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Image: Books shortlisted for the 2022 Hamilton Literary Awards, Photo by Ted Hudson (2022)


The Hamilton Literary Awards (HLA) is an annual program presented by Hamilton Arts Council (HAC) to recognize and celebrate published authors from the Greater Hamilton Area and Six Nations of the Grand River.

Awards are presented for books that demonstrate literary excellence in the categories of Fiction, Non-Fiction, and Poetry. The Hamilton Literary Awards also include the Kerry Schooley Book Award to be given to the book that is most evocative of the City of Hamilton and/or the surrounding area. The Kerry Schooley Book Award is named in honour of the late, Kerry J. Schooley, who was a tireless advocate for literary arts in Hamilton. Learn more about Kerry Schooley here.


In celebration of HLA’s 30th anniversary, HAC is pleased to announce a new Children's Book Award category! Submission criteria and eligibility can be found here.


Eligibility & Submission Criteria

To be eligible in the Fiction, Non-fiction, and Poetry categories, an entry must be:

  • a published book of literary merit with an ISBN (International Standard Book Number)

  • a minimum of forty-eight (48) bound pages

  • published within the calendar year of 2022

  • written by an author who lives and/or works* in the Greater Hamilton Area (including: Ancaster, Dundas, Flamborough, Glanbrook, Hamilton, Stoney Creek, Waterdown) or the Six Nations of the Grand River.

  • single-authored or co-authored (maximum two (2) authors, provided that one author meets the requirement of living and/or working in the GHA. For Anthologies/books by more than two authors published in 2022, please contact for an assessment of eligibility.

*the applicant's work contributes to the artistic landscape of the Greater Hamilton Area


At least one author must have an Artist/Creative account, accompanied by a visible public profile, on The Arty Crowd ( The Arty Crowd is free for Artists/Creatives of any practice.


All of the above criteria apply for submissions to be considered for the Kerry Schooley Book Award, with the exception that the author/co-authors may or may not be current residents of the GHA or Six Nations of the Grand River, but will have lived and/or worked* here for a portion of their life.

All of the above criteria apply for submissions to be considered for the Children's Book Award, with the exception that books must be intended for readers up to age 12, and can be shorter than forty-eight (48) bound pages.


Ineligible entries include:

  • translations

  • ghostwritten books

  • manuscripts

  • textbooks, catalogues, cookbooks, reference books, academic publications, technical manuals, self-help books

  • reprints or re-publications of titles originally published at an earlier date

  • books submitted by elected representatives of the Greater Hamilton Area

  • books submitted by Hamilton Arts Council staff and volunteers

Submission of Entries

  • deadline for submissions is August 20, 2023. Late submissions will not be eligible for consideration

  • submissions are to be dropped off or postmarked on the deadline date or earlier to: 240 Edgemont Street South, Hamilton, ON L8K 2J2

  • submissions must include four (4) copies of the submitted book in a single category, with an additional three (3) copies per subsequent category (for example, two (2) categories equates to seven (7) books). Submitted books will not be returned

  • submissions must be accompanied by an online application (found below)

Please note, that in order for each category to be awarded, a minimum of three (3) eligible submissions per category must be received. If this minimum is not reached, submissions received will be forwarded for consideration in the following year’s program.

If you choose to submit a digital copy of your book, please email one (1) .PDF of your book to This submission must also be accompanied by an online application (found below).

A short-list of finalists will be announced in November 2023, with the recipients being announced at the Hamilton Literary Awards Ceremony in December 2023. Details of the Awards Ceremony will be shared at a later date.

HAC reserves the right to exclude any book from consideration.

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Key Dates

Call for submissions open: July 5, 2023

Submissions close: August 20, 2023 

Shortlist announcement: November, 2023

Awards Ceremony: December, 2023

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Image: Hamilton Community Foundation presenting plaque to Poetry Award Recipient, Jaclyn Desforges

Image: 29th annual Hamilton Literary Awards Ceremony Host, Anuja Varghese

The Hamilton Literary Awards program priorities include:

  • building new audiences for authors in the Greater Hamilton Area and the Six Nations of the Grand River

  • creating pathways for authors to develop their professional networks

  • fostering and highlighting a diverse representation of authors, committee members, adjudicators, audiences, and host

  • increasing visibility of and access to the Hamilton Literary Awards

On December 12, 2022, the 29th annual Hamilton Literary Awards were presented at Theatre Aquarius. The Awards celebrated literary excellence in works published in 2021 from the Greater Hamilton Area and Six Nations of the Grand River. Authors were recognized in the categories of Fiction, Non-Fiction, Poetry and the Kerry Schooley Book Award.

Read the 2022 Hamilton Literary Awards Program Report!

Read about the 29th annual Hamilton Literary Awards recipients and highlights from the in-person ceremony, by following the links below:

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Image: Shortlisted author, John Terpstra, reading an excerpt of his work at the 29th annual Hamilton Literary Awards Ceremony

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Read more about the legacy of the Awards and 2022 award recipients:

About Kerry Schooley

Kerry Schooley
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