By Dennis Abrams | @DennisAbrams2
‘Celebrating the Power of Literature’
Canada Council’s director and CEO, Simon Brault, is quoted in press materials talking about this year’s awards. He says that this year is “an excellent vintage” for the awards, calling them, “full-bodied, nuanced, and sure to satisfy the palates of a discerning public eager to discover new and meaningful worlds.
“Once again,” Brault is quoted saying, “we have the privilege of celebrating the power of literature to question who we are and what we aspire to be. Our thanks to the authors and to the publishers who have accompanied them in their creative process and brought their works to life.”
One timing note of interest: Madeleine Thien’s Do Not Say We Have Nothing had been favored by bookies in the UK to win the Man Booker Prize 2016 on the same day. It did not win the Booker—Paul Beatty’s The Sellout did—but Thien did win the English-language fiction prize in the “GG 80” as they’re called for the anniversary.
The English Language Winners
- Fiction: Madeleine Thien, Do Not Say We Have Nothing, Alfred A. Knopf Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
- Poetry: Steven Heighton, The Waking Comes Late, House of Anansi Press
- Drama: Colleen Murphy, Pig Girl, Playwrights Canada Press
- Non-fiction: Bill Waiser, A World We have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905, Fifth House Publishers
- Young People’s Literature (Text): Martine Leavitt, Calvin, Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press
- Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books): Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka, Tokyo Digs a Garden, Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press
- Translation (French to English) Lazer Lederhendler, The Party Wall, Biblioasis; Translation of Le mur mitoyen by Catherine Leroux, Éditions Alto
The French Language Winners
- Fiction: Dominique Fortier, Au péril de la mer, Éditions Alto
- Poetry: Normand de Bellefeuille, Le poème est une maison de bord de mer, Les Éditions du Noroît
- Drama: Wajdi Mouawad, Inflammation du verbe vivre, Leméac Éditeur
- Non-fiction: Roland Viau, Amerindia : essais d’ethnohistoire autochtone, Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal
- Young People’s Literature (Text): François Gilbert, Hare Krishna, Leméac Éditeur
- Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books): Stéphanie Lapointe and Rogé, Grand-père et la Lune, Les Éditions XYZ
- Translation (English to French): Catherine Ego, La destruction des Indiens des Plaines : maladies, famines organisées, disparition du mode de vie autochtone, Presses de l’Université Laval; translation of Clearing the Plains: Disease, Politics of Starvation, and the Loss of Aboriginal Life by James Daschuk, University of Regina Press
One of Canada’s longest standing literary awards, founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Awards are among the country’s most prestigious. Funded and administered by the Canada Council for the Arts since 1959, winners are chosen by peer assessment committees per category and per language. The committees consider finalists from eligible books published between September 1, 2015 and September 30, 2016, for English-language books, and between July 1, 2015 and June 30, 2016, for French-language books.
Each winner receives a cash prize of $25,000. The publisher of each winning book receives $3000 to support promotional activities. Non-winning finalists each receive $1,000.
On Wednesday, November 30, David Johnston, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2016 Governor General Literary Awards at Rideau Hall, in Ottawa.