News Releases - 2001
The Canada Council for the Arts announces the winners of the 2001 Governor General's Literary Awards
Ottawa, 14 November 2001 - The Canada Council for the Arts announced today the names of the winners of the 2001 Governor General's Literary Awards, in English and French, in the categories of fiction, poetry, drama, nonfiction, children's literature (text and illustration) and translation.
The awards will be presented today by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, and Jean-Louis Roux, Chairman of the Canada Council for the Arts, at a 4 p.m. ceremony at Rideau Hall.
Each laureate will receive a cheque for $15,000 and a specially-crafted copy of the winning book bound by master bookbinder Pierre Ouvrard. The Governor General will also present certificates to the publishers of the prize-winning books, and the Canada Council will provide each publisher with a $3,000 grant to support promotional activities.
"The recipients of this year's Governor General's Literary Awards give us an artistic prism through which we see our lives and spirits refracted," said the Governor General. "The different voices of these writers reflect the reality of human life and its varied dreams, beliefs and desires."
"The winning books remind us once again of the immense power of the written word to stimulate us, make us reflect on our condition and give us cause for celebration in even the most difficult times," said Canada Council Chairman Jean-Louis Roux. "Our writers are the guardians of the human spirit, and their achievements should be a source of inspiration and pride for all Canadians."
"The year 2001 marks Bank of Montreal's 15th consecutive year as principal sponsor of the Awards. We are proud of our continuing commitment to the Governor General's Literary Awards," said L. Jacques Ménard, President, Bank of Montreal Group of Companies, Quebec. "It is most satisfying to support these prestigious national awards which celebrate Canada's finest writers, illustrators and translators."
The names of the laureates, along with the titles of their winning works, are listed below, together with the comments of the peer assessment committees. The list of the 42 members of the 14 peer assessment committees (seven in French and seven in English) appears at the end of this communiqué.
Richard B. Wright, St. Catharines, Ontario, for Clara Callan (Harper Flamingo Canada: A Phyllis Bruce Book)
Clara Callan brilliantly transfers ordinary lives onto a wider canvas to portray the grandeur of an era. In a style that is understated yet compelling, Wright blends the forms of the letter and the journal to construct a powerful narrative.
Andrée A. Michaud, Quebec City, for Le ravissement (Les éditions de L'instant même)
A superb piece of work that draws us into an enigmatic universe, a labyrinth that is part detective novel, part fantasy, written in a majestic style with occasional Proustian flights. In this parallel world, in total silence, who, between humans and objects, seems the most real? What if the true theme of this excellent novel were writing itself? In Andrée A. Michaud, we have discovered an incomparable voice.
George Elliott Clarke, Toronto, for Execution Poems (Gaspereau Press)
Execution Poems is raging, gristly, public - and unflinchingly beautiful. Clarke plays with rhyme, theatre and the shape of the book, showing us justice as official speech perpetrates it and as ordinary speech registers it. He harnesses the pain in the history of racism and pours it into explosive, original language.
Paul Chanel Malenfant, Rimouski, Quebec, for Des ombres portées (Les Éditions du Noroît)
Shadows are worn here like the vestments of mourning. Everything unfurls in slowness, in bated breath, with precaution even in the voice, to describe those little rituals that daily life invents to sustain a terrible, painful crossing. Internalized speech marked by devotion for a death that enchants and disturbs - like the silence of God amidst a spattering of roses.
Kent Stetson, Montreal, for The Harps of God (Playwrights Canada Press)
In The Harps of God, Kent Stetson creates a new theatrical language - both authentic to the Newfoundland idiom and as powerful and economical as poetry. An epic tragedy in three acts, the play explores faith and meaning and pays tribute to the survival of a people and a nation. With this masterful work, Kent Stetson has raised the bar to a new level in Canadian playwrighting.
Normand Chaurette, Montreal, for Le Petit Köchel (Leméac Éditeur / Actes Sud)
The tyranny of time, devouring love, the insatiability of creation: with powerful words, the author marks time in a singular universe where beauty and ugliness live side by side. This text pulses like a beating heart, and its mystery is as great as the power of maternal love.
Thomas Homer-Dixon, Toronto, for The Ingenuity Gap (Alfred A. Knopf Canada: A Borzoi Book)
In The Ingenuity Gap, Thomas Homer-Dixon has defined what is perhaps the greatest challenge of the modern age: the growing gap between the problems the world is creating for itself, and the world's capacity to solve those problems. With astonishing intellectual power and the skills of a brilliant writer, Homer-Dixon counsels humility over hubris, humanity over technology, and reason over a blind faith in technology and innovation.
Renée Dupuis, Quebec City, for Quel Canada pour les Autochtones? La fin de l'exclusion (Les Éditions du Boréal)
This book provides a better understanding of the history of the Aboriginal people, an enlightened point of view on a question that is crucial for democracy in the Americas - a question that is too often ignored by the media and academia. It provides paths of original reflection that seek to end the exclusion and marginalization of the Aboriginal people.
Children's Literature - Text
Arthur Slade, Saskatoon, for Dust (HarperCollins Canada)
Dust is a brilliantly-conceived novel of a small town swept up in a dream, hypnotized by the quintessential snake-oil salesman. It takes a brave boy to upset his plan. Such a boy is eleven-year-old Robert. What can be said of the hero can also be said of his creator: Arthur Slade's writing is tough, compassionate, clear-sighted and daring. The result is stunning.
