News Releases - 2003
The Canada Council for the Arts announces finalists for the 2003 Governor General’s Literary Awards
Ottawa, October 20, 2003 -The Canada Council for the Arts announced today the names of the finalists for the 2003 Governor General’s Literary Awards, in English and in French, in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation.
The names of the finalists and the titles of their works are listed below, together with the juries’ citations for each work. The names of the 42 members of the 14 juries (seven English, seven French) are listed at the conclusion of this release.
Book covers and jury citations
The Canada Council for the Arts funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards, worth $15,000 each. The publisher of each winning book will receive $3,000 to support promotional activities. Non-winning finalists will each receive $1,000 in recognition of their selection as finalists, bringing the total value of the Awards to more than $300,000.
A total of 70 books (five in each category, English and French) have been nominated for this year’s awards; 39 of the finalists are nominated for the first time.
"Together as a country, it is vitally important that we recognize, at the highest level, the creative talents of our poets, authors, playwrights and translators," noted Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada. "The rich and varied works that have been nominated for this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards breathe life into our spirit and our national psyche. Let us read and celebrate them."
"The books nominated for this year’s Awards reflect both the excellence and the diversity of Canadian writing today," said Jean-Louis Roux, Chairman of the Canada Council for the Arts. They provide readers young and old with unforgettable characters, settings, images and experiences."
"For the past 17 years, BMO Financial Group has been involved in the recognition and support of Canadian literature through our sponsorship of the Governor General’s Literary Awards," said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO, Private Client Group and Deputy Chairman, BMO Nesbitt Burns. "We are proud to join the Canada Council in congratulating all the finalists and celebrating their outstanding contribution to Canadian writing, illustration and translation."
--> Images of book covers are available from the 2003 finalists main page.
Margaret Atwood, Toronto, for Oryx and Crake
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-7710-0868-6)
Oryx and Crake holds up a fun-house mirror to all that is strange and appalling in modern society, shocking us with our own grotesque visage. The story of Snowman, sifting through the remains of the globalized world, is riveting, prescient and unflinching.
Douglas Glover, Wilton, New York (formerly of Ontario), for Elle
(Goose Lane Editions; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 0-86492-315-5)
A magical, ribald novel. With vision and virtuosity Douglas Glover has created a character, Elle, who speaks with perfect pitch about longing, lust, language and memory. Beautiful.
Elizabeth Hay, Ottawa, for Garbo Laughs
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-7710-3792-9)
A beautiful story of love and loss. With wit and sympathy, Elizabeth Hay superimposes the world of film perfectly on the life of Harriet Browning. A novel that should be read and re-read.
Jean McNeil, London, UK (formerly of Nova Scotia), for Private View
(Weidenfeld & Nicolson; distributed by McArthur & Company) (ISBN 1-861-59188-8 - bound; 0-75381-691-1 - paperback)
A novel of expatriation and loss peopled by characters of tormented vividness. Underlying McNeil’s tough, original writing is a subtle grasp of the human condition.
Edeet Ravel, Montreal, for Ten Thousand Lovers
(Review, an imprint of Headline Book Publishing; distributed by McArthur & Company)
Lily, a student of linguistics in Israel, reluctantly falls in love with an Israeli army interrogator. With great precision and subtlety, Ten Thousand Lovers probes dangerous and complex political terrain on a startling yet fundamentally human level.
Tim Bowling, Edmonton, for The Witness Ghost
(Nightwood Editions; distributed by Harbour Publishing) (ISBN 0-88971-191-7)
"A man and a boy on a river … salmon fluent at their gumboot tops." Bowling’s respect for place and unique use of metaphor combine in a moving lament for a loved one and a vanishing way of life.
Evan Jones, Toronto, for Nothing Fell Today But Rain
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 1-55041-750-9)
Jones’s book is full of uncanny perceptions and surprising juxtapositions. This is a first book by a learned and versatile poet. "Honestly Miss Honey Bee, I’ll never forget you."
