Thoughts on culture, education, and having been a Canadian in the US
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GG Awards Winners

From the latest NWP newsletter, hot off the press:

Just a few minutes ago the Canada Council announced the winners of this year’s Governor General’s Awards in simultaneous press conferences in Toronto and Montreal. This marks the peak of awards season in Canada and the beginning of another round of great publicity showcasing the winners.

Just two weeks ago, we learned that first-time author Vincent Lam had won the Giller Prize for his wonderful short story collection Bloodletting and Miraculous Cures. Lam’s book was part of a very rich shortlist that also included works by Rawi Hage, Pascale Quiviger, Gaétan Soucy, and Carol Windley.

The great thing about the Governor General’s Awards, that to my mind makes it the most important award in the country, is that it recognizes most genres of writing and looks at both literature written in French and English. For those of us in English Canada, it’s a great chance to get a glimpse of what’s happening in Québec and in francophone communities outside of Québec. That only works, though, if the media reports equally on the winners from both languages.

I’ve used this space in the past to vent my frustration at English language media outlets trumpetting the winners of the Governor General’s Award while failing to even mention the winners for the French language categories. If anything, we should be going out of our way to learn about those winners, who quickly disappear off the map in English Canada once the awards hoopla has died down.

So, definitely take a few minutes to peruse the list of this years’ winners. More importantly, take some time this fall to read some of these books to get a sense of how truly rich are the literatures of this country.

And remember, books make the best holiday gifts!

Complete list of winners of the Governor General’s Award

Northwest Passages congratulates all of the winners and nominees.

ENGLISH FICTION: Peter Behrens for The Law of Dreams

FRENCH FICTION: Andrée Laberge for La rivière du loup

ENGLISH POETRY: John Pass for Stumbling in the Bloom

FRENCH POETRY: Hélène Dorion for Ravir: les lieux

ENGLISH DRAMA: Daniel MacIvor for I Still Love You

FRENCH DRAMA: Évelyne de la Chenelière for Désordre public

ENGLISH NONFICTION: Ross King for The Judgment of Paris: The Revolutionary Decade That Gave the World Impressionism

FRENCH NONFICTION: Pierre Ouellet for À force de voir : histoire de regards

TRANSLATION – FRENCH TO ENGLISH: Hugh Hazelton for Vetiver (Joël Des Rosiers’ Vétiver )

TRANSLATION – ENGLISH TO FRENCH: Sophie Voillot for Un jardin de papier (Thomas Wharton’s Salamander )

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE (ENGLISH) – TEXT: William Gilkerson, for Pirate’s Passage

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE (ENGLISH) – ILLUSTRATION: Leo Yerxa, for Ancient Thunder, text by Leo Yerxa.

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE (FRENCH) – TEXT: Dany Laferrière, for Je suis fou de Vava, illustrations by Frédéric Normandin

CHILDREN’S LITERATURE (FRENCH) – ILLUSTRATION: Rogé (Roger Girard), for Le gros monstre qui aimait trop lire, text by Lili Chartrand