for use on the book’s cover
Inclusion on the Tidewater website with a link to the author’s website
One review provided by an appointee of the Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver
Finalists will receive:
A certificate confirming their right to brand their title as “Finalist for the Whistler Independent Book Award 2017”
100 award stickers suitable for use on the book’s cover
Inclusion on the Whistler Writers Festival and Tidewater websites with a link to the author’s website
Inclusion in the Whistler Writers Festival official program guide
An invitation to attend the Finalists’ Reception at the Whistler Writers Festival
One complimentary ticket to the Literary Cabaret event (Additional tickets will be available for purchase)
One complimentary ticket to the Speed Dating for Authors Event
An opportunity to sell their books throughout the Festival (Note: Vivalogue Publishing will process all sales and will retain 25% of the purchase price)
One review from each of the two final judges
A cash award of $250
Winners will receive:
The prizes listed above
An award presented at the Literary Cabaret by the event sponsor
An invitation to participate in a reading event during the Whistler Writers Festival
An opportunity to sell their book through Armchair Books in Whistler until January 15, 2018 (Sales will be on a consignment basis; Armchair Books will retain an industry-standard 40% of the purchase price)
An additional cash award of $250 ($500 in total)
Inclusion in a press release distributed to appropriate media

Selection Process

Books must be submitted in physical form from March 1 to April 30, 2017
All submissions will be evaluated by a member of the shortlisting committee
Authors of unsuccessful entries will receive a written evaluation from the selection committee
Entries deemed to have exceptional merit in each category will be shortlisted
The shortlist will be announced May 31, 2017
A small number of outstanding entries in each category that are not shortlisted but are considered to have significant merit, may be recognized with an award of merit by the selection committee.
Finalist selection
All shortlisted titles will be submitted to Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver
Appointees of Canadian Authors-Metro Vancouver will provide a written review of each title and will select three finalists in each category
Finalists will be announced July 17, 2017
Finalists will be recognized at a reception hosted by Vivalogue Publishing at the beginning of the Whistler Writers Festival
Final Selection
Finalist entries will be submitted to a two-person judging panel
Each judge will provide a written review of each title
Winning entries will be announced at the Literary Cabaret event held as part of the Whistler Writers Festival


$100 plus GST per fiction and non-fiction entry (Paypal or cheque made payable to Vivalogue Publishing).
All entries will receive an evaluation from a member of the selection committee.


The Canadian Authors Association, founded by Stephen Leacock in 1921, is a membership-based organization that offers aspiring, emerging, and professional writers opportunities and resources to hone their writing and business skills, network with others, and thrive in a community of like-minded professionals.

Finalist judges for the fiction and non-fiction categories are:

Fiction – Gail Anderson-Dargatz
Gail Anderson-Dargatz’s novels have been published worldwide in English and in many other languages. Her international bestsellers The Cure for Death by Lightning and A Recipe for Bees were both finalists for the prestigious Giller Prize. Her latest novel, The Spawning Grounds, has just been nominated for the OLA Evergreen Award. Gail mentors writers from around the world on her online forums and offers annual writing retreats on Manitoulin Island, ON, and in the Shuswap region of BC.

Fiction – Darcie Friesen Hossack
Darcie Friesen Hossack is a graduate of the Humber School for Writers and, for eleven years, wrote food memoir for various western Canadian newspapers. Her short story collection, Mennonites Don’t Dance, was a runner-up for the 2011 Danuta Gleed Award, shortlisted for the 2011 Commonwealth Writers Prize, and the 2012 OLA Forest of Reading Evergreen Award for Adult Fiction. She is currently at work on a novel.

Non-Fiction – JJ Lee

JJ Lee is a well-known author, journalist and broadcaster. In 2014, he hosted the CBC radio show, Head to Toe (now available in podcast). His fashion and personal essays are published in ELLE Canada. His memoir piece, “ELLE First: You are beautiful,” tied for GOLD at the 2011 National Magazine Award for Best Short Feature. His debut book, The Measure of a Man: The Story of a Father, a Son, and a Suit, was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award, the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction, the BC Book Prize Huber Evans Non-Fiction Prize and the Hilary Weston Writer’s Trust Prize for Literary Non-Fiction.

Non-Fiction  — Sue Oakey Baker
Sue Oakey Baker is a teacher, guide, painter and a writer and holds degrees in French Literature and Language Education.  Her photographs and writing have been published in Pique Newsmagazine, the Alpine Club of Canada Gazette and the Canadian Alpine Journal. Her memoir, Finding Jim was published in 2013 by Rocky Mountain Books.

What qualifies as non-fiction?

The Non-Fiction category is intended to recognize literary treatment of factual material. Creative non-fiction that uses imagined dialogue or description to enhance a true story is eligible. Manuals and catalogues intended to provide factual information only are not eligible as the judges would have no basis to assess the literary merit of the submission. If you require further clarification, contact us.

Is my book eligible if I received grant funding?

Yes, as long as your grant was not specifically intended to cover the costs of publication. If you received grant funding after your book was published, or if your grant was awarded for research purposes, your book is eligible. If you received grant funding in order to pay for printing or other publication costs, your book is not eligible as you did not assume the financial risk normally associated with independent publishing.

What about hybrid publishing?

In general, these book ARE eligible, but the Awards Committee will make a determination on a case-by-case basis.

WIBA Winners

Fiction and non-fiction winners announced at the 16th annual Whistler Writers Festival.

WIBA 2017 Winners

WIBA 2017 Finalists

Fiction and non-fiction finalists announced for 2017

WIBA 2017 Finalists

WIBA 2017 Shortlist

Who has been nominated for the 2017 awards? Finalists will be announced July 17.

WIBA Nominees

Register for WIBA 2018

Join our mailing list to participate in next year's awards

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The Whistler Writing Society was founded in 2001 and became a non-profit organization in 2005. Our group includes over 150 members living in the Sea to Sky corridor. From its inception, the group has promoted the literary arts, provided a forum for local writers to develop their craft within the community, and sponsored events such as the Whistler Writers Festival, the Whistler Writer in Residence Program and the Author in Schools Program.

Vivalogue Publishing was established in 2010 with branches in Canada and the United Kingdom. They have provided author services, including editing, design and production, to self-publishing authors. Vivalogue also provides publishing services for non-profits and groups to create fund- and awareness-raising books.


Behind the BookBehind the Book provides guidance and direction to self-publishing authors, drawing upon more than 25 combined years’ experience in the publishing industry.