Tim Lilburn, Saskatoon, for Kill-site
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-7710-5321-5)
Lilburn’s work is richly figurative, but firmly rooted in colloquial speech. He is not only a virtuoso at the linguistic level, taking risks with metaphor and line, but also steeped in a metaphysics of place.
Anne Simpson, Antigonish, Nova Scotia, for Loop
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-7710-8075-1)
Like Galileo, Simpson is a "student of the night sky" and much more. Her poems lay bare the intricacies of water clocks, sexual deviants and the history written upon our bodies. Spare, sophisticated poems.
Tom Wayman, Winlaw, British Columbia, and Calgary, for My Father’s Cup
(Harbour Publishing; distributed by Harbour Publishing and Whitecap Books)
Wayman’s usual humour and self-mockery have been darkened by loss, by the reach and risk it takes to honour the dead. Whether negotiating contracts or emotions, the poems invite, inform and infuse.
Marie Clements, Vancouver, for Burning Vision
(Talonbooks; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 0-88922-472-2)
From the discovery of the "black rock" to the detonation of the atomic bomb over Hiroshima, this innovative epic puts a human face on a global tragedy. Spiced with humour and a rich cast of characters, it explores the connection between action and consequence and the ripple effects of the discovery of uranium.
Brian Drader, Winnipeg, for Prok
(Scirocco Drama / an imprint of J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 1-896239-97-8)
A compelling and ultimately disturbing portrait of Alfred Kinsey, whose Sexual Behaviour in the Human Male opened the door to the sexual revolution. As told by his wife Clara, this well-structured, intriguing play explores the fine line between the clinical and the human, the voyeur and the scientist, the husband and the sexual adventurer.
Sunil Kuruvilla, Waterloo, Ontario, for Rice Boy
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 0-88754-672-2)
With compassion and humour, this delicately spare play captures the universal themes of love and loss, the transitory nature of life and the confusions of dislocation. A precise, poetic and intimate portrait of an Indian family caught between two cultures.
Michael Lewis MacLennan, Toronto, for Last Romantics
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 0-88754-676-5)
A historical drama set in the artistic and literary circles of the Victorian era, this play explores the relationship between two lesser-known artists, Charles Ricketts and Charles Shannon. A thought-provoking, witty examination of constancy and inconstancy of love, beauty and art.
Vern Thiessen, Edmonton, for Einstein’s Gift
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 0-88754-678-1)
Based on the life of Nobel laureate Fritz Haber and narrated by Albert Einstein, this compelling drama examines the inability of scientists to control the ultimate use of their research. A well-crafted, deeply personal tragedy told with humour, insight and irony.
Andrew Clark, Toronto, for A Keen Soldier: The Execution of Second World War Private Harold Pringle
(Alfred A. Knopf Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-676-97354-X)
Superbly researched and tightly structured, A Keen Soldier represents investigative journalism at its best. While painting a compassionate portrait of Private Harold Pringle, it calls into question the ethics of war, the motives of the powers that create it and depicts the helplessness of those who are caught in the middle.
Andrew Cohen, Ottawa, for While Canada Slept: How We Lost Our Place in the World
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-7710-2275-1)
This is a lucid examination of the golden period when Canada was outstanding on the world’s stage, a middle power able to reconcile the differences of bellicose nations. Cohen cogently and skillfully analyses what happened to this country’s diplomatic prestige.
Maggie de Vries, Vancouver, for Missing Sarah: A Vancouver Woman Remembers Her Vanished Sister
(Penguin Books Canada; distributed by Canbook) (ISBN 0-14-301371-8)
In Missing Sarah, Maggie de Vries combines the best elements of a memoir with honest social commentary. Issues such as interracial adoption and racism are interwoven into the life story of her sister Sarah, from her childhood in a middle-class home to her disappearance in Vancouver’s Downtown Eastside.
Ross King, Woodstock, Oxon, UK (formerly of Saskatchewan), for Michelangelo and the Pope’s Ceiling
(Chatto & Windus; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-7011-7119-7)
An exploration of 16th century Italy, teeming with life and populated by giants of Renaissance art. A gloriously realized account of the process, politics and genius behind the creation of one of the world’s masterpieces. The writing is assured and compelling.
