News Releases - 2007
The Canada Council for the Arts announces finalists for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Awards
Ottawa, October 16, 2007 – The Canada Council for the Arts announced today the names of the finalists for the 2007 Governor General’s Literary Awards, in English and in French, in the categories of fiction, non fiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation.
A total of 1,417 books have been nominated for this year’s awards. Four of the 70 shortlisted books are collaborations involving two authors or translators, and 40 of the 74 individual finalists are nominated for the first time. At least 11 of the finalists are under the age of 35.
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.
The Canada Council for the Arts funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards. For the first time this year, the value of each award will be $25,000, increased from $15,000 in celebration of the Canada Council’s 50th anniversary. Each winner will also receive a specially-crafted copy of the winning book. 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 approximately $450,000.
The winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. EST at La Grande Bibliothèque de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, in Montreal.
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.
“We are proud to support Canada’s literary excellence and join the Canada Council in congratulating all the finalists, celebrating their important contribution to Canadian writing, illustration and translation, and promoting their works in bookstores, schools, libraries and events across the country,” said Gilles Ouellette, President and CEO, Private Client Group and Deputy Chairman, BMO Nesbitt Burns. In 2006, BMO was recognized as a leader in supporting the arts in Canada with a Globe and Mail Business for the Arts Award which recognizes outstanding partnerships between business and the arts.
Downloadable images of the shortlisted books, together with additional information about the 2007 GGs are available on the Canada Council web site at www.canadacouncil.ca/prizes/ggla.
David Chariandy, Vancouver, for Soucouyant
(Arsenal Pulp Press; distributed by Jaguar Book Group) (ISBN 978-1-55152-226-5)
David Chariandy’s Soucouyant tells us of enormous loss and beautiful memory. A son rediscovers the heritage he has rejected, as his aging mother’s mind disintegrates. The re-creation of the mother’s Caribbean past within the circle of her son’s growing love enfolds the reader in a magnificent story.
Barbara Gowdy, Toronto, for Helpless
(HarperCollins Publishers, an imprint of HarperCollins Canada; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-0-00-200846-4)
Barbara Gowdy looks at image and our application of violence, especially against women and girls. We are left writhing with the horror of it all, all the while realizing the ironical softness and accommodation to this urban disease. Helpless, we are left; almost forsaken in Gowdy’s explosive language.
Michael Ondaatje, Toronto, for Divisadero
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-7710-6872-0)
The seductive, luminous characters populating Divisadero are pulled from the bleakness of their lives by Ondaatje’s astonishing lyricism and whimsical yet meticulous detail. His bold evocation of violence and obsession, regret and tenderness traces the heart with compassion and grace.
Heather O’Neill, Montreal, for Lullabies for Little Criminals
(Harper Perennial, an imprint of HarperCollins; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-0-06-087507-7)
In Lullabies for Little Criminals, Baby leads us into her thirteen-year-old life on the impoverished streets of Montreal. It is a world both terrifying and gentle, cruel and yet strangely tender and compassionate. Baby’s astonishing resilience, the way she finds beauty in so much ugliness, makes Heather O’Neill’s novel a triumph of imagination and sensitivity.
M.G. Vassanji, Toronto, for The Assassin’s Song
(Doubleday Canada, a division of Random House of Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-385-66351-9)
M.G. Vassanji is accustomed to taking us down crowded, culturally-congested city streets strewn with the richness of people and flowers, people and animals, people and colour. And when we have the power of his narrative, natural as the landscape he describes, we are bestowed with wonder and love and passion.
Margaret Atwood, Toronto, for The Door: Poems
(McClelland & Stewart; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-7710-0880-1)
These penetrating, psychological poems, with their strong, iconic metaphors, mediate the relationship between identity and family. This book takes an unwavering look at the human condition with equal measures of humour and alarm.
Don Domanski, Halifax, for All Our Wonder Unavenged
(Brick Books; distributed by LitDistCo) (ISBN 978-1-894078-58-6)
Don Domanski invites us into a charmed landscape where unexpected magic flares up. His newest book of poetry is a personal, spiritual meditation.
Brian Henderson, Kitchener (ON), for Nerve Language
(Pedlar Press; distributed by LitDistCo) (ISBN 978-1-897141-13-7)
Terrifying and beautiful, the language in this book is an incendiary crossing of wires. These poems are as likely to break you open as they are to explode.
Dennis Lee, Toronto, for Yesno: Poems
(House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88784-758-5)
Dennis Lee has written a poetic lament about the willingness of humanity to rush onward into an ecological holocaust of the future. A playful tour de force, his book rebuilds our fragmented language in order to sing out against a disaster too horrible for ordinary words.
