Senator Don Oliver Young Black Voices Book Prize

New for 2023

In 2022, Senator Don Oliver established the Young Black Voices Book Prize as part of his legacy to the Atlantic cultural community. Designed to encourage the creation of work by young Black writers from Atlantic Canada, the award will recognize excellence of books published in Canada that celebrate their stories and creative vision, both fiction and non-fiction, in alternate years, beginning with fiction in 2023. The Prize will acknowledge young writers’ achievement in the presentation of aspects of the cultural, historical, and sociopolitical situation of Canadians of African descent.

This award is established to encourage young writers to find their voices and share their stories with the world. To ensure that it is younger writers that receive the benefit from the Prize, submitted titles must have been written by an individual age 35 or younger. 

Atlantic Black voices have much to tell us, whether rooted in the region for generations or newer voices from the African diaspora. Fostering and sharing these stories will contribute to intercultural understanding and promote the values of diversity and inclusion in that unique way that only great writing can do. 

A diverse group of community members will constitute the jury for this award, and a small stipend will be provided to jurors. 


Publishers or authors with eligible titles are asked to submit four (4) copies along with a completed submission form. The entry fee (non-refundable) is $35.00 per title (cheques made payable to the Atlantic Book Awards Society). The Society will consider waiving the fee when the cost is deemed a barrier to entry.

Please read the following eligibility criteria before submitting titles:

  • Books published between November 1, 2019, and October 31, 2022 (reissues of earlier publications are not eligible).
  • Books written by a Black individual born in Atlantic Canada or who has been resident of Atlantic Canada for at least two years and  who was  35 years of age or younger at the time the book was written.
  • For 2023, only books of fiction are eligible.
  • Books must contain a minimum of 40 percent text.
  • Books must be 49 pages or more and available for sale.
  • Self-published books are eligible as long as they have been professionally produced and meet all other criteria.
  • Anthologies are not eligible.
  • Children’s books are not eligible. Children’s books can be submitted to the Ann Connor Brimer Award. For further information, go to
  • Books written for older teens (16+) will be accepted.
  • Collections of poetry are not eligible. Poetry submissions can be submitted to the J. M. Abraham Atlantic Poetry Award and/or the Maxine Tynes Nova Scotia Poetry Award. For links to the submission information for these two awards, go to
  • The Atlantic Book Awards Society reserves the right to reject submitted titles. Rejected titles will not be returned.
  • The submission fee of $35.00 per title must accompany entries and is non-refundable. Cheques should be made payable to the Atlantic Book Awards.
  • Books must be submitted no later than November 1, 2022.

The Submission Form is available for download, as an MS Word .doc or as a .pdf.

For more information contact:

Heather MacKenzie

The deadline for receipt of the submission form, submission fee, and copies of the book is Tuesday, November 1, 2022. A community-based jury will choose three finalists. The shortlisted titles will be announced in March 2023. The winner of the Prize will be announced at the Atlantic Book Awards ceremony in June 2023.