The Globe and Mail's Robyn Doolittle is one of the winners of the first-ever Kobo Emerging Writer Prize.
Doolittle was awarded the inaugural non-fiction prize for Crazy Town: The Rob Ford Story. Other winners include Claire Battershill's Circus, which was named best in literary fiction and Sam Wiebe, who won the mystery category with Last of the Independents: Vancouver Noir.
The e-book publisher awarded the "best new Canadian writers" a $10,000 cash prize apiece, along with additional marketing and communications support "to help kick-start their budding careers."
Chosen from a shortlist of 15 Canadian authors announced in May, the inaugural prize winners were selected by a panel of Kobo's booksellers and marketers, but took reader reviews into account in determining the winners. Rakuten Kobo Inc. is a global e-reading service that offers 4.7 million titles online.
Author and non-fiction judge Charlotte Gray praised Doolittle for the work, saying her investigative bent made Crazy Town "much more than a bare-bones account of a drug-addicted local politician and his toxic family."
Doolittle says she was shocked by the win given the competition in her category, which included Brent Rathgeber's Irresponsible Government: The Decline of Parliamentary Democracy in Canada and Laughing All the Way to the Mosque by Zarqa Nawaz.
"I know I'm going to look at this book as one of the craziest points in my life," Doolittle said over the phone from Halifax. "It was never supposed to be a blow-by-blow of the Rob Ford story. It's supposed to be about Toronto … a harder look at the crossroads that the city is at right now."
While journalism for The Globe is her priority right now, Doolittle doesn't rule out the possibility of another book down the line.