Margaret MacMillan, Toronto, for Paris 1919: Six Months that Changed the World
(Random House Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-375-50826-0)
In a landmark book of imaginative historical investigation, Margaret MacMillan vividly recreates the Paris Peace Conference of 1919, an event whose consequences affect us still. With care and dexterity, she brings the various participants such as Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George and Georges Clémenceau to life. A compelling and highly readable book.
Children’s literature - text
Sarah Ellis, Vancouver, for The Several Lives of Orphan Jack
(Groundwood Books / Douglas & McIntyre; distributed by University of Toronto Press)
In this timeless tale of a resourceful orphan, Sarah Ellis’ words float off the page in a tribute to the human imagination. Lively and entertaining, the language sings!
Barbara Haworth-Attard, London, Ontario, for Theories of Relativity
(HarperCollins Canada; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 0-00-639299-7)
Barbara Haworth-Attard creates a character who defies expectations of street kids. The book, full of vivid details, is an uncompromising look at homeless people. The author skillfully tempers despair with hope.
Glen Huser, Edmonton, for Stitches
(Groundwood Books / Douglas & McIntyre; distributed by University of Toronto Press)
(ISBN 0-88899-553-9 (bound); ISBN 0-88899-578-4 (paperback))
Glen Huser’s depiction of two small-town kids struggling under the weight of being labeled "different" draws us into their world of unwilling exile. Huser’s seamless writing explores the deep reservoirs of human strength, refusing to submit to the quirks of fate.
Kevin Major, St. John’s, for Ann and Seamus
(Groundwood Books / Douglas & McIntyre; distributed by University of Toronto Press)
In this haunting, lyrical tale of heroism and longing, Kevin Major’s language rises and falls like the sea it portrays. His unique poetic voice transports the reader to a time and place where a determined spirit overcomes the fragility of existence.
Judd Palmer, Calgary, for The Maestro
(Bayeux Arts; distributed by Raincoast Book Distribution) (ISBN 1-896209-78-5)
In this celebration of the essence of music, Judd Palmer’s character takes a journey into a world of loss. The book’s playful language and quirky surprises demonstrate the interplay between life and art.
Children’s literature - illustration
Nicolas Debon, Versailles, France (formerly of Ontario), for Four Pictures by Emily Carr, text by Nicolas Debon
(Groundwood Books / Douglas & McIntyre; distributed by University of Toronto Press)
In this beautiful and touching tribute, Nicolas Debon uses a graphic novel format to create an original and intriguing glimpse into the life of Emily Carr.
Rob Gonsalves, Mallorytown, Ontario, for Imagine a Night, text by Sarah L. Thomson
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing Division; distributed by Simon & Schuster Canada) (ISBN 0-689-85218-5)
Blurring the line between reality and reverie, Rob Gonsalves’ haunting pictures stir up the imagination and transport us into a surreal world where nothing is quite as it seems.
Barbara Reid, Toronto, for The Subway Mouse, text by Barbara Reid
(North Winds Press, a division of Scholastic Canada; distributed by Scholastic Canada)
Bringing a sense of fun into the dark underworld of the subway, Barbara Reid’s charming mice take the reader on a journey into the light. With her painterly use of plasticine and collage, she creates a fascinating world for her characters - full of delightful surprises.
Allen Sapp, North Battleford, Saskatchewan, for The Song Within My Heart, text by David Bouchard
(Raincoast Books; distributed by Raincoast Book Distribution) (ISBN 1-55192-559-1)
With narrative paintings of beautiful simplicity, Allen Sapp creates a work of transcendent dignity, powerfully confirming the ties that connect the generations.
Ludmila Zeman, Montreal, for Sindbad’s Secret: From the Tales of the Thousand and One Nights, retold by Ludmila Zeman (Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-88776-462-2)
Richly layered and textured, this glowing work transports the reader into the world of the centuries-old tales. With lush patterns, Ludmila Zeman retells Sindbad’s epic voyage in an animated contemporary fashion.
