We’re thrilled to share that on September 15, it was announced that Anita Lahey is a finalist for the Ottawa Book Awards for her memoir The Last Goldfish: A True Tale of Friendship! Learn more about the Ottawa Book Awards here.

The Ottawa Book Awards recognize the top English and French books published in the past year by 19 local authors—exemplifying Ottawa’s rich literary talent.

The other finalists for the English Non-Fiction award include Tim Cook’s The Fight for History: 75 Years of Forgetting, Remembering, and Remaking Canada’s Second World War (Penguin Random House), Suzanne Evans’ The Taste of Longing: Ethel Mulvany and her Starving Prisoners of War Cookbook (Between the Lines), Séan McCann and Andrea Aragon’s One Good Reason: A Memoir of Addiction and Recovery, Music and Love (Nimbus Publishing), and Brodie Ramin’s The Age of Fentanyl: Ending the Opioid Epidemic (Dundurn Press). Last year’s winner for the 2020 English Non-Fiction award was Beverly McLachlin’s Truth be Told: My Journey Through Life and the Law.

The winners of each category will be announced at the awards ceremony, which will take place virtually on Wednesday, October 20 at 6PM EDT. Each winner will receive $7,500, while finalists will each receive $1,000. To receive a link to the invitation for the event, please write to


Twenty-five years ago and counting, Louisa, my true, essential, always-there-for-everything friend, died. We were 22.

When Anita Lahey opens her binder in grade nine French and gasps over an unsigned form, the girl with the burst of red hair in front of her whispers, Forge it! Thus begins an intense, joyful friendship, one of those powerful bonds forged in youth that shapes a person’s identity and changes the course of a life.

Anita and Louisa navigate the wilds of 1980s suburban adolescence against the backdrop of dramatic world events such as the fall of the Berlin Wall. They make carpe diem their manifesto and hatch ambitious plans. But when Louisa’s life takes a shocking turn, into hospital wards, medical tests, and treatments, a new possibility confronts them, one that alters, with devastating finality, the prospect of the future for them both.

Equal parts humorous and heartbreaking, The Last Goldfish is a poignant memoir of youth, friendship, and the impermanence of life.


Anita Lahey’s books include The Mystery Shopping Cart: Essays on Poetry and Culture and two Véhicule Press poetry collections: Spinning Side Kick and Out to Dry in Cape Breton. Anita is an award-winning magazine journalist, past editor of Arc Poetry Magazine, and serves as series editor of the annual anthology, Best Canadian Poetry. A former resident of Toronto, Montreal, Fredericton and Victoria, she maintains fierce familial ties to Cape Breton Island and lives in Ottawa with her family. She grew up in Burlington, Ontario, in a house with a huge backyard a short bike ride from Lake Ontario.


Order your copy today here!