News Releases - 2005
The Canada Council for the Arts announces finalists for the 2005 Governor General’s Literary Awards
Ottawa, October 17, 2005 — The Canada Council for the Arts announced today the names of the finalists for the 2005 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.
A total of 69 books have been nominated for this year’s awards; 42 of the shortlisted writers, translators or illustrators are finalists for the first time. There were several multiple finalists in the translation category: Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné received three nominations for English to French translation and Fred A. Reed was nominated twice for French to English 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 members of the 14 juries (seven English and seven French) are listed at the conclusion of this release.
>> Click here for the 2005 Governor General's Literary Awards web site and downloadable versions of the finalists book covers.
The Canada Council for the Arts funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards, worth $15,000 each. Each winner will also receive a specially-crafted copy of the winning book bound by Montreal bookbinder Lise Dubois. 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.
Canada Council Chair Karen Kain highlighted the importance of the Governor General’s Literary Awards in connecting Canadian authors with the people who read their works.
“These Awards are about honouring great books, but they are also about encouraging Canadians of all ages to explore and discover the pleasure of reading,” she said. “We want people in every part of the country to know about these books and the outstanding authors, illustrators and translators who created them.”
BMO Financial Group has been the sponsor of the Governor General’s Literary Awards since 1988. BMO’s generous contribution has allowed, among other things, the production of material aimed at promoting the finalists and winners in bookstores, schools, libraries and at public events across Canada.
“Since 1988, BMO Financial Group has promoted Canada’s literary excellence 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 important contribution to Canadian writing, illustration and translation.”
Images of book covers are available from the 2005 finalists main page.
Joseph Boyden, New Orleans (LA) / ON, for Three Day Road
(Viking Canada, an imprint of Penguin Group (Canada); distributed by the publisher)
Three Day Road is a troubling and gripping story of cultural clash and redemption set against the horrors of the First World War. It shows with great power how we can be influenced and betrayed by our myths.
Golda Fried, Greensboro (NC), [formerly of Toronto], for Nellcott Is My Darling
(Coach House Books; distributed by LitDistco / Fraser Direct) (ISBN 1-55245-151-8)
A gem of compressed and elegant writing, Nellcott Is My Darling is the witty account of a hapless university student afraid to lose her virginity and afraid not to.
Charlotte Gill, Vancouver, for Ladykiller
(Thomas Allen Publishers, a division of Thomas Allen & Son; distributed by the publisher)
In Charlotte Gill’s sleekly minimalist narratives, characters’ darker selves emerge in surprising ways and places. Innovative in structure, these jangling stories reflect uniquely contemporary situations.
David Gilmour, Toronto, for A Perfect Night to Go to China
(Thomas Allen Publishers, a division of Thomas Allen & Son; distributed by the publisher)
After a moment of parental inattention, a child disappears. Haunting, spare and lyrical, A Perfect Night to Go to China recounts a distraught father’s nightmare as he comes to terms with his own culpability.
Kathy Page, Salt Spring Island (BC), for Alphabet
(McArthur & Company / Weidenfeld & Nicholson, an imprint of Orion Publishing Group; distributed by McArthur & Company) (ISBN 0-297-60788-X)
Alphabet is a story fraught with moral ambiguity set in a men’s prison in Thatcher’s Britain. An incarcerated murderer learns to read and write, opening himself to the perils of communication. Kathy Page creates a convincing portrait of a complex, troubled human.
Anne Compton, Rothesay (NB), for Processional
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 1-55041-344-9)
Anne Compton’s Processional is both a still-life and a tableau, with moments of perfect stillness and of passionate arrival. This book skillfully marries history to the present, and pulls the everyday into light.
Barry Dempster, Holland Landing (ON), for The Burning Alphabet
(Brick Books; distributed by LitDistCo) (ISBN 1-894078-42-X)
Barry Dempster’s The Burning Alphabet is a skillful navigation and sometimes irreverent meditation on illness, loss and the transitory. It hums with honesty and unexpected delight.