Translation (French to English)
Jane Brierley, Montreal, for Memoirs of a Less Travelled Road: A Historian’s Life
(Véhicule Press; distributed by LPG Distribution) (ISBN 1-55065-156-0)
English translation of Mémoire d’un autre siècle, by Marcel Trudel (Les Éditions du Boréal)
Translator Jane Brierley has painstakingly and lovingly rendered the memoirs of maverick Quebec historian Marcel Trudel. With extreme clarity, Brierley succeeds in drawing the reader into a world that is rapidly disappearing.
Patricia Claxton, Montreal, for A Sunday at the Pool in Kigali
(Alfred A. Knopf Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-676-97481-3)
English translation of Un dimanche à la piscine à Kigali, by Gil Courtemanche (Les Éditions du Boréal)
In translating Gil Courtemanche’s novel about the massacre that ravaged Rwanda in 1994, Patricia Claxton has written an intimate, unfiltered and fully lived account that does justice to the tragedy and conveys the raw and towering passions that have made their mark on African history.
Jo-Anne Elder, Fredericton, New Brunswick, for Tales from Dog Island: St. Pierre et Miquelon
(Killick Press, an imprint of Creative Book Publishing; distributed by Creative Book Publishing)
English translation of Les litanies de l’Île-aux-Chiens, by Françoise Enguehard (Les Éditions d’Acadie)
This translator as writer has given us a read that is every bit as fresh, complete and real as the original. The potential weight of historical research and terminology in this family saga is easily borne up by the fluidity and music of Jo-Anne Elder’s gifted prose.
David Homel and Fred A. Reed, Montreal, for The Heart Is an Involuntary Muscle
(Douglas & McIntyre; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 1-55054-991-X)
English translation of Le coeur est un muscle involontaire, by Monique Proulx (Les Éditions du Boréal)
David Homel and Fred A. Reed have succeeded admirably in capturing the characters’ snappy speech, the novel’s sardonic humour and the underlying turmoil that threatens the life of Florence and those around her.
Susan Ouriou, Calgary, for Necessary Betrayals
(Douglas & McIntyre; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 1-55054-956-1)
English translation of Chercher le vent, by Guillaume Vigneault (Les Éditions du Boréal)
Susan Ouriou’s reworking of Guillaume Vigneault’s French text is accomplished gracefully and inventively. Colloquial dialogue, transient characters and the moody attitudes of Generation Xers are conveyed with ease and wit.
--> Images of French-language book covers are available from the 2003 French-language finalists main page.
Jean-François Chassay, Montreal, for L’Angle mort
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0187-5)
With self-mocking humour and biting intelligence, Jean-François Chassay paints a portrait of people tormented by their self-image and by the truth that escapes through that chink in time that could be - who knows - another blind spot.
Marie Gagnier, Trois-Rivières, Quebec, for Console-moi
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0227-8)
Through a web of complex and subtle relationships, Marie Gagnier uses delicacy and depth to show the destiny of beings who are marked by life. Between the sea and the fire, between silence and a cry, an intensely personal universe takes shape.
Gaétan Soucy, Longueuil, Quebec, for Music-Hall!
(Les Éditions du Boréal (in association with Éditions du Seuil); distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0196-4)
Gaétan Soucy presents a polymorphous universe carried by his fertile imagination and strong mastery of discordant, complex characters and situations filled with the unexpected.
Larry Tremblay, Montreal, for Le Mangeur de bicyclette
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7609-3249-4)
A story full of unexpected twists brought about by a young man who is obsessed by the fascinating Anna, who is both close and inaccessible. Le Mangeur de bicyclette conquers us with its tenderness, violence, humour that is close to the depths of despair, and its finely mastered excessiveness.
Élise Turcotte, Montreal, for La maison étrangère
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7609-3248-6)
Here, the "foreign home" is the body of the narrator herself, haunted by deaths and separations. In this portrait of a woman fascinated by the representation of time, Élise Turcotte poetically and accurately describes the emotions that are so familiar to us and that communicate so well her passion for life and understanding.
