Begun in 1993 by the Saskatchewan Writers' Guild, the Saskatchewan Library Association, and the Saskatchewan Publishers' Group, the Saskatchewan Book Awards (SBA) has gained national recognition as one of the best-run writers' events in Canada. Celebrating the achievements of both Saskatchewan authors and publishers, SBA offers cash awards of $1,500 plus invaluable publicity. There are thirteen categories, each of which is juried by two well-known, out-of-province authors.
The awards gala is held at the end of November to encourage giving Saskatchewan books as Christmas gifts. Prior to the gala, shortlist brunches in Saskatoon, Regina and other centres feature readings by nominated authors. All nominated books are available for sale and autographing at these functions.
The SBA mandate is to recognize excellence and diversity in Saskatchewan writing and publishing, and to promote greater awareness of Saskatchewan books and authors. A volunteer board and an executive director give direction. SBA receives support from the Saskatchewan Arts Board, Sask Culture, and the Regina Arts Commission. Corporate and private sponsorships are the major source of funding.
In 2000 the Saskatchewan Book Awards, working with other literary and arts organizations, achieved provincial government recognition of the position of Poet Laureate for the province. A search committee chose poet/publisher/teacher Glen Sorestad as the first recipient of the honour.