Erin Mouré, Montreal, for Little theatres
(House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 0-88784-728-5)
Erin Mouré’s Little theatres is a nuanced and powerful polemic that plays in the fissures of comprehension and language. It expands the reader’s sense of beauty and surprise.
W.H. New, Vancouver, for Underwood Log
(Oolichan Books; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 0-88982-193-3)
W.H. New’s Underwood Log is a far-reaching examination of borders, latitudes, limitations and possibilities. A book that gives weight to common questions and finds astonishing answers.
Olive Senior, Toronto, for Over the Roofs of the World
(Insomniac Press; distributed by Publishers Group Canada) (ISBN 1-894663-82-9)
Olive Senior’s Over the Roofs of the World is a richly crafted, cunning and precise collection of poems. The songs found here move gently through the world and summon grace.
Marjorie Chan, Toronto, for China Doll
(Scirocco Drama, an imprint of J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 0-920486-83-5)
The intimate story of a young woman who finds freedom against all odds, China Doll explores the profound level of misogyny in China of the late 19th and early 20th centuries, awakening us to issues that are still relevant today. The play’s visual imagery is haunting and the fully-realized characters speak with remarkably distinctive voices. A dazzling piece of writing.
Don Druick, Elmira (ON), for Through the Eyes
(DC Books; distributed by LitDistCo) (ISBN 0-919688-15-2)
Don Druick’s play about the relationship between the Italian sculptor Bernini and his patron, the flighty but all-powerful Louis XIV, pulls the past into the present with its stunning language and its vivid evocation of history. From its first moments, Through the Eyes is electrifying and entrancing; one can feel the tension in this story of an artist who is drawn into the inner circle.
Daniel MacIvor, Toronto, for Cul-de-sac
(Talonbooks; distributed by Publishers Group Canada) (ISBN 0-88922-515-X)
A snazzy, jazzy and smart-assed snapshot of life in a suburban community, in which a violent incident forces its residents to confront reality and connect with each other. A play for one actor playing multiple roles, Cul-de-sac eloquently addresses the themes of loneliness, friendship and community in a way which is simultaneously bold and subtle.
John Mighton, Toronto, for Half Life
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 0-88754-816-4)
John Mighton’s unforgettable drama describes a love affair between two elderly nursing-home residents who may – or may not – have known each other long ago. Deeply philosophical and profoundly intellectual, while at the same time warm and compassionate, Half Life reminds us that we are defined as much by what we forget as what we remember.
Richard Sanger, Toronto, for Two Words for Snow
(Red Deer Press; distributed by Fitzhenry & Whiteside) (ISBN 0-88995-310-4)
In reframing the story of Matthew Henson, an African-American man who accompanied Robert Peary to the North Pole, Two Words for Snow asks fundamental questions: who gets credit for “discovery” and what are the human costs? Richard Sanger uses poetic, almost musical language to describe the clash of personalities, ambitions and cultures.
Ted Bishop, Edmonton, for Riding with Rilke: Reflections on Motorcycles and Books
(Viking Canada, an imprint of Penguin Group (Canada); distributed by the publisher)
Ted Bishop’s effortless prose slips back and forth between motorcycle culture and the literary world. His observations on the road share the energy and polish of his Ducati motorcycle.
Michael Mitchell, Toronto, for The Molly Fire
(ECW Press; distributed by Jaguar Book Group) (ISBN 1-55022-676-2)
A tender memoir about death, memory and family, The Molly Fire is exquisitely written and produced. The author moves from the past to the present in prose that is as lucid as the photographs that illustrate this book.
Edward Shorter, Toronto/La Crosse (WI), for Written in the Flesh: A History of Desire
(University of Toronto Press; distributed by the publisher)
A witty and wide-ranging look at the evolution of sexual desire over 3,000 years and its uncomfortable monopoly of everyday life. An enticing union of science and literature, Written in the Flesh is a ground-breaking book.