Nicole Brossard, Montreal, for Cahier de roses & de civilisation
(Éditions d’art Le Sabord; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-922685-26-8)
This voluptuously mature poetry permeates and awakens the senses and sensuality. A candid and powerful passion imbues this poetic portrait with gripping clarity.
Carle Coppens, Montreal, for Le grand livre des entorses
(Éditions du Noroît; distributed by Fides) (ISBN 2-89018-482-X)
Astonishing, explosive poetry that juxtaposes the languages of advertising, sales and surveys. The poet’s sardonic look at these popularized forms is bolstered by a language of his own that is audacious in its leaps between real and imaginary worlds.
Benoit Jutras, Montreal, for Nous serons sans voix
(Éditions Les Herbes rouges; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89419-201-0)
Imagination and reality are juxtaposed and enlivened in the enchanting originality of this exciting work. The uniqueness and suppleness of Nous serons sans voix shake the foundations of literary complacency with style and panache.
Pierre Nepveu, Montreal, for Lignes aériennes
(Éditions du Noroît; distributed by Fides) (ISBN 2-89018-500-1)
Focussing on a little-known incident of social suffering, a solemn and moving voice brings compassion and sorrow to bear in a vigorous public protest. Lignes aériennes is touching in its humility, its sharing of the pain of others and its language, which resonates with a yearning for human justice.
Louis-Jean Thibault, Quebec City, for Géographie des lointains
(Éditions du Noroît; distributed by Fides) (ISBN 2-89018-519-2)
This collection is a tender and profound meditation on the way of the world, where the faraway and the nearby, intimacy and vastness, inside and outside, waiting and flight, meet and balance, in an airy metaphysics and a dizzying detachment. With delicate and refreshing imagery, the fluid writing carries us with delightful ease.
François Archambault, Montreal, for La société des loisirs
(Dramaturges Éditeurs; distributed by Distribution Dimedia) (ISBN 2-922182-56-8)
A sheltered existence where the meaning of moral values is neglected for an appearance of happiness at any price, caught up in consumerism and fashionable trendiness. The portrait of a decadent couple, typical of a certain type of middle-class society that places importance on worldly goods and money, and is spiritually bankrupt and completely unaware of the consequences of its actions. Existential angst expressed in the search for the impossible - a representation of a disastrous dysfunction that is increasingly apparent in our society.
Jean-Rock Gaudreault, Longueuil, Quebec, for Deux pas vers les étoiles
(Dramaturges Éditeurs; distributed by Distribution Dimedia) (ISBN 2-922182-47-9)
On this night, Junior will run away from home and go to Houston to achieve his dream of becoming an astronaut. With a disarmingly simple plot and two children, Jean-Rock Gaudreault evokes the dreams that have been a part of every childhood, without preaching or sentimentality.
François Létourneau, Montreal, for Cheech
(Dramaturges Éditeurs; distributed by Distribution Dimedia) (ISBN 2-922182-51-7)
Set in the world of prostitution, this text boasts a surprisingly effective dramatic construction and dazzling verisimilitude, with desperate characters who illustrate the disturbing universe of human exploitation. In edgy dialogues and jittery situations, François Létourneau parallels worlds where we find the universal ideas of overwhelming alienation in which, despite everything, we glimpse the light of a kind of salvation.
Wajdi Mouawad, Montreal, for Incendies
(Leméac Éditeurs / Actes Sud; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7609-2345-2)
Strongly anchored in the global movement, this work parallels the destiny of profoundly damaged beings who are trying, in this careless world, to forget the horrors they have witnessed in their lives. In language where lyricism and humour commingle, Wajdi Mouawad paints a generous and poignant fresco that attests to humanity in search of a meaning to the tragedies of our times, and incites reflection as only theatre can do.
