New Carol Shields Prize for Fiction Announced

BANFF, AB, February 11, 2020 – Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is proud to announce its partnership with a major new North American literary award launching in 2022—The Carol Shields Prize for Fiction, the first English-language literary award to celebrate creativity and excellence in fiction by women writers in the United States and Canada.

The Carol Shields Prize for Fiction will be awarded in 2022 and will be open to women and non-binary fiction writers in the US and Canada for a short story collection or a novel. The mission of the award is to acknowledge, celebrate, and promote fiction by Canadian and American women writers.

The winner will receive $150,000, along with a residency at Banff Centre for the author and a chosen emerging writer, as part of a mentorship component of the award—the two writers will have a chance to spend meaningful time at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity, in its inspiring mountain environment. 

The prize is co-founded by author Susan Swan and editor Janice Zawerbny. A prominent group of authors and have supported its creation, including Canadian writers Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Dionne Brand, Jane Urquhart and Charlotte Gray. 

“Banff Centre is dedicated to the growth and encouragement of writers in Canada and around the world, with programs and residencies supporting established and emerging authors. The spirit of this award is timely,” said Derek Beaulieu, Director of Literary Arts at Banff Centre. “We’re thrilled to support this prize through a residency in Banff Centre’s Leighton Artist Studios.” 

“All of us on the Carol Shields Prize Foundation are really excited about the new Banff Centre Residency and the chance it offers to the winner and an emerging writer to work together in this beautiful landscape,” said Swan.  

The Carol Shields Prize mentorship residency will utilize Banff Centre as an educational space, to strengthen the career and craft of an emerging writer, who will be mentored by the winning author of the prize. 

“American-born and Canadian-based author Carol Shields was committed to the wider recognition of writer’s voices and lives,” said Swan. “My hope is that the prize will boost the profile and incomes of a large number of women writers, that it will function as a permanent historical record of brilliant work by women fiction authors.”

The Carol Shields Prize mentorship residency at Banff Centre will accommodate the two authors in Banff Centre’s exclusive Leighton Artist Studios, a forested, private work residency on campus that is designed to increase productivity through secluded and engaging work spaces. It is just one of many literary arts residencies, programs and public events that run annually at Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. 

For more information about Banff Centre’s Literary Arts programs visit

About Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity: Founded in 1933, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity is Canada’s largest postgraduate arts and leadership school. What started as a single course in drama has grown to become the global organization leading in arts, culture, and creativity across dozens of disciplines. From our home on Treaty 7 territory in the stunning Canadian Rocky Mountains, Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity aims to inspire everyone who attends our campus – artists, leaders, and thinkers – to unleash their creative potential and realize their unique contribution to society through cross-disciplinary learning opportunities, world-class performances, and public outreach.

Programs at Banff Centre are made possible in part by the Government of Alberta through Alberta Advanced Education and the Alberta Foundation for the Arts, and the Government of Canada through the Department of Canadian Heritage and Canada Council for the Arts/Les programmes du Centre des arts de Banff sont rendus possibles en partie grâce au Gouvernement de l’Alberta par le support du ministère de l’Enseignement supérieur de l’Alberta et de la Fondation pour les arts de l’Alberta, et au gouvernement du Canada, par le support de Patrimoine canadien et du Conseil des arts du Canada.