The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize

The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize is awarded in honour of acclaimed Calgary writer W.O. Mitchell and recognizes literary achievement by Calgary authors. Established in 1996, the W.O. Mitchell Book Prize is coordinated through a partnership between The City of Calgary and the Writers' Guild of Alberta, which administers the award as part of the Alberta Literary Competitions.

Entries are judged by an independent jury recruited by the Writers' Guild of Alberta. Shortlisted authors have an opportunity to deliver a reading. The winning author receives a $5,000 cash prize and receives the award at the Calgary Awards Presentation in June.

2022 Recipient


My Mother, My Translator

Jaspreet Singh

Vehicule Press

In 2008, Jaspreet Singh made a pact with his mother. He would gladly give her the go-ahead to publish her significantly altered translation of a story from his collection, Seventeen Tomatoes, if she promised to write her memoirs. After she died in 2012, he decided to take up the memoir she had started. My Mother, My Translator is a deeply personal exploration of a complex relationship. It is a family history, a work of mourning, a meditation on storytelling and silences, and a reckoning with trauma—the inherited trauma of the 1947 Partition of India and the direct trauma of the November 1984 anti-Sikh violence Singh experienced as a teenager.

Tracing the men and especially the women of his family from the 1918 pandemic through the calamitous events of Partition, My Mother, My Translator takes us through Singh’s childhood in Kashmir and with his grandparents in Indian Punjab to his arrival in Canada in 1990 to study the sciences, up to the closing moments of 2020, as he tries to locate new forms of stories for living in a present marked by COVID-19 and climate crisis.

Eligibility criteria


  • The book's publication date must be in 2021.
  • The author must have lived (permanent address) in Calgary for a minimum of two years, as of December 31, 2021.
  • The following types of writing are eligible: fiction, poetry, non-fiction, children's literature or drama.
  • Self-published books with an ISBN are eligible.
  • The following types or writing are not eligible: multi-author anthologies, cookbooks, guidebooks, textbooks, technical manuals, bibliographies and works of a purely academic or scholarly nature. Books of fewer than 48 pages (except children's literature), books that are not written in English or French, multi-authored books (if any one of the authors is not a Calgarian), and reprints or new editions of previously published books are also not eligible.
  • If, in the opinion of the jury, no work in this competition merits an award, no award will be given. In all cases the jury's decision is final.

Submissions for The W.O. Mitchell Book Prize


Submissions for The City of Calgary W.O. Mitchell Book Prize are accepted in accordance with the Alberta Literary Competitions timelines, which run October through December of the award year.

For more information or to submit a publication, contact the Writers' Guild of Alberta, call 1‑800‑665‑5354 or visit www.writersguild.ca.