“The Very Best!” Book Awards

The Very Best! Book Awards are awarded to CanLit books we have read and reviewed within the preceding year and are announced in early September (our reading ‘season’ goes from September 1st to the end of the following June when the shortlist is revealed). These are books that we consider exceptional in some way; books that we enjoyed reading so much that we didn’t want them to end. Or, if it was a non-fiction title, one that is well researched and the author has made it interesting to read, not just pages of facts. Those are just some of the qualities that make a book ‘special’ and worthy of being considered for the award. The longlisted books are those written by a Canadian author and published by a Canadian publishing house.

Full disclosure: the books on this list may appear to be heavily weighted toward Atlantic Canada. This is due to the fact that Atlantic Canadian books, authors and publishers have always been the focus of The Miramichi Reader. “First Book” means that the author has never had any of their previous works (poetry, short stories) published in a book form. An author or a book cannot be listed in two categories unless one is for Best Cover Art/Design.

The 2020 winners are here: https://miramichireader.ca/2020/08/all-2020-winners/

The 2020 Shortlist is here: https://miramichireader.ca/2020/07/announcing-the-2020-shortlist/

2020 Longlist

Best Fiction

Best Historical Fiction (Back for 2020!)

Best Short Fiction

Best First Book (Fiction or Non-Fiction)

Best Non-Fiction

Best Poetry (New for 2020!)

Best Cover Art/Design

2020 Virtuous Love Award for Publishing

  • TBA

2020 Promising Authors

  • TBA

2019 Shortlists:

Best First Book Fiction:

Best First Book Non-Fiction:

Best Fiction:

Best Non-Fiction:

2019 Promising Authors:

2019 Longlists


Right-click to download for use on social media, etc.

Short Fiction (Tie!)

Best First Book, Fiction or Non-Fiction


2018 Longlist

Here are the 2018 winners:

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Short Fiction

Historical Fiction


2017 Longlist

These books are the ones I have read that deserve consideration of a “Very Best!” Book Award for 2016/17. There are 10 in the Fiction category and 6 in the Non-fiction category. (They are in no particular order.)



2017 Winners

Here are the six standout books from 2017. You can read more about each book in this post here.

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2016 Winners

Here are the seven books that I considered “The Very Best” reads of 2015/16. You can read more about them in this post.

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2016 Long List

This year’s list is composed of 18 outstanding titles (11 fiction, 7 non-fiction), each one unique in its own way.

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Past Winners


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