BMO Winterset Award
The Winterset Award was established in 2000 by Richard Gwyn, OC, to commemorate his wife, Newfoundland-born, award-winning journalist and author Sandra Fraser Gwyn, OC. The annual award is now known as the BMO Winterset Award with the entry of the Bank of Montreal Financial Group as a full partner, together with the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council and the Sandra Fraser Gwyn Foundation.



Celebration of Excellence

The BMO Winterset Award celebrates and supports excellence in Newfoundland & Labrador writing. Writers must be either native-born Newfoundlanders or residents of the province. All published literary works are eligible: novels, poetry, non-fiction, collections of essays, works of drama, and books for children and young adults. The only criterion is literary excellence. Some 35 to 45 works are entered into the competition annually.

The award is presented each year in March at a ceremony at Government House. The winning author receives a $12,500 prize, while two finalists each receive prizes of $3,000.

Honouring a Legacy

The name Winterset is derived from Sandra’s childhood home on Winter Avenue in St. John’s. A native of St. John’s, Sandra was a summer resident in Eastport and a tireless promoter of Newfoundland art and culture across Canada. A distinguished journalist and a prize-winning social historian, she is known best for her books The Private Capital and Tapestry of War.

The Winterset Award is among the largest regional literary awards in the country and is administered by the Newfoundland and Labrador Arts Council.

Holly Hogam

And the 2023 winner is…

Holly Hogan – Message in a Bottle:  Ocean Dispatches from a Seabird Biologist (Knopf Canada, ON)

The finalists:

Michael Crummey – The Adversary (Knopf Canada, ON)

William Ping – Hollow Bamboo (Harper Collins, ON Books)



Past Winners and Finalists

BMO Winterset Award Winners and Finalists


Shelly Kawaja – The Raw Light of Morning (Breakwater Books)

The finalists:

Lisa Moore – This is How We Love (House of Anansi Press)

Meghan Greeley – Hunger (Breakwater Books)


Carmella Gray-Cosgrove – Nowadays and Lonelier

The finalists:

Amiee Wall – We, Jane 

Claire Wilkshire – The Love Olympics


Eva Crocker – All I Ask


Bridget Canning – Some People’s Children 

Andrea Procter – A Long Journey: Residential Schools in Labrador and Newfoundland

Winner: Megan Gail Coles – Small Game Hunting at the Local Coward Gun Club

Michael Crummey – The Innocents

Tshaukuesh Elizabeth Penashue – Nitinikiau Innusi: I Keep the Land Alive


Winner: Heather Smith – “Ebb & Flo”

Melissa Barbeau – “The Luminous Sea”
Robert Chafe – “Between Breaths”


Winner: Joel Thomas Hynes – “We’ll All Be Burnt In Our Beds Some Night”


Bridget Canning – “The Greatest Hits of Wanda Jaynes”

Wayne Johnston – “First Snow, Last Light”


Winner: Paul Rowe – “The Last Half of The Year”


Robert Chafe – “Two-Man Tent”

Michael Crummey – “Little Dogs”


Winner: Sara Tilley – “Duke”


Stan Dragland – “Strangers & Others”

Leslie Vryenhoek – “Ledger of the Open Hand”


Winner: Megan Gail Coles – “Eating Habits Of The Chronically Lonesome”


Michael Crummey – “Sweetland”

Alan Doyle – “Where I Belong”


Winner: Paul Bowdring – “The Strangers’ Gallery”


Lisa Moore – “Caught”

Carmelita McGrath – “Escape Velocity”


Winner: Andy Jones – “Jack & Mary in the Land of Thieves”

Greg Malone – “Don’t Tell the Newfoundlanders”

Russell Wangersky – “Whirl Away”


Winner: Don McKay – “The Shell of the Tortoise”


Edward Riche – “Easy to Like”

Mark Callanan – “Gift Horse”


Winner: Russell Wangersky – “The Glass Harmonica”

Samuel Thomas Martin – “This Ramshackle Tabernacle”

Craig Francis Power – “Blood Relatives”


Winner: Jessica Grant – “Come, Thou Tortoise”

Michael Crummey – “Galore”

Lisa Moore – “February”


Winner: Randall Maggs – “Night Work: The Sawchuk Poems.”


Sara Tilley – “Skin Room”

Marie Wadden – “Where the Pavement Ends: Canada’s Aboriginal Recovery Movement and the Urgent Need for Reconciliation”


Winner: Kathleen Winter – “boYs”

Paul Rowe – “The Silent Time”

George Rose – “Cod: An Ecological History of the North Atlantic Fisheries”


Winner: Kenneth J. Harvey -“Inside”

Russell Wangersky – “The Hour of Bad Decisions”

Ken Babstock – “Airstream Land Yacht”


Winner: Joan Clark – “An Audience of Chairs”

Enos Watts – “Spaces Between the Trees”

Anne Hart, Roberta Buchanan & Bryan Greene – “The Woman Who Mapped Labrador”


Winner: Edward Riche – “The Nine Planets”


Joel Hynes – “Down to the Dirt”

Ramona Dearing – “So Beautiful”


Winner: Robert Mellin – “Tilting”


Mary Dalton – “Merrybegot”

Susan Rendell – “In the Chambers of the Sea”


Winner: Joan Clark – “The Word for Home”

Lisa Moore – “Open”

Wayne Johnston – “The Navigator of New York”


Winner: Michael Crummey – “River Thieves”


Kan Babstock – “Days Into Flatspin”

Ed Kavanagh – “The Confessions of Nipper Mooney”


Winner: Michael Winter – “This All Happened”

Libby Creelman – “Walking in Paradise”

Bernice Morgan – “The Topography of Love”