Grace Irwin Grand Prize

Grace Irwin and the history of the prize

Grace Lilian Irwin, was a trailblazing Canadian Christian writer passed away in September 2008 at age 101 after a vibrant life as an author, Classics scholar and ordained minister. Her alma mater, University of Toronto’s Victoria College, called her “an inspirational force in the lives of all who knew her.”

During her 38-year career teaching English, Latin and Greek at Humberside Collegiate Institute in Toronto, she spent her summers writing at her cottage in Haliburton, Ontario. Her first and best-known novel, Least of All Saints, was published in 1952.

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Retired book publisher and nephew of Grace Irwin, John W. Irwin, and his wife Dr. Eleanor have donated the cash prize.  His four decades of church and community volunteerism include serving on the board of Christian Info Canada, the parent organization of The Word Guild.The award is co-sponsored by The Word Guild.

“As a career book publisher, I understand the importance to any author of public recognition of his or her work by winning a juried prize,” John explained. “The Irwin family is happy to offer the Grace Irwin Award in recognition of a remarkable life, well lived. We pray that it will assist in the recognition of other Canadian writers of distinction.”

Grace Irwin Prize Details

The Grace Irwin Prize is Canada’s largest literary award for writers who are Christian. It will celebrate the best book published in the associated year by a Canadian author who writes from a Christian worldview. Each year, all shortlisted books entered in The Word Awards are automatically considered for the Grace Irwin Prize.

During this secondary stage of competition, independent judges will determine the winner of the Grace Irwin Prize. The prize will be presented to the author of what judges deem is the year’s most outstanding book at The Word Awards Gala. All judges’ decisions are final.

Contest organizers envision that the cash prize will assist writers to take a sabbatical for writing or research; expand their public platform; hone public speaking and media skills; attend writers’ conferences or courses; obtain professional editing of manuscripts in progress; purchase upgraded computer equipment; or other projects.