John Vaillant, Vancouver, for The Golden Spruce: A True Story of Myth, Madness and Greed
(Knopf Canada, an imprint of Random House of Canada; distributed by the publisher)
John Vaillant’s critical account of a troubled and prophetic logger charts the destruction of communities and old-growth forests in British Columbia. Written with great wisdom, The Golden Spruce is a quintessential Canadian story.
Jessica Warner, Toronto, for The Incendiary: The Misadventures of John the Painter, First Modern Terrorist
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-7710-8808-6)
A vivid and well-crafted evocation of late eighteenth-century life in Great Britain, The Incendiary tells the story of a common man seeking uncommon status. Jessica Warner uses her skills as a storyteller to produce a historical work that is both lively and informative.
Children’s Literature – Text
Francis Chalifour, Toronto, for After
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-88776-705-2)
A compelling, beautifully-written account of a family touched by a father’s suicide. In the character Francis, we have a voice that is candid, honest, funny and heartbreaking.
Barbara Nickel, Yarrow (BC), for Hannah Waters and the Daughter of Johann Sebastian Bach
(Penguin Canada; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 0-14-305078-8)
Against the background of Bach’s Concerto for Two Violins, Nickel hauntingly unites the stories of two girls born centuries apart. In skilful, seamless prose, the cold Canadian winter of the prairies becomes a counterpoint to the opulence of 18th century Europe.
Gail Nyoka, Scarborough (ON), for Mella and the N’anga: An African Tale
(Sumach Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 1-894549-49-X)
Gail Nyoka refreshingly blends fantasy and mythology to evoke African village life from before recorded time. In this powerful story, Mella is called upon to save her father’s life and reclaim the values of her people.
Pamela Porter, Sidney (BC), for The Crazy Man
(Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 0-88899-694-2, bound / 0-88899-695-0, paper)
In free verse that dazzles in its simplicity, Pamela Porter movingly introduces readers to a family torn apart by a farm accident in 1960s Saskatchewan. Richly developed characters populate a landscape where prejudices flourish.
Shyam Selvadurai, Toronto, for Swimming in the Monsoon Sea
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-88776-735-4)
Shyam Selvadurai’s evocative prose vividly recreates the lush backdrop of his 1980s homeland, Sri Lanka, a country bound by strict codes of moral behaviour and social etiquette, in which the orphaned Amrith seeks the answer to the universal question of adolescents, “Who am I?”
Children’s Literature – Illustration
Kyrsten Brooker, Edmonton, for City Angel, text by Eileen Spinelli
(Dial Books for Young Readers, a division of Penguin Young Readers Group; distributed by Penguin Books Canada) (ISBN 0-8037-2821-2)
Kyrsten Brooker’s tapestry of rich colours and interesting textures sets a wonderful mood in this joyous book about an angel who watches over a city and its residents. Children will want to read it again and again.
Wallace Edwards, Yarker (ON), for Mixed Beasts, text by Kenyon Cox
(Kids Can Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 1-55337-796-6)
Wallace Edwards’ skillfully-rendered illustrations of curious creatures like the Pelicantelope and the Bumblebeaver will delight and amuse readers of all ages. His fantastic beasts look almost real.
Rob Gonsalves, Mallorytown (ON), for Imagine a Day, text by Sarah L. Thomson
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster; distributed by Simon & Schuster Canada) (ISBN 0-689-85219-3
Imagine a day when you can climb up a tree’s reflection in the water or fly from a map to explore the world. Rob Gonsalves’ surreal paintings create a harmony between illusion and reality, reflecting the text while letting readers find their own meanings in the images.
Murray Kimber, Nelson (BC), for The Highwayman, text by Alfred Noyes
(Kids Can Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 1-55337-425-8)
This book gives the classic poem of the same name a contemporary twist. Murray Kimber’s stark, monochromatic illustrations evoke both the haunting style of Noyes’ text and the dark vision of a modern-day city.
