Nicole Brossard Receives Canada’s Lifetime Griffin Trust Award for Poetry

In News by Porter Anderson

French-Canadian author Nicole Brossard is named the 2019 recipient of the Griffin Trust’s lifetime achievement award the honor to be conferred June 6.

Nicole Brossard. Image: The Griffin Trust, Denyse Coutu

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Also: International and Canadian Shortlists
Among the most prestigious of honors of its kind, the Griffin Trust for Excellence in Poetry has announced today (April 25) that Montréal’s Nicole Brossard is the recipient of the 2019 Lifetime Recognition Award.

The honor carries a purse of CA$20,000 (US$14,822), and the poet, novelist, and essayist is to attend the program’s events on June 5 and 6, during which she’ll give a brief reading from her work.

Brossard was born in Montréal in 1943. Twice a Governor General’s Award winner for her poetry, she has published more than 30 books since 1965.

Many have been translated into English, including:

  • Mauve Desert
  • The Aerial Letter
  • Picture Theory
  • Lovhers
  • Baroque at Dawn
  • The Blue Books
  • Installations
  • Museum of Bone and Water
  • Fluid Arguments
  • Notebook of roses and civilization
  • White Piano

She co-founded and co-directed the literary magazine La Barre du Jour (1965 to 1975); co-directed the film Some American Feminists (Quelques féministes américaines) (1978); and co-edited the acclaimed Anthologie de la poésie des femmes au Québec (1991 and 2003).

Brossard is an officer of the Order of Canada, chevalière of the National Order of Québec, and a member of l’Académie des lettres du Québec.

She has twice won the Trois-Rivières International Poetry Festival Grand Prix Québecor (1989 and 1999).

In 1991 she was awarded le Prix Athanase-David (the highest literary recognition in Québec). Her work has been widely translated into English and Spanish and is also available in many other languages, including German, Italian, Japanese, Slovenian, Romanian, Norwegian, Catalan, and Portuguese.

Two anthologies of her work in English have appeared: Selections: the poetry of Nicole Brossard (2010) and Mobility of Light (2009), with another planned for publication in 2020.

Nicole has been awarded le Prix international de la littérature francophone Benjamin Fondane, le Prix du CIÉF for International Francophone Studies, the W.O. Mitchell Prize, and the Canada Council for the Arts Molson Prize.

In 2015, Brossard she was included in the dictionary Le Petit Robert des noms propres. In 2018, she won the first Violet Prize awarded by the Blue Metropolis Festival.

The translation by Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood

Mauve Desert has been presented as a multidisciplinary creation in 2018 and is slated for an opera adaptation in 2020-21.

In 2019, an anthology of her poetry in Portuguese and a translation of Mauve Desert in Catalan will be published.

Her most recent book in English is an art chapbook titled A Cappella with illustrations by Mauricio Corteletti, translated by Erín Moure and Robert Majzels.

Nicole Brossard writes and lives in Montréal, Canada.

Past Lifetime Recognition Winners

International and Canadian Shortlists

The Griffin is said to be the world’s richest prize for a first edition single collection of poetry written in English.

The authors of the seven shortlisted books will be invited to read in Toronto at the Royal Conservatory on June 5. These finalists will each receive CA$10,000 (US$7,414).

The two winners, to be announced at the Griffin Poetry Prize Awards on June 6, will each be awarded CA$65,000 (US$48,195).

International Shortlist

  • The Perseverance by Raymond Antrobus (Penned in the Margins)
  • Lake Michigan by Daniel Borzutzky (University of Pittsburgh Press)
  • Autobiography of Death by Don Mee Choi, translated from the Korean written by Kim Hyesoon (New Directions)
  • Negative Space by Ani Gjika, translated from the Albanian, written by Luljeta Lleshanaku (Bloodaxe Books)

Canadian Shortlist

The Griffin Trust was founded in April 2000 by Chairman Scott Griffin, along with trustees Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass, Michael Ondaatje, Robin Robertson, and David Young.

In 2004 Carolyn Forché was named a trustee and joined the list of internationally-acclaimed writers who sit on the board of the Griffin Trust. In 2014, Karen Solie, Colm Tóibín and Mark Doty were named trustees, and in 2016, Jo Shapcott and Marek Kazmierski were named trustees. Margaret Atwood, Robert Hass and Robin Robertson have assumed the role of trustees emeriti.


More from Publishing Perspectives on awards in books and publishing is here, and more from us on the Canadian market is here.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson has been named International Trade Press Journalist of the Year in London Book Fair's 2019 International Excellence Awards. He is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. He co-founded The Hot Sheet, a newsletter for trade and indie authors, which now is owned and operated by Jane Friedman. He formerly was Associate Editor for The FutureBook at London's The Bookseller. Anderson also has worked as a senior producer, editor, and anchor with CNN.com, CNN International, and CNN USA, and as an arts critic (National Critics Institute) with The Village Voice and Dallas Times Herald.