Press release

Tammy Armstrong Wins 2022 HarperCollinsPublishersLtd/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE (Toronto; October 6, 2022)

HarperCollinsPublishersLtd, the UBC School of Creative Writing, and CookeMcDermid Literary Management are thrilled to announce that the winner of the 2022 HarperCollinsPublishersLtd/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction is Tammy Armstrong for her adult novel Ursula.

The winning author, chosen by CookeMcDermid and the editorial team of HarperCollinsCanada, gains representation by CookeMcDermid and a standard contract to publish from HarperCollins, with a negotiated advance. HarperCollinsCanada has secured World Rights to Ursula and will publish in Spring 2024. The prize contributes to the publishing landscape significantly with past winners such as Ellen Keith’s #1 bestselling The Dutch Wife, which was an international bestseller with rights sold in six countries, and Michelle Good, author of the iconic Five Little Indians, who went on to win the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction, CBC Canada Reads, the KOBO Emerging Writer Prize, and has sold close to 200,000 copies in Canada alone.

Ursula is an historical novel set in a New Brunswick logging camp in the 1920s. Ursula is a young girl growing up in the camp with her family and her “brother” Bruno, a bear who has been raised by her family and is accepted in the close-knit community of lumberjacks. When their malicious camp supervisor is found dead in a ditch, Bruno is blamed and then kidnapped and sold to an animal trader, leaving Ursula no choice but to embark on a hazardous solo journey through the forest to rescue him.

Armstrong said of the win, “It is an honour to receive the HarperCollins/UBC Fiction Prize. I started writing Ursula in 2015, never imagining where my book might go. I am so very grateful to the jury for enjoying it and HarperCollins for giving it a home.”

Tammy Armstrong is a former Fulbright scholar and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from the University of British Columbia, and a Ph.D. in Literature and Critical Animal Studies from the University of New Brunswick. Armstrong’s writing has appeared in literary journals in Canada, the United States, and Europe. She has published two novels: Pye-Dogs and Translations: Aistreann, which won the David Adams Richards Prize, was longlisted for the Chapters/Robertson Davies Prize, and was included as one of the best adult books for teenage readers by the libraries at the University of Alberta and the University of Wisconsin. She has also written five books of poetry, including Bogman’s Music which was a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Award. She lives in southern Nova Scotia.



“The jury was enthralled by Tammy Armstrong’s winning novel. The narrative is sown with rural New Brunswick folklore and superstition, and there is a whimsical rendering of the remote setting that creates a magical atmosphere to this enchanted adventure story. A wholly unique and heartwarming novel by a talented writer.”
—Janice Zawerbny, Executive Editor at HarperCollinsCanada 

“All of us at the UBC School of Creative Writing are so proud of Tammy’s success, and can’t wait to hold the published book in our hands.”
—Annabel Lyon, Director of the UBC School of Creative Writing

“Everyone at our agency loves Ursula—the novel and the character—and we are head-over-heels in love with her ‘brother’ bear, Bruno. We are excited to see the great things that will come from Tammy and her team at HarperCollins, CookeMcDermid, and UBC.”
—Rachel Letofsky, Literary Agent for CookeMcDermid Literary Agency


About the Prize

Now in its tenth year, the Prize for Best New Fiction is awarded bi-annually. The next opportunity will be in 2024 and is open to currently enrolled students and previous graduates of the UBC School of Creative Writing. Past winners include:

  • The Island of Forgetting by Jasmine Sealy
  • Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
  • The Dutch Wife by Ellen Keith
  • The Ghost Keeper by Natalie Morrill
  • The Good Sister by Chelsea Bolan
  • Book of Sands by Karim Alrawi

For more information on the prize, visit

About HarperCollins Publishers Ltd

Known worldwide for the quality of its list, HarperCollinsCanada is the proud home of many bestselling authors, including Thomas King, Zoe Whittall, Esi Edugyan, Michelle Good, Heather O’Neill, Lawrence Hill, Kamal Al-Solaylee, Mark Sakamoto, Catherine Hernandez, Emily St. John Mandel, Tracey Lindberg, Tara Westover, Jody Wilson-Raybould, Rachel Cusk, David A. Robertson, Uzma Jalaluddin, Kim Fu, Karen McBride, Jordan Tannahill, Jael Richardson, and Helen Humphreys, among many more found at

HarperCollins Publishers is the second-largest consumer book publisher in the world, with operations in 17 countries. With 200 years of history and more than 120 branded imprints around the world, HarperCollins publishes approximately 10,000 new books every year in 16 languages, and has a print and digital catalogue of more than 200,000 titles. Writing across dozens of genres, HarperCollins authors include winners of the Nobel Prize, the Pulitzer Prize, the National Book Award, the Newbery and Caldecott Medals, and the Booker Prize. HarperCollins, headquartered in New York, is a subsidiary of News Corp (Nasdaq: NWS, NWSA; ASX: NWS, NWSLV) and can be visited online at

Date Posted

October 6, 2022


Lauren Morocco


Tammy Armstrong Wins 2022 HarperCollinsPublishersLtd/UBC Prize for Best New Fiction