The Governor General Literary Awards

Governor General's Literary Awards
Congratulations to all the winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards for 2011! In the English category, those recognized for their superb publications this year are:

Fiction – Patrick deWitt, The Sisters Brothers (Anansi)

Non-Fiction – Charles Foran, Mordecai: The Life and Times (Knopf)

Poetry – Phil Hall, Killdeer (BookThug)

Drama – Erin Shields, If We Were Birds (Playwrights Canada Press)

Translation – Donald Winkler, Partita for Glenn Gould (MQUP, written by Georges Leroux)

Children’s Text – Christopher Moore, From Then to Now: A Short History of the World (Tundra)

Children’s Illustration – Cybèle Young, Ten Birds (Kids Can Press)

Perhaps there are, er, metaphorical flights to be made on the presence of birds in the titles – and subjects – of the publications honoured this year. Many of the winners have been recognized with other prizes: deWitt’s dark western The Sisters Brothers claimed the Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize earlier in November, while Foran’s magisterial biography of Mordecai Richler has been awarded the Charles Taylor Prize for Literary Non-Fiction and the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Non-Fiction Prize, and took the Biography category of the Canadian Jewish Book Awards. An earlier version of Shields’ If We Were Birds, a reworking of Ovid’s tale of Tereus, Procne, and Philomela, won the Outstanding Production Award of the 2008 Summerworks Festival. Both Moore and Winkler have won GGs before; Hall has previously been shortlisted for both the GG and the Griffin Poetry Prize. Young’s intricate paper illustrations and art have been exhibited across Canada.

The French-language winners – which will hopefully soon be translated for the benefit of Canadians who speak only English, are:

Fiction – Perrine Leblanc, L’homme blanc (Le Quartanier)

Non-Fiction – Georges Leroux, Wanderer: essai sur le Voyage d’hiver de Franz Schubert (Éditions Nota bene)

Poetry – Louise Dupré, Plus haut que les flammes (Éditions de Noroît)

Drama – Normand Chaurette, Ce qui meurt en dernier (Leméac Éditeur/Actes Sud)

Translation – Maryse Warda, Toxique ou L’incident dans l’autobus (Dramaturges Éditeurs)

Children’s Text – Martin Fournier, Les aventures de Radisson -1.L’enfer ne brûle pas (Les éditions du Septentrion)

Children’s Illustration – Caroline Merola, Lili et les poilus (Dominique et compagnie)

Notably, Leroux’s works addressing the musical prodigies Gould and Schubert are present in the French Non-fiction category and the English Translation category, for Donald Winkler. Leroux’s Partita pour Glenn Gould, the subject of Winkler’s translation, was itself nominated for the GG in French Non-fiction in 2008.

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About Susanne Marshall

Susanne Marshall lives in Halifax, NS, where she teaches writing and Canadian Literature. She was educated at Mount Allison University, the University of Toronto, and Dalhousie University, where she completed a PhD in contemporary Canadian literature. Her research interests include redefinitions of regionalism, Atlantic Canadian writing, ecocritical writing and urban writing. Susanne has also worked in the educational publishing industry as a developmental editor, and as a freelance editor. She reads and writes all day, for her profession, for interest, and for the love of it.

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