Rob Winger, Ottawa, for Muybridge’s Horse: A Poem in Three Phases
(Nightwood Editions; distributed by Harbour Publishing) (ISBN 978-0-88971-231-7)
Rob Winger has captured, in beautiful vignettes, the astonishing life of Eadweard Muybridge. With lavish imagery, Winger evokes the emotional intensity of a photographic genius caught up in the birth of a new technological era.
Salvatore Antonio, Markham (ON), for In Gabriel’s Kitchen
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by publisher) (ISBN 978-0-88754-670-9)
This drama moves the reader into the unfolding inner conflicts and experiences of its young central character. We follow the pivotal moments in his search for identity and feel the turmoil of his rejection by those he thought loved him most. Touching and highly theatrical.
Anosh Irani, North Vancouver, for The Bombay Plays: The Matka King and Bombay Black
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by publisher) (ISBN 978-0-88754-560-3)
At once poetic and theatrical, The Bombay Plays pulse with grit, humour and despair. Anosh Irani makes an astonishing debut with these two plays. His voice is fierce, funny and wholly original.
Rosa Laborde, Toronto, for Leo
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by publisher) (ISBN 978-0-88754-898-9)
Exquisitely poetic and structurally economical, Leo is pure theatre. A play which manages to delve into difficult politics while maintaining its true and human heart. As readers, we are richer for having experienced this complex friendship.
Colleen Murphy, Toronto, for The December Man (L’homme de décembre)
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by publisher) (ISBN 978-0-88754-595-5)
With deceptive simplicity and great compassion, Colleen Murphy illuminates a devastating chapter in Canada’s recent history. She gives voice to the silent victims, to those who witness the unimaginable and survive.
Morris Panych, Vancouver, for What Lies Before Us
(Talonbooks; distributed by Publishers Group Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88922-560-2)
Funny and absurd dialogue, even when it’s in Cantonese, this is a play with momentum and a playwright’s brilliant handle on building an arc that is sustained to the very last page. Intelligent and ridiculous – pure Panych.
Rodrigo Bascuñán and Christian Pearce, Toronto, for Enter the Babylon System: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to 50 Cent
(Random House Canada, a division of Random House of Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-679-31388-5)
This book explores, from an insider’s point of view, how guns are an integral part of popular culture, from hip-hop to Hollywood. Moreover, it reveals the devastating impact of gun culture on Canada, especially its Black youths. Timely and well-written. A must read.
John English, Kitchener (ON), for Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968
(Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-676-97521-5)
In well-researched, fascinating detail, the author portrays, not only the privileged early years of Pierre Trudeau’s life, but the Quebec that formed him. This is a fair, but not sycophantic biography of one of Canada’s most remarkable prime ministers.
Stephanie Nolen, Johannesburg, South Africa (formerly of Montreal), for 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa
(Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-676-97822-3)
28: Stories of AIDS in Africa puts a human face to the overwhelmingly tragic pandemic. These stories are at once honest, poignant, powerful and insightful. Nolen guides us through the AIDS humanscape and makes us care.
Karolyn Smardz Frost, Collingwood (ON), for I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad
(Thomas Allen Publishers; distributed by Thomas Allen & Sons) (ISBN 978-0-88762-250-2)
Karolyn Smardz Frost weaves prodigious archaeological and historical research into a rich, historically revealing tapestry of the era of the Underground Railroad. The saga of Thornton Blackburn and his wife, from slavery in Kentucky to freedom in Ontario, is social history at its finest.
Bridget Stutchbury, Woodbridge (ON), for Silence of the Songbirds: How We Are Losing the World’s Songbirds and What We Can Do to Save Them
(HarperCollins Publishers, an imprint of HarperCollins Canada; distributed by publisher) (ISBN 978-0-00-200728-3)
A beautifully written, learned and passionate cri de coeur about the fate of nature’s enchanting songsters. But there’s hope: the author prescribes ways to save our feathered neighbours from oblivion.
Children’s Literature – Text
Hugh Brewster, Toronto, for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting
(Kids Can Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 978-1-55453-137-0)
Richly evocative in word and image, Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose is a fictional account of the creation of a painting, which also tells the larger story of the creative act. As he paints, artist John Singer Sargent is meticulously observed by young Kate, who longs to be immortalized in a great work of art – a beautiful book.
Christopher Paul Curtis, Windsor (ON), for Elijah of Buxton
(Scholastic Canada; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 978-0-439-93647-7)
Elijah Freeman, the first child born of freed slaves in Canada, is the protagonist in this tale which is by turns hilarious and tragic, and always an engaging historical adventure. Christopher Paul Curtis’ creation stands shoulder to shoulder with Mark Twain’s Tom Sawyer and Huckleberry Finn.