Jean-Pierre Ronfard, deceased, for Écriture pour le théâtre, tome III
(Dramaturges Éditeurs; distributed by Distribution Dimedia) (ISBN 2-922182-55-X)
In taking the approach of the teaching of the classics, these texts open the way for dramatic experimentation in all its diverse forms. In their themes and dramaturgy, they deconstruct and reconstruct theatre in a spontaneity of characters, freedom of themes, and in-depth exploration of writing and different physical, musical and literary movements; they are the rainbow that Jean-Pierre Ronfard explores from end to end, in search of the pot of gold.
Thierry Hentsch, Montreal, for Raconter et mourir : aux sources narratives de l’imaginaire occidental
(Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal; distributed by Fides) (ISBN 2-7606-1864-1)
This work looks at the great founding tales of Western culture, from Homer and Plato all the way to Cervantes and Descartes, via the Bible, Virgil, Dante and St. Augustine. The author questions our relationship with reality and death, as well as the human desire to perpetuate ourselves through storytelling. Written in elegant and limpid language, this book is both erudite and accessible.
Michel Morin, Montreal, for Vertige! et autres essais a-politiques
(Éditions Les Herbes rouges; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89419-199-5)
The author reflects as a free thinker on human knowledge, based on the great philosophers: Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, Spinoza. He invites us to question the notion of individualism made worse by neo-liberal thought, and to work towards revealing our internal reality.
Louise Prescott, Montreal, for Le complexe d’Ulysse : signifiance et micropolitique dans la pratique de l’art (Éditions d’art Le Sabord; distributed by Diffusion Prologue)
This artist’s portrait transforms the explorer figure of Ulysses into the prototype of creator. The author provides a testimonial in the form of a mosaic composed of scenes and reflections on art, the status of the artist and the artist’s practice.
François Ricard, Montreal, for Le dernier après-midi d’Agnès : essai sur l’oeuvre de Milan Kundera
(Éditions Gallimard; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 2-07-073024-7)
A reading of Milan Kundera’s fiction, as revealed in his imaginary landscapes. The author travels masterfully through a body of work that is obviously very familiar to him. The result is a model of enlightened and creative criticism.
Régine Robin, Montreal, for La mémoire saturée
(Éditions Stock; distributed by Hachette Canada) (ISBN 2-234-05568-7)
The author has undertaken a daunting project: to investigate the duty of remembrance made necessary by the catastrophes humanity has suffered in the course of the 20th century. The author opens avenues of reflection not only on history and literature, but also on the Shoah and the Internet.
Children’s literature - text
Mélissa Anctil, Montreal, for Gigi
(Soulières éditeur; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 2-922225-73-9)
In a series of scenes that do not seek to please at any cost, the author shows a scathing sense of observation and merciless realism. Writing that doesn’t beat about the bush.
Roger Des Roches, Montreal, for Marie Quatdoigts
(Éditions Québec Amérique; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7644-0167-1)
An original and alert narrative voice that both touches and captivates us. A vibrant tribute to freedom, reflected in both the style and the treatment of the characters.
Laurent Grimon, Magog, Quebec, for Le chevalier des Arbres
(Éditions Pierre Tisseyre; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 2-89051-828-0)
A captivating fresco that takes a unique look at the Second World War. The impeccable style, rich vocabulary and uncompromising maturity all show great respect for young readers.
Paul Chanel Malenfant, Rimouski, Quebec, for Si tu allais quelque part
(Les éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel)
A poetic reflection on old age, love and death. The musical writing avoids the pitfalls of abstruseness and is worthy of inclusion in a quality collection.
Danielle Simard, Mercier, Quebec, for J’ai vendu ma soeur
(Soulières éditeur; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 2-922225-77-1)
A daring novel that meets the challenge of dealing with a serious, rarely broached subject in a burlesque fashion. Corrosive humour served by writing of a very high calibre.
Children’s literature - illustration
Geneviève Côté, Montreal, for Le Premier Printemps du monde, text by Rémi Savard and Catherine Germain
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89540-083-0)
A work as fresh as the North wind! Geneviève Côté has a style that synthesizes a complex legendary tale with originality and verve. Her lively, vibrant lines bring people and animals to life before our eyes as though for the first time. We are won over by the simplicity, strength and evocative power of the images.