Rajka Kupesic, Toronto, for Maria Chapdelaine, text by Louis Hémon
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 0-88776-697-8)
Rajka Kupesic’s exquisite paintings are a perfect fit for this classic legend. The illustrator brings a new sophistication to folk art to capture the mood of old-time rural Quebec, with flowing lines, rich detail and warm and cool colours. This book will appeal to children of all ages.
Translation (French to English)
Jane Brierley, Montreal, for America: The Lewis and Clark Expedition and the Dawn of a New Power
(Véhicule Press; distributed by LitDistCo) (ISBN 1-55065-172-2)
English translation of America, 1803-1853 : l’expédition de Lewis & Clark et la naissance d’une nouvelle puissance, by Denis Vaugeois (Les éditions du Septentrion)
A pivotal moment in history – the Lewis and Clark expedition – has been retold by Denis Vaugeois from a passionately engaged point of view, and Jane Brierley has communicated the author’s critical vision to an English-speaking audience in her strong and precise translation.
Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood, Montreal, for Yesterday, at the Hotel Clarendon
(Coach House Books; distributed by LitDistCo / Fraser Direct) (ISBN 1-55245-150-X)
English translation of Hier, by Nicole Brossard (Éditions Québec Amérique)
Susanne de Lotbinière-Harwood offers English readers the opportunity to experience one of Canada’s most important and daring writers at the summit of her art. The translation skilfully renders Nicole Brossard’s shifts in pace, voice and genre.
Wayne Grady, Athens (ON), for Return from Africa
(Douglas & McIntyre; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 1-55365-098-0)
English translation of Le Retour d’Afrique, by Francine D’Amour (Les Éditions du Boréal)
In his subtle, well-balanced translation, Wayne Grady has captured the frailty and complexity of an unbalanced mind. He has met the difficult challenge of reproducing in translation a narrative voice that is intelligent and sophisticated, yet profoundly disturbed.
Fred A. Reed, Montreal, for Truth or Death: The Quest for Immortality in the Western Narrative Tradition
(Talonbooks; distributed by Publishers Group Canada) (ISBN 0-88922-509-5)
English translation of Raconter et mourir : aux sources narratives de l’imaginaire occidental, by Thierry Hentsch (Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal)
This is a remarkable translation of a very thoughtful and insightful reading of the literary pillars of western civilization. The quality of Fred A. Reed’s translation reflects the aesthetic values of the original text.
Fred A. Reed and David Homel, Montreal, for All that Glitters
(Talonbooks; distributed by Publishers Group Canada) (ISBN 0-88922-520-6)
English translation of L’élu du hasard, by Martine Desjardins (Leméac Éditeur)
An elegant, finely-crafted translation of Martine Desjardins’ novel. Fred A. Reed and David Homel have successfully conveyed the tone and atmosphere of this fable of greed, chance and love, against the backdrop of the muddy trenches of the First World War.
Marie-Claire Blais, Montreal, for Augustino et le chœur de la destruction
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0317-7)
A sustained stream of language that barely pauses for breath, Augustino et le chœur de la destruction is an unflinching look at contemporary issues. Marie-Claire Blais has given her readers a powerful, lively and complex work.
Nicolas Dickner, Montreal, for Nikolski
(Les Éditions Alto, a division of Éditions Nota bene; distributed by Socadis) (ISBN 2-89518-200-2)
Like a benign deity, Nicolas Dickner fashions a world in which everything comes as a surprise. With this novel where stories abound and chance encounters lead to interwoven destinies, the author shows a prodigious imagination and a wonderful mastery of the art of storytelling.
Christiane Frenette, Lévis (QC), for Après la nuit rouge
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0364-9)
Christiane Frenette uses finesse and intelligence in constructing a solid work that explores the profound flaws of her characters. Her gaze is clear and true, and her language precise.
Guy Lalancette, Chibougamau (QC), for Un amour empoulaillé
(VLB éditeur; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 2-89005-872-7)
Taking an honest look at the human condition at grips with an overwhelming reality, Guy Lalancette lays bare the contradictions inherent in the Quebec of the early 1960s. The novel is extremely appealing; its sustained and economical style effectively uses humour as a catalyst.