Christiane Duchesne, Montreal, for Jomusch et le troll des cuisines (Dominique et compagnie)
With her lyrical writing, rich imagination and ability to navigate between multiple layers of meaning, Christiane Duchesne enchants her readers and draws them into a universe of sensuality and mystery, dreams and magic.
Children's Literature - Illustration
Mireille Levert, Montreal, for An Island in the Soup, text by Mireille Levert (Groundwood Books / Douglas & McIntyre)
An Island in the Soup is a wonderful book full of colourful images, beautifully painted. Mireille Levert's illustrations delight and stimulate. What sets it apart is the clever and creative journey, which appeals to children of all ages.
Bruce Roberts, Westmount, Quebec, for Fidèles éléphants, text by Yukio Tsuchiya, translated by Michèle Marineau (Les éditions Les 400 coups)
A rare book in the Japanese style, where white fills the space left empty by animals delivered to death. Barely sketched out - part travel journal, part prints - the images of Bruce Roberts combine the virtuosity of his lines and restraint in a perfect balance; washes and colours sweep over the paper and leave an unforgettable emotional trace.
Fred A. Reed and David Homel, Montreal, for Fairy Ring (Talonbooks); English translation of Le Cercle de Clara, by Martine Desjardins
Martine Desjardins' anti-romance explores desire in its multiple forms, through letters, journals and logs written by men and women in Nova Scotia near the end of the 19th century. The translation handles with great precision and subtlety these different voices, varying from the extravagantly poetic to the scientific, using the specialized vocabulary of physical and mental sciences of the time. Reed and Homel are unfailingly sensitive to the claustrophobic atmosphere of a world obsessed with the power of (pseudo-)scientific knowledge.
Michel Saint-Germain, Outremont, Quebec, for No Logo : La Tyrannie des marques (Leméac Éditeur); French translation of No Logo: Taking Aim at the Brand Bullies, by Naomi Klein
Translating No Logo was no mean feat, and Michel Saint-Germain has carried it off with panache. Linguistic inventiveness, stylistic fluidity and the clarity of the message make for pleasurable reading throughout this masterful, provocative piece of work. This translation is not only audacious and incisive, it's "cool".
The winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards, presented by Canada Council for the Arts, are chosen by independent peer juries in each category (seven English and seven French), appointed by the Council. The juries, which meet separately, consider all eligible books published between September 1, 2000 and September 30, 2001 for English-language books and between July 1, 2000 and June 30, 2001 for French-language books. This year, a total of 1,374 titles, 755 in the English-language categories and 619 in the French-language categories, were submitted.
The names of the jury members follow.
Fiction: Austin Clarke, Lynne Van Luven, M.G. Vassanji
Poetry: Erin Mouré, Lisa Robertson, John Steffler
Drama: Simon Johnston, Yvette Nolan, Shelley Tepperman
Nonfiction: Elspeth Cameron, Terry Glavin, Peter Gzowski
Children's Literature - Text: André Gagnon, Janet Lunn, Tim Wynne-Jones
Children's Literature - Illustration: Anne Meredith Barry, Eugenie Fernandes, Roy Henry Vickers
Translation: Ray Ellenwood, Barbara Godard, Howard Scott
Fiction: Ying Chen, Roger Magini, Gaétan Soucy
Poetry: Normand de Bellefeuille, Gérald Gaudet, Dyane Léger
Drama: Manon Beaudoin, Suzanne Lebeau, Philippe Soldevila
Nonfiction: Lise Gauvin, Georges Émery Sioui, Lamberto Tassinari
Children's Literature - Text: Anne-Marie Aubin, Charlotte Gingras, Stanley Péan
Children's Literature - Illustration: Gérard DuBois, Denise Paquette, Anne Villeneuve
Translation: Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood, Robert Melançon, Paule Noyart
The laureates will be available for media interviews (telephone and in-person) from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. on November 14 at the Canada Council for the Arts, 12th floor, 350 Albert Street, Ottawa, as well as immediately following the 4 p.m. awards ceremony at Rideau Hall. For assistance in arranging interviews, contact Diane Hargrave at (416) 467-9954.
Reception and dinner
Following the awards ceremony, the laureates will be honoured at a reception and gala dinner at Rideau Hall, offered by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada, and His Excellency John Ralston Saul.
Since 1998, the Canada Council for the Arts has awarded a $3,000 grant to the publishers of the winning works to support special promotional activities such as posters, bookmarks, promotional tours and advertising initiatives.
The Canada Council for the Arts thanks the Bank of Montreal for its generous contribution to the Governor General's Literary Awards for the 15th consecutive year. The Bank's participation has made it possible for the Council to promote the Awards more effectively, thus increasing sales and public awareness of the winners and their works.
For the 10th consecutive year, the National Library of Canada will host a gala reading by the winners in the auditorium of the National Library in Ottawa on Thursday, November 15 at 7:30 p.m.
Further information on the Governor General's Literary Awards, winners' biographical notes, photos and books covers are available on the Canada Council's website at www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/ggla. For further information about the Awards, please contact Joanne Larocque-Poirier at 1 800 263-5588, ext. 5576.