Seth Rogen, Jesse Wente, Perdita Felicien shortlisted for $10K Kobo Emerging Writer Prize

The Kobo Emerging Writer Prize recognizes the year's best debut books in nonfiction, literary fiction and romance.
From left: Seth Rogen, Jesse Wente and Perdita Felicien are 2022 Kobo Emerging Writer finalists. (Maarten de Boer, Red Works 2021, CBC)

Actor and filmmaker Seth Rogen, journalist Jesse Wente and Olympian Perdita Felicien are shortlisted for the 2022 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.

The annual $10,000 prize recognizes the year's best debut books by Canadian writers. This year, winners from three categories will be selected: nonfiction, literary fiction and romance.

Rogen is nominated in the nonfiction category for Yearbooka collection of funny true stories from his stand-up comedy career as a teenager and adventures with famous people in Los Angeles.

Rogen is a comedy titan from Vancouver known for writing films like Superbad, starring in the Neighbours trilogy, The Interview and Knocked Up and producing hit TV shows like Invincible and The Boys. 

LISTEN | Seth Rogen on Q

Seth Rogen is known as a comedy titan with a penchant for smoking pot. Now, he’s also an author. He joined Tom Power to talk about his debut book, Yearbook, which features a collection of hilarious personal essays about his early life in Canada.

Anishinaabe writer, broadcaster and arts leader Jesse Wente is a nonfiction nominee for his memoir Unreconciled. It weaves together Wente's personal story with a larger exploration of society, sports, art, popular culture and more. He shares his family's history, including his grandmother's experience in residential school, and his own frequent incidents of racial profiling by police. Wente argues that the notion of reconciliation between First Nations and Canada is not a realistic path forward.

Wente is the co-executive director of the Indigenous Screen Office and chair of the Canada Council for the Arts. He has been an arts columnist for CBC Radio's Metro Morning for more than two decades, and also worked at the Toronto International Film Festival for 11 years.

LISTEN | Jesse Wente on The Next Chapter

Jesse Wente talks to Shelagh Rogers about his memoir, Unreconciled.

World champion hurdler and broadcaster Felicien is also a nonfiction finalist for her memoir My Mother's DaughterThe book is a moving homage to Felicien's mother, Catherine, who, as a young woman in 1974, moved from St. Lucia to work as a nanny for a wealthy white family in Canada. Catherine endured racism, domestic violence and homelessness in her new country, but struggled forward to nurture her youngest daughter's incredible athletic talents to reach the world's greatest sports stadiums.

Felicien is a 10-time national champion, a two-time Olympian and became the first Canadian woman to win a gold medal at a track world championships. She now works as a sports broadcaster and is part of the CBC's team covering the Olympics.

LISTEN | Perdita Felicien on The Next Chapter

Olympian and TV broadcaster Perdita Felicien can now add author to her extensive list of accomplishments. Her new book is a memoir called, My Mother's Daughter. Perdita takes our Proust questionnaire.

Toronto author Ashley Audrain made the literary fiction shortlist for her bestselling thriller The Push. The novel follows a first-time mother named Blythe, who grows increasingly anxious over the fact that she feels no connection to her newborn daughter Violet. The birth of her second child, Sam, on the other hand, is everything she imagined. The Push is a dark story about motherhood and the pressure of expectation.

Ashley Audrain is a writer living in Toronto and the former publicity director of Penguin Canada. The Push is her first novel.

LISTEN | Ashley Audrain on The Sunday Magazine

Host Piya Chattopadhyay speaks to Ashley Audrain about her debut novel, The Push — a searing look at motherhood told as a psychological thriller. The conversation explores the expectations put on moms, including the ones they put on themselves; what goes wrong when motherhood and womanhood get too entangled; and goes beyond "bad mom" tropes to delve into the things mothers wish they could say — and why we all need to listen when they do say them.

The three winners of the 2022 Kobo Emerging Writer Prizes will be announced on June 22, 2022. The shortlists were selected by Kobo's team of booksellers.

There is one judge picking a winner from each category: novelist and journalist Katherine Ashenburg will be the nonfiction judge, award-winning novelist and short story writer Heather O'Neill will be the literary fiction judge and bestselling romance author Nana Malone will judge the romance prize.

Here are all the 2022 Kobo Emerging Writer finalists.


Literary fiction:


  • New Girl in Little Cove by Damhnait Monaghan
  • Cure Bound by M.L. Philpitt
  • Sarah Meets Mace by Ryan James Patrick
  • The Way Maker by Arlie Sheelin
  • For the Record by Nicole Lam
  • Dad Jokes and Pine Cones by C.J. Banks

Add some “good” to your morning and evening.

A variety of newsletters you'll love, delivered straight to you.

Sign up now