Aki Shimazaki, Montreal, for Hotaru
(Leméac Éditeur / Actes Sud; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7609-2430-0)
Hiroshima, the day of the bomb. Hiroshima, the day of a murder. Half a century later, the confession of an old woman. With remarkable concision and an economy of means that confers a classical tone, controlled but never emotionless, Aki Shimazaki weaves the fabric of an evocative tale.
Marc André Brouillette, Montreal, for M’accompagne
(Éditions du Noroît; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89018-547-8)
With M’accompagne, Marc André Brouillette leads us on a voyage into the nature of colours. The author enters into each, from mauve to gold, exploring their tones and vibrations with originality.
Jean-Marc Desgent, Longueuil (QC), for Vingtièmes siècles
(Les Écrits des Forges; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-89046-910-7)
A cruel and troubling book in which the verbs ‘to have’ and ‘to be’ tear each other apart. This extremely lucid work portrays the world and all its pain, as well as the multiple tensions of our twentieth centuries.
François Dumont, Quebec City, for Brisures
(Éditions du Noroît; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89018-552-4)
François Dumont meticulously unravels and recreates our contemporary ambivalences. In his work, the poem adopts the form and face of philosophy.
Danielle Fournier, Montreal, for Il n’y a rien d’intact dans ma chair
(Éditions de l’Hexagone; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 2-89006-720-3)
Danielle Fournier deciphers the passion and fragility of love, describing a universe where landscapes, bodies, the eyes and the voice stimulate the senses and pose essential questions.
Fernand Ouellette, Laval (QC), for L’Inoubliable : Chronique I
(Éditions de l’Hexagone; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 2-89006-725-4)
In language that flows effortlessly and that conveys the constancy of his poetry, the ever-attentive Fernand Ouellette invites the reader to a celebration of life.
Geneviève Billette, Montreal, for Le Pays des genoux
(Leméac Éditeur / Actes Sud; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7609-2429-7)
This play for young audiences is surprising and innovative, forcing us to face up to the absurdities created by our prejudices. Thanks to the incisive skills of an artist who views the world with compassion and understanding, we are given a disarming vision of utopia.
Jean-Rock Gaudreault, Longueuil (QC) for Pour ceux qui croient que la Terre est ronde
(Lansman Éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-87282-502-9)
This story of love between a father and son, and the story of the bold explorer Columbus, is a reworking of history and its official version that is knowledgeable without ever being didactic. This very lovely tale is also filled with wonderful zoological, geographical and cosmological visions of the world.
François Godin, Montreal, for Louisiane Nord
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Prologue) (ISBN 2-7609-0391-5)
In this starkly sober play, set in a landscape that is both real and imaginary, time exists in a poetic force that strikes at the heart. The chiselled language and the author’s delicate touch capture and transport us.
Marie-Christine Lê-Huu, Montreal, for Jouliks
(Lansman Éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-27282-486-3)
The strength of this play and its astonishing beauty lie in the pitch-perfect poetry of the writing as well as in our fascination with Vera – a girl too intelligent, too grown-up, too alone – and the story’s poignant, heart-breaking modulations of love.
Paul Bleton and Mario Poirier, Montreal, for Le vagabond stoïque : Louis Hémon
(Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal; distributed by Somabec) (ISBN 2-7606-1955-9)
This fascinating multidisciplinary work is brilliant proof that it is possible to return to a classic – Maria Chapdelaine – with a sense of discovery and renewed insight by resituating it in its numerous contexts. Paul Bleton and Mario Poirier give us a fresh literary approach, and at last, render to Louis Hémon all the energy of his origins.
Michel Bock, Ottawa, for Quand la nation débordait les frontières : les minorités françaises dans la pensée de Lionel Groulx
(Éditions Hurtubise HMH; distributed by Socadis) (ISBN 2-89428-707-0)
With intelligence, clarity and skill, Michel Bock examines the philosophy of Lionel Groulx and his ‘principle of solidarity among French Canadians, wherever they were in North America.’ This surprising and audacious work plunges into the heart of the great French-Canadian dream of a French adventure in North America.