Gérard Dubois, Longueuil, Quebec, for Le piano muet, story by Gilles Vigneault, music by Denis Gougeon (Éditions Fides; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 2-7621-2465-4)
Gérard Dubois’ work is an original interpretation of a text by a great poet. The artist delivers a coherent message in quiet tones and forms, and the silence of the images carry us along in an atmosphere of timelessness and mystery.
Virginie Egger, Montreal, for Recette d’éléphant à la sauce vieux pneu, text by Carole Tremblay
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89540-067-9)
A surprise on every page! With this book we discover an accomplished artist and a delicious book filled with fortuitous twists and skillful compositions. Virginie Egger has given us a rare treat full of humour and fantasy. Absolutely marvelous!
Stéphane Jorisch, Longueuil, Quebec, for Thésée et le Minotaure, text by Pan Bouyoucas
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89540-032-6)
The artist has translated this universal myth with accuracy and originality. We are quite literally carried back in time in a major feat of design where the artist’s brush rises to a challenge as vast and mysterious as the Minotaur. Page after page, we are reminded of the immense talent of Stéphane Jorisch.
Stéphane Poulin, Montreal, for Annabel et la Bête, text by Dominique Demers
(Dominique et compagnie / Les éditions Héritage; distributed by Les Messageries ADP)
(ISBN 2-89512-196-6 (bound) / ISBN 2-89512-195-8 (paperback))
Stéphane Poulin draws us into a familiar universe that is classic yet constantly renewed, where his paintings do justice to a text filled with mystery. The richness of the setting and the filmic quality of the work carry us into the heart of history, and the depths of the characters’ psychology.
Translation (English to French)
Yolande Amzallag, Montreal, for Le canari éthique : science, société et esprit humain
(Les éditions Liber; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89578-023-4)
French translation of The Ethical Canary: Science, Society and the Human Spirit by Margaret Somerville
(Penguin Books Canada)
This translation manages to respect the often playful and personal presentation of a solid and serious discussion of important contemporary issues.
Agnès Guitard, Saint-Côme, Quebec, for Un amour de Salomé
(XYZ éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89261-354-X)
French translation of The Tragedy Queen by Linda Leith (NuAge Editions)
Ideas and emotions are translated with skill and style, both for the satirical tone and the lively rhythm. This translation has all the literary qualities of the original text.
Paule Noyart, Bromont, Quebec, for L’Or bleu : l’eau, nouvel enjeu stratégique et commercial
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0208-1)
French translation of Blue Gold: The Battle Against Corporate Theft of the World’s Water by Maude Barlow and Tony Clarke (Stoddart Publishing)
This scrupulous and elegant translation shows a mastery of the translator’s craft. The translator deals extremely well with the terminological problems of the text.
Hélène Paré, Montreal, for L’histoire spectacle : le cas du tricentenaire de Québec
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0171-9)
French translation of The Art of Nation-Building: Pageantry and Spectacle at Quebec’s Tercentenary by
H. V. Nelles (University of Toronto Press)
This lively, colourful translation doesn’t feel English in any way. The translator has breathed fresh life into a text that is a combination of historiography and anecdotal style.
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, Montreal, for L’analyste
(Leméac Éditeur / Actes Sud; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7609-2287-1)
French translation of The Speaking Cure by David Homel (Douglas & McIntyre)
The translators have done a fine job of rendering the multilayered richness of the original work, which plays on different levels of language. The prose of the novelist, sometimes cynical and sometimes impassioned, is translated with talent.
The winners of the Governor General’s Literary Awards are chosen by independent juries in each category (seven English and seven French), appointed by the Canada Council. The juries, which meet separately, consider all eligible books published between 1 September 2002 and 30 September 2003 for English-language books and between 1 July 2002 and 30 June 2003 for French-language books. This year, a total of 1,470 titles, 828 in the English-language categories and 642 in the French-language categories, were submitted.
