“The awards were announced on November 16, 2019.

There was a public nomination process where our readers submitted nominations across 78 categories. Self-nominations were permitted. Nominations closed November 30, 2019.

ByBlacks took the top three nominees with the highest number of votes as finalists in each category.

Voting opened on December 15, 2019. Readers had up until midnight December 31, 2019 to vote, and were allowed to vote once per day.

Congratulations to all winners! This award means you are loved out there – you must be doing something right!”

To see the full list, please visit:

Zalika Reid-Benta is the author of FRYING PLANTAIN, which was longlisted for the Giller Prize and a CBC Book of the Year. Published by Astoria in Spring 2019, FRYING PLANTAIN is a debut collection of linked stories that follow Kara Davis, a girl caught in the middle—of her Canadian nationality and her desire to be a “true” Jamaican, of her mother and grandmother’s rages and life lessons, of having to avoid being thought of as too “faas” or too “quiet” or too “bold” or too “soft.” Set in “Little Jamaica,” Toronto’s Eglinton West neighbourhood, Kara moves from girlhood to the threshold of adulthood, from elementary school to high school graduation, in these twelve interconnected stories. We see her on a visit to Jamaica, startled by the sight of a severed pig’s head in her great aunt’s freezer; in junior high, the victim of a devastating prank by her closest friends; and as a teenager in and out of her grandmother’s house, trying to cope with the ongoing battles between her unyielding grandparents.

A rich and unforgettable portrait of growing up between worlds, Frying Plantain shows how, in one charged moment, friendship and love can turn to enmity and hate, well-meaning protection can become control, and teasing play can turn to something much darker. In her brilliantly incisive debut, Zalika Reid-Benta artfully depicts the tensions between mothers and daughters, second-generation Canadians and first-generation cultural expectations, and Black identity and predominately white society.

Zalika Reid-Benta is a Toronto-based writer whose work has appeared on CBC Books, in TOK: Writing the New Toronto, and in Apogee Journal. She received an M.F.A. in fiction from Columbia University in 2014 and is an alumnus of the 2017 Banff Writing Studio. She completed a double major in English Literature and Cinema and a minor in Caribbean Studies at University of Toronto’s Victoria College. She also studied Creative Writing at U of T’s School of Continuing Studies. She is currently working on a young-adult fantasy novel drawing inspiration from Jamaican folklore and Akan spirituality.