Gilles Dostaler, Montreal, for Keynes et ses combats
(Éditions Albin Michel; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 2-226-15875-8)
Keynes et ses combats is a dense and serious work that explores in depth the multiple undertakings of a great 20th century intellectual. Written in an elegant, fluid style, this highly original biography brings out the immense humanity of an individual whose life and work far transcended his vocation of economist.
Éric Méchoulan, Montreal, for Le livre avalé : de la littérature entre mémoire et culture (XVIe – XVIIIe siècle)
(Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal; distributed by Somabec) (ISBN 2-7606-1970-2)
With this erudite interpretation of some of the loveliest fragments of the vast, labyrinthine history of literature – the advent of the ‘civilizing’ woman, the legal acknowledgement of copyright, the creation of popular culture – Éric Méchoulan demonstrates the way literature works in the transition from a society of memory to a society of culture.
Sébastien Vincent, Montreal, for Laissés dans l’ombre : les Québécois engagés volontaires de 39-45 (ou quatorze Québécois racontent leur participation volontaire à la Seconde Guerre mondiale)
(VLB éditeur; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 2-89005-879-4)
During the Second World War, more than 85,000 French Canadians enlisted in the Canadian army to fight in Europe. Through the recollections of some of the last survivors, Sébastien Vincent evokes the theatres of war (Dieppe, Germany, Italy, Hong Kong) and delivers highly moving accounts of the experiences of these brave, unjustly forgotten men.
Children’s Literature — Text
Alain M. Bergeron, Victoriaville (QC), for Les Tempêtes ou Les mémoires d’un Beatle raté
(Soulières éditeur; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 2-89607-011-7)
Les Tempêtes is a humourous, original novel depicting the audacity, passions, disasters and dreams of four young musicians in search of fame and fortune.
Camille Bouchard, Quebec City, for Le ricanement des hyènes
(Les éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 2-89021-767-1)
Well-written and skillfully wrapped in the warm colours of Burkina Faso, this captivating tale by Camille Bouchard juxtaposes tradition and modernism with grace and intelligence.
Jean-Pierre Davidts, Saint-Sauveur-des-Monts (QC), for Le Baiser de la sangsue
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0367-3)
Jean-Pierre Davidts writes in a style whose unexpected twists and turns keep us on the edge of our seats from beginning to end. This voyage into a fantastic universe blurs the boundaries between reality and fiction.
Danielle Marcotte, Delémont, Switzerland [originally from Montreal], for Les sabots rouges
(Les éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 2-89021-710-8)
Les sabots rouges tells the story of a young girl who, thanks to her magical clogs, dreams of being reunited with the mother she has lost. Danielle Marcotte’s limpid writing takes on a difficult subject with delicacy and skill.
Sylvain Meunier, Longueuil (QC), for L’homme à la bicyclette
(Les éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 2-89021-718-3)
Sylvain Meunier revives the character known as the guenilloux, who inhabited the imagination of children in the post-war years. This story is a wise and subtle exploration of the fear of those who are different.
Children’s Literature — Illustration
Isabelle Arsenault, Montreal, for Le cœur de monsieur Gauguin, text by Marie-Danielle Croteau
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89540-183-7)
The expressions and gestures of Isabelle Arsenault’s characters translate their emotions with wonderful accuracy. The mixed technique used by the illustrator combines references to the past with contemporary imagery. This book moves us with its delicacy and depth.
Pascale Constantin, Montreal, for La vie comptée de Raoul Lecompte, text by Gilles Tibo
(Les éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (2-89021-730-2)
Pascale Constantin shows imagination and skill in her illustrations, including in the host of thumbnail images throughout the text. The luminous softness and tones of grey accentuate the composition of her pictures.