Iain Lawrence, Gabriola Island (BC), for Gemini Summer
(Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-385-73089-1 (trade) / 978-0-385-90111-6 (glb))
Gemini Summer is an exquisite portrayal of two brothers’ fascination with the Gemini missions at the height of the space race in the early 1960s. A spiritual bond with a stray dog and complex issues of family, life, and death are at the heart of this beautiful novel by Iain Lawrence.
John Wilson, Lantzville (BC), for The Alchemist’s Dream
(Key Porter Books; distributed by H. B. Fenn) (ISBN 978-1-55263-934-4)
In this engrossing historical adventure, John Wilson paints a vivid picture of a bygone era involving Henry Hudson’s fateful search for the elusive Northwest Passage, an alchemist, mysterious passengers, and enigmatic maps. The Alchemist’s Dream fascinates from start to finish.
Eva Wiseman, Winnipeg, for Kanada
(Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88776-729-6)
In Nazi-occupied Europe, fourteen-year-old Jutka dreams of the Canada she has seen in a book, but before her family can flee to safety, the Nazis invade Hungary and Jutka and her family are sent to Auschwitz. There she engages in a daily battle for survival while never relinquishing her dream of one day making it to Canada.
Children’s Literature – Illustration
Wallace Edwards, Yarker (ON), for The Painted Circus
(Kids Can Press; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 978-1-55337-720-7)
Wallace Edwards’ The Painted Circus both charms and astonishes with its ingenious, detailed, colourful and excellently rendered picture puzzles. The viewer becomes a participant in the effort to solve the book’s complex mysteries.
Joanne Fitzgerald, Orton (ON), for The Blue Hippopotamus, text by Phoebe Gilman based on a story by Joan Grant
(North Winds Press, an imprint of Scholastic Canada; distributed by Scholastic Canada) (ISBN 978-0-439-95260-6)
Joanne Fitzgerald’s beguiling, warmly-toned and decorative series of illustrations perfectly reflects the text, helps it to tell its story, and displays the artist’s painstaking research, as well as her efforts – both in her use of colour and in her choice of detail – to accurately render the ancient setting of this tale.
Jirina Marton, Toronto, for Marja’s Skis, text by Jean E. Pendziwol
(Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88899-674-9)
Jirina Marton’s vivid, painterly illustrations expertly and touchingly create both of the moods required by the text – the chill, snowy, shadowy exteriors of the winter scenes, and the warm, lamp-lit interiors.
Dušan Petričić, Toronto, for My New Shirt, text by Cary Fagan
(Published by Tundra Books; distributed by Random House of Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88776-715-9)
Dušan Petričić’s humorous, dynamic and vividly expressive pictures perfectly complement the text of My New Shirt. The device of arranging the illustrations as a series of snapshots allows the figures to move as in a flip book, and the colour choices – both subdued and vibrant – are an unusual technique for portraying the realistic but comic events of the story.
Duncan Weller, Thunder Bay (ON), for The Boy from the Sun
(Simply Read Books; distributed by Publishers Group Canada / Raincoast Business Services) (ISBN 978-0894965-33-0)
Duncan Weller’s The Boy from the Sun, with its striking mix of techniques, lures the unsuspecting reader away from a dark, gloomy and featureless industrial-urban milieu into a brilliantly coloured alternative world of light, colour and hope.
Translation (from French to English)
Sheila Fischman, Montreal, for My Sister’s Blue Eyes
(Cormorant Books; distributed by University of Toronto Press) (ISBN 978-1-89715-05-1)
English translation of Les Yeux bleus de Mistassini by Jacques Poulin (Leméac Éditeur / Actes Sud)
Sheila Fischman maintains the author’s playful style and skillfully renders the ordinariness and vulnerabilities of Poulin’s intensely human characters in their search for fulfillment. Her translation brings to life their obsession with the hidden voices of language and poetry.
Robert Majzels, Calgary, and Erín Moure, Montreal, for Notebook of Roses and Civilization
(Coach House Books; distributed by LitDistCo) (ISBN 978-1-55245-181-6)
English translation of Cahier de roses & de civilisation by Nicole Brossard (Éditions d’art Le Sabord)
The poets Robert Majzels and Erín Moure have recreated in English the delicacy and range of Nicole Brossard’s poetry. Their translation evokes the search for beauty and the anger at human folly that underlie the work, and resonates with the sound and rhythm of the original.
