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 more than 300 members living in every corner of New Brunswick.

2023 Shortlisted Titles

Valerie Sherrard and Natalie Hyde, More than Words: Navigating the Complex World of Communication (DCB Young Readers); Miramichi; illustrated by David Jardine

Anne Koval, Mary Pratt: A Love Affair with Vision (Goose Lane Publishing); Sackville

Jason Bell, Cracking the Nazi Code (Harper Collins), Fredericton

2022 Awards

Winner: James Mullinger

Brit Happens* Or Living the Canadian Dream

Published by Goose Lane

Judge Rowan McCandless's citation: "Brit Happens* Or Living the Canadian Dream by James Mullinger is a remarkable comedic memoir. It follows the risky decision of an established comedian and his Canadian-born wife, Pam, to relocate their family from London, Great Britain, to Saint John, New Brunswick, in 2014. A life-changing experience characterized by humour, Mullinger’s book shows how to survive and thrive as a comic raising young children in the Maritimes."

Also on Shortlist

Mark Anthony Jarman, Touch Anywhere to Begin, Published by Goose Lane.

Jon Claytor, Take the Long Way Home. Published by Conundrum Press.

2021 Awards

Winner: Martha Vowles

Senior Management, Parenting my Parents

Published by Nevermore Press

Judge Julie Sedivy's citation: " Martha Vowles plunges the reader into the hilarious, exasperating, and heartbreaking realities of caring for elderly parents as they lose their capacity for autonomy. Like the sharpest of photographic lenses, her unflinching rendering of the details of daily life make it impossible to deny the difficulties that come with aging and the ways in which society is ill-equipped to handle them. Nonetheless, in this memoir filled with humour, compassion, and insight, we are all urged to do the best we can."

Also on Shortlist

Janet Coulter Sanford, Memories on the Bounty: A Story of Friendship, Love, and Adventure, Published by Nimbus.

Michael Boudreau and Bonnie Huskins, Just the Usual Work: The Social Worlds of Ida Martin, Working-Class Diarist. Published by McGill-Queen’s University Press.

2020 Awards

Winner: Philip Lee

Restigouche: The Long Run of the Wild River

Published by Goose Lane

Judge Naomi Lewis's citation: "In Restigouche, Philip Lee offers a rich and immersive travel memoir full of adventure, as well as the history of place and its people, a philosophical and ecological treatise, and a plea, if not a lament, for the natural world and all the living beings that depend on it. One man’s love and exploration of this one river offer the reader a glimpse of what’s possible when we pay due respect and attention to the world’s wild places, not to mention to the people who dwell there, and what calamity awaits when, as happens all too often, greed and decadence get the upper hand."

Also on Shortlist

Odette Barr, Teaching at the Top of the World. Published by Pottersfield Press.

Virginia Bliss Bjerkelund, Meadowlands: A Chronicle of the Scovil Family. Published by Chapel Street Editions.

2019 Awards

Winner: Danny Jacobs

Sourcebooks for Our Drawings: Essays and Remnants

Published by Gordon Hill Press

Judge Richard Kelly Kemick's citation: "Sourcebooks is a collection of essays that startles, illuminates, engages. In writing equal parts deep personal and deeply (deeply) stylish, Jacobs puts his own life up for inspection, writing about libraries, family illness, a town that can’t stop lighting itself on fire. This collection is a handful of confetti and loose change tossed into a ceiling fan: bedazzlement and danger within a single moment."

Also on Shortlist

Leslie Kern, Feminist City: A Field Guide. Published by Between The Lines.

Ronald Rees and Joshua Green, Slow Seconds: The Photography of George Thomas Taylor. Published by Goose Lane.

2018 Awards


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Judge  citation: "."

Also on Shortlist

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.


2023 - Madhur Anand

MADHUR ANAND's debut book of prose This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart won the Governor General's Literary Award for Nonfiction. Her two collections of poetry, A New Index for Predicting Catastrophes, and Parasitic Oscillations, were both finalists for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry. She is a full professor of ecology and sustainability at the University of Guelph.

2022 - Rowan McCandless

2021 - Julie Sedivy

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

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