Luc Melanson, Laval (QC), for Les compositeurs, text by Claudio Ricignuolo
(Éditions Fides; distributed by Socadis) (ISBN 2-7621-2446-8)
The originality of Luc Melanson’s style brings lightness and movement to the seriousness of the educational message of the book. His rich palette enhances the rhythmic, poetic illustrations.
Stéphane Poulin, Montreal, for Un chant de Noël, text by Lucie Papineau (based on A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens)
(Dominique et compagnie / Les éditions Héritage; disbributed by Les Messageries ADP)
(ISBN 2-89512-318-7, bound / 2-89512-319-5, paper)
Stéphane Poulin creates complex atmospheres. His sustained, harmonious style and the attention he brings to the slightest detail are apparent throughout the book.
Pierre Pratt, Montreal, for Le jour où Zoé zozota, text by Pierre Pratt
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89540-196-9)
Pierre Pratt’s wonderfully simple images emphasize the lyricism of the text. He plays with an extremely rich palette to create compositions that evoke the solitude of his characters.
Translation (English to French)
Benoit Léger, Montreal, for Miracles en série
(Éditions Triptyque; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-89031-511-8)
French translation of Various Miracles, by Carol Shields (Vintage Books, an imprint of Random House of Canada)
Benoit Léger’s excellent translation respects all the subtlety of these short stories, while conveying the compassion, peppered with an irony lying just beneath the surface, that is characteristic of Carol Shields’ work.
Rachel Martinez, Quebec City, for Glenn Gould: une vie
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0342-8)
French translation of Wondrous Strange: The Life and Art of Glenn Gould, by Kevin Bazzana (McClelland and Stewart)
Overcoming the difficulties inherent in the vocabulary of music and in the biographical genre, Rachel Martinez has given us a text that is absolutely remarkable in its precision and clarity.
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, Montreal, for Drôle de tendresse
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-7646-0365-7)
French translation of A Complicated Kindness, by Miriam Toews (Knopf Canada, an imprint of Random House of Canada)
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné slip into the twists and turns of the character’s thoughts with a stark, evocative style. They offer a breathless, syncopated translation that powerfully limns the monologue of a narrator suffocating from a life that is leading nowhere.
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, Montreal, for La fille du Kamikaze
(Les éditions Les Allusifs; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 2-922868-22-2)
French translation of One Hundred Million Hearts, by Kerri Sakamoto (Knopf Canada, an imprint of Random House of Canada)
Transmitting the urgency of this narrative within a single rush, this translation is a fluid, natural read, and brilliantly conveys the tension that animates the novel’s protagonist, as well as the swirl of emotions that engulfs her.
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, Montreal, for Le Vol du corbeau
(Flammarion Québec, distributed by Socadis) (ISBN 2-89077-276-4)
French translation of The Way the Crow Flies, by Ann-Marie MacDonald (Knopf Canada, an imprint of Random House of Canada)
The fruit of an exacting task, this lively translation demonstrates to what extent Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné have mastered their art and are able to interpret a text strewn with allusions to various cultures brought together by circumstance.
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 September 1, 2004 and September 30, 2005 for English-language books and between July 1, 2004 and June 30, 2005 for French-language books. This year, a total of 1,488 titles, 888 in the English-language categories and 600 in the French-language categories, were submitted.