Fiction: David Bergen (Winnipeg); Lynn Coady (Vancouver); Stephen Henighan (Guelph, Ontario)
Poetry: Marilyn Dumont (Windsor, Ontario); Gary Geddes (Sooke, British Columbia); Phil Hall (Toronto)
Drama: Marty Chan (Edmonton); Maureen Hunter (Winnipeg); Jenny Munday (Guysborough, Nova Scotia)
Nonfiction: June Callwood (Islington, Ontario); James King (Hamilton, Ontario); Carmen Rodriguez (Vancouver)
Children’s Literature - Text: Cheryl Foggo (Calgary); Linda Holeman (Winnipeg); Paul Yee (Toronto)
Children’s Literature - Illustration: Harvey Chan (Toronto); Wallace Edwards (Yarker, Ontario); Susan Tooke (Halifax)
Translation: Liedewij Hawke (North York, Ontario); Jonathan Kaplansky (Ottawa); Nigel Spencer, (Sherbrooke, Quebec)
Fiction: Naïm Kattan (Montreal); Andrée A. Michaud (Quebec); Lori Saint-Martin (Montreal)
Poetry: Rose Després (Moncton); Robert Dickson (Sudbury, Ontario); André Roy (Montreal)
Drama: Pan Bouyoucas (Montreal); Herménégilde Chiasson (Grand-Barachois, New Brunswick); Jeanne-Mance Delisle (Destor, Quebec)
Nonfiction: Réjean Beaudoin (Richmond, British Columbia); Maximilien Laroche (Quebec City); Claire Varin (Laval, Quebec)
Children’s Literature - Text: Marie-Célie Agnant (Montreal); Charles Montpetit (Montreal); Hélène Vachon (Quebec)
Children’s Literature - Illustration: Darcia Labrosse (Ottawa); Francine Sarrasin (Calixa-Lavallée, Quebec); Rafael Sottolichio (Montreal)
Translation : Nicole Mallet (Edmonton); Robert Paquin (Montreal); Mario Pelletier (Montreal)
For further information about the awards, please contact Joanne-Larocque-Poirier at 1-800-263-5588, ext. 5576.
Announcement of winners
The four winners of the children’s literature categories (text and illustration, English and French) will be announced and presented with their awards by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Adrienne Clarkson, Governor General of Canada at a special ceremony and event at Rideau Hall (the residence of the Governor General in Ottawa) on Monday, November 10 at 10 a.m. The purpose of this special event is to highlight the important contribution made by Canadian children’s writers and illustrators, and to directly involve children in the presentation of the awards. Children from across the National Capital Region will be invited to attend the event, which will also include readings and workshops related to children’s literature.
The winners of the awards in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry and translation (English and French) will be announced at a news conference at Library and Archives Canada (395 Wellington St., Ottawa) on Wednesday, November 12 at 9:30 a.m. The winners will be available for in-person and telephone interviews immediately following the news conference. The awards for the winners of those categories will be presented by the Governor General at Rideau Hall at 5 p.m. the same day. A reception and dinner in honour of the laureates will be held that evening (by invitation only).
Media representatives wishing to cover the November 10 or November 12 ceremonies at Rideau Hall should contact France Langlois at the Rideau Hall Press Office at (613) 993-8157.
The names, biographies and downloadable photos of the winners will be posted on the Canada Council web site at 10 a.m. on November 10 (for children’s literature winners) and at 9:30 a.m. on Nov. 12 (for winners in the other categories).
For the 12th consecutive year, Library and Archives Canada will invite all the winners to read from their works at a gala reading on Thursday, November 13 at 7:30 p.m. The Canada Council wishes to thank BMO Financial Group, Library and Archives Canada and the Fairmont Château Laurier - the official hotel of the Governor General’s Literary Awards - for their support.
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Interviews with authors:
Ontario, Atlantic Provinces, Manitoba, Saskatchewan and the Territories:
Diane Hargrave (416) 467-9954
Quebec: English-language: Rita Schaffer (514) 937-1039
British Columbia: Margaret MacKinnon-Cash (604) 733-9447
Alberta: Sheri Lee Moshansky (780) 436-7955