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The three winners of the second-annual Kobo Emerging Writer Prize, which highlights Canadian authors with a debut book published in 2015, have been announced in Toronto.

Each winner from the literary fiction, romance and non-fiction categories receives $10,000, along with promotional, marketing and communications support to help their careers.

Simon Fraser University molecular biology and biochemistry lecturer Irina Kovalyova won the literary-fiction prize for Specimen, a collection of short stories exploring the relationship between science and the human heart. Gail Anderson-Dargatz, author and literary-fiction judge, said she was "entranced" by the book.

"As at home in the experimental story as in a traditional narrative, she tackles the ordinary, the bizarre and the taboo with equal assuredness," Anderson-Dargatz said. "Reading Kovalyova's magical stories, I again felt that numinous, giddy joy I first experienced as a young writer discovering the endless possibilities found in narrative form."

The romance prize was awarded to Nova Scotia writer Nicola R. White for her novel Fury's Kiss, which tells the story of a woman living on Cape Cod who discovers she has strange powers. Author Lynsay Sands, judge of the romance category, said the novel was "original" and that White is "a natural storyteller."

CBC broadcaster Wab Kinew won the non-fiction prize for his memoir The Reason You Walk. Camilla Gibb, author and non-fiction judge, called the book "a gift to this country."