Fiction: Caroline Adderson (Vancouver), Bernice Morgan (St. John’s), Russell Smith (Toronto)
Poetry: Dionne Brand (Toronto), Aislinn Hunter (Vancouver), Robert Kroetsch (Winnipeg)
Drama: Robert Chafe (St. John’s), Daniel David Moses (Kingston), Judith Thompson (Toronto)
Nonfiction: Donna Bailey Nurse (Toronto), Andrew Nikiforuk (Calgary), Maria Tippett (Victoria)
Children’s Literature – Text: Glen Huser (Edmonton), David Jenkinson (Winnipeg), Sharon McKay (Kilbride, ON)
Children’s Literature – Illustration: Geoffrey Butler (Granville Ferry, NS), Zhong Yang Huang (Regina), Vlasta Van Kampen (Hastings, ON)
Translation: Robert Majzels (Bolton-Ouest, QC), Sally Ross (Tantallon, NS), Judith Woodsworth (Sudbury, ON)
Fiction: Abderrahman Beggar (Kitchener, ON), Dominique Blondeau (Montreal), Jean Marc Dalpé (Montreal)
Poetry: Nicole Brossard (Montreal), Cécile Cloutier (Ottawa), Stéphane Despatie (Montreal)
Drama: Marcia Babineau (Grand-Barachois, NB), Normand Chaurette (Montreal), Yves Sioui Durand (Montreal)
Nonfiction: Hélène de Billy (Montreal), Pierre Duchesne (L’Assomption, QC), Marcel Olscamp (Ottawa)
Children’s Literature – Text: Sylvie Desrosiers (Longueuil, QC), Guy Dessureault (Trois-Rivières, QC), Magda Tadros (Montreal)
Children’s Literature – Illustration: Anatoli Burcev (Repentigny, QC), Suzanne Duranceau (Longueuil, QC), Suzane Langlois (Montreal)
Translation: Gérard Boulad (Montreal), Jude Des Chênes (Saint-Aubert, QC), Anne Malena (Edmonton)
Reading by English fiction finalists
The English-language fiction finalists will be invited to read from their works at the International Festival of Authors (IFOA) at Harbourfront Centre, Premiere Dance Theatre, 235 Queens Quay West, in Toronto on Monday, October 24 at 8 p.m. This is the first time the IFOA has devoted a special evening to the Governor General’s Literary Awards. For tickets, please call the box office at (416) 973 4000. Tickets are $15 general admission and $10 for IFOA members. For information about the reading, contact Steve Myers, IFOA publicist at (416) 973-4147 or email@example.com.
Announcement of winners
In honour of the designation of Montreal as UNESCO World Book Capital for 2005-2006, the winners of this year’s Governor General’s Literary Awards will be announced and presented at a news conference at la Grande Bibliothèque of the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, 475 boulevard de Maisonneuve E., in Montreal, on Wednesday, November 16 at 10 a.m. The winners will be available for in-person and telephone interviews immediately following the news conference.
The names, biographies and downloadable photos of the winners will be posted on the Canada Council web site as of 10:30 a.m. EST on November 16.
Reading by the winners
A public reading by the winners of the 2005 Awards (all categories, English and French) will take place at la Grande Bibliothèque of the Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, 475 boulevard de Maisonneuve E., in Montreal on Wednesday, November 16 from 7- 9 p.m. The reading will be presented by the Canada Council for the Arts and Blue Metropolis Foundation. Tickets will be sold at the door for $8 general admission and $5 for Blue Metropolis members.
Copies of the winning books will be on sale, and the winners will be available to sign their books immediately after the reading. For more information about the reading, contact Christopher DiRaddo, Media Relations, Blue Metropolis Foundation at (514) 842-5087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Awards presentation: children’s literature
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will present the awards to the four winners of the children’s literature categories (text and illustration, in English and in French), at a special ceremony and event at Rideau Hall (the residence of the Governor General in Ottawa) on Tuesday, November 22 at 10 a.m. (by invitation only).
The purpose of this special event is to highlight the important contribution made by Canada’s children’s book writers and illustrators, and to involve children directly in the presentation of the awards. Children from across the National Capital Region will attend the event, which will also include readings and workshops by the award winners.
Media representatives wishing to cover this event should contact France Langlois at the Rideau Hall Press Office at (613) 993-8157.
Awards presentation: fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry and translation
Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2005 Awards in the categories of fiction, nonfiction, drama, poetry and translation (in English and in French) at Rideau Hall on Wednesday, November 23 at 6 p.m. Media representatives wishing to cover the ceremony should contact France Langlois at the Rideau Hall Press Office at (613) 993-8157. A reception and dinner in honour of the winners will be held that evening (by invitation only).
Interviews with authors:
Sheri Lee Moshansky