The WFNB Nonfiction Award

The Writers' Federation of New Brunswick Book Prize recognizes the best book of nonfiction published by a New Brunswick resident in a given year. Since 2015 the prize has been sponsored by the Brennan family on behalf of the Writers' Federation of New Brunswick.

WFNB began three decades ago as a few friends gathered in a writers’ living room. Today, we’re a province-wide organization with 300 members living in every corner of New Brunswick.

2017 Awards

Winner: Rachel Bryant
The Homing Place
Published by Wilfrid Laurier Press.

Judge Andrew Westoll's citation: "Great nonfiction often challenges the reader to reconsider their place in the world, and that is exactly what Bryant has achieved with The Homing Place. Exhaustively researched, deeply informed by literary criticism, and written with the force of an impassioned thinker who has seen behind the veil of reconciliation in Canada, The Homing Place delivers a series of uncomfortable truths about the indigenous and settler relationship. A humanistic treatment that rewards, and deserves, deep engagement."

Also on Shortlist

Tony Robinson-Smith, The Dragon Run. Published by University of Alberta Press.

Jan Wong, Apron Strings. Published by Goose Lane.


2016 Awards

Winner: Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon
Shadow of Doubt
Published by Goose Lane.

Judge Myrl Coulter's citation: "Shadow of Doubt is a vivid account of the 2011 murder of Richard Oland and the 2015 trial of his son Dennis for the crime. With a huge amount of information, evidence, and detail that could have made reading this book a sluggish experience, Bobbi-Jean MacKinnon maintains fine control of her material as she guides her audience from the murder scene to the intensity of the courtroom. Weaving in the complexities of a protracted police investigation, a contentious family history, and a conflicted community mood, Shadow of Doubt is a fast-flowing page-turner that is hard to put down.."


Also on Shortlist

Melynda Jarratt, Letters from Beauly: Pat Hennessy and the Canadian Forestry Corps in Scotland, 1940-1945. Published by Goose Lane.

Roslyn Rosenfeld, Lucy Jarvis: Even Stones Have Life. Published by Goose Lane.


2015 awards

Winner: Donald Savoie
What is Government Good At?
Published by McGill-Queens University Press.

Judge Jane Silcott's citation: " Donald Savoie’s layered exploration of his own question is a well-timed look at the role of government. As he delves into the factors that affect our personal wellbeing, from regulation and de-regulation to the mores of the day, Savoie’s own beliefs are clear and cogent, and yet he doesn’t belabour them. This is a well-written, well structured book, packed with information and lightened with engaging and nuanced examples.


Also on Shortlist

Nicholas Guitard, The Lost Wilderness. Published by Goose Lane.

David Sullivan, Boss Gibson: Lumber King of New Brunswick. Self-published.


2022 - Rowan McCandless

Rowan McCandless writes from Treaty 1 territory in Winnipeg. A finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award in nonfiction, Rowan is also a co-winner of the Eileen McTavish Sykes Award for Best First Book (2022). Her award-winning writing has appeared in various anthologies and journalsIn 2018, she was long-listed for the Journey Prize and won the Constance Rooke CNF prize. In 2020, she received gold with the National Magazine Awards. Rowan is the Creative Nonfiction editor with The Fiddlehead magazine. Her debut book, Persephone’s Children, is a mosaic memoir about Rowan’s odyssey as a Black, biracial woman escaping the stranglehold of domestic abuse. Follow Rowan on Twitter (@rowanmccandless), Instagram (rowanmccandlesswrites) or online (

2021 - Julie Sedivy

2020 - Naomi Lewis
2019 - Richard Kelly Kemick
2018 - Donna Kane
2017 - Andrew Westoll
2016 - Myrl Couter
2015 - Jane Silcott

© 2021 Writers' Federation of New Brunswick

Territorial Acknowledgement

The Writers’ Federation of New Brunswick acknowledges that the land on which we live, work and gather is the traditional unceded territory of the Wolastoqiyik (Maliseet) and Mi’kmaq Peoples, and we honour the spirit of our ancestors’ Treaties of Peace and Friendship.

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