Rhonda Mullins, Montreal, for The Decline of the Hollywood Empire
(Talonbooks; distributed by Publisher Group Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88922-545-9)
English translation of Le déclin de l’empire hollywoodien by Hervé Fischer (VLB éditeur, a division of groupe Ville-Marie Littérature)
This engaging and creative translation by Rhonda Mullins offers the reader an irreverent and insightful overview of one of the central institutions of popular culture. She deftly balances the author’s humorous, distinctly readable style with a wealth of information about the Hollywood empire.
John Murrell, Calgary, for Carole Fréchette: Two Plays: John and Beatrice; Helen’s Necklace
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 978-0-88754-501-6)
English translation of Jean et Béatrice ( Leméac Éditeur / Actes Sud) and Le collier d’Hélène (Lansman Éditeur) by Carole Fréchette
John Murrell’s translations, John and Beatrice and Helen’s Necklace, capture the emotional immediacy and theatrical impact of the plays with brilliant elegance. He succeeds in preserving the uniqueness of their imagination while highlighting their relevance to our time.
Nigel Spencer, Montreal, for Augustino and the Choir of Destruction
(House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada) (ISBN 978-0-88784-752-3)
English translation of Augustino et le choeur de la destruction by Marie-Claire Blais (Les Éditions du Boréal)
Nigel Spencer conveys the compelling spirit of Marie-Claire Blais’ dizzying prose in this fictional microcosm of our disjointed times. His translation carries the reader along through the claustrophobic whirl and conflicting relations of a phantasmagoric world.
Esther Croft, Quebec City, for Le reste du temps
(XYZ éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89261-480-0)
This is a collection in which the author never resorts to artifice and constantly expresses the inexpressible. Poignant and pitiless, bereft of any sentimentality, the stories are filled with an incredible tenderness.
Robert Lalonde, Montreal, for Espèces en voie de disparition
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-7646-0517-2)
In this collection, Robert Lalonde demonstrates yet again his humanity and compassion. The relationships between the characters always ring true.
Anthony Phelps, Montreal, for La contrainte de l’inachevé
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-7609-3279-1)
In this intense novel full of poetry and a terrifying lucidity, personal memory is woven into the history of a nation, and the political and the sensual take turns in telling the tale.
Hélène Rioux, Montreal, for Mercredi soir au Bout du monde
(XYZ éditeur; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89261-491-6)
Everything holds together beautifully in this novel by Hélène Rioux, even though each chapter has its own style, voice and character, making each a complete piece in an anthology.
Sylvain Trudel, Quebec City, for La mer de la tranquillité
(Les Éditions Les Allusifs; distributed by Gallimard/Socadis) (ISBN 978-2-9228-6846-3)
The nine stories in this collection are carried by a refined sensibility and fortuitous use of language that illuminate the distress of the human condition.
Martine Audet, Montreal, for Les manivelles
(Éditions de l’Hexagone, a division of Ville-Marie Littérature; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 978-0-89006-784-4)
Here is a collection of words like wounds, born of the urgency to speak, which, in a single breath, confronts us simultaneously with our interior force and our inevitable downfall. This is sensitive poetry where each word is essential; a hand outstretched toward life and death, sustained by an audacious textual architecture.
Mario Brassard, Montreal, for La somme des vents contraires
(Éditions Les Herbes rouges; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89419-251-1)
In a voice that is both strong and soft, the author weighs the possibilities of our explorations of ourselves and of language, when there are always challenges in the way, defying the person and the poem. The vents contraires are at the source of writing whose structure attains new heights.
Catherine Fortin, St-Jean-Port-Joli (QC), for Le silence est une voie navigable
(Éditions du Noroît; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89018-602-6)
This touching and intimate poetry, born in the silence of time, finds its fluidity in the irreversible flow of that river that is life itself. Night, the wind, the sun and time are the elements that carry us onto the shores of the author’s continent du langage.
Rino Morin Rossignol, Montreal, for Intifada du cœur
(Édition Perce-Neige; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-922992-30-6)
This book initiates a bittersweet reflection on time, youth and love. With delicate sensuality, it approaches these existential issues in dense and sumptuous language. The deft and graceful writing describes the passages that have shaped enchanted memories.
Serge Patrice Thibodeau, Moncton, for Seul on est
(Éditions Perce-Neige; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-922992-33-5)
Both the delight and the disillusionment of the poet are laid out in the broad light of day, together with the gentle evocation of life being lived. We are in the presence here of poetic discipline, a conscious construction that tames the natural élan of its composing; the constraints of the structure present a wordplay that is skillfully mastered by the author.
Daniel Danis, St-David-de-Falardeau (QC), for Le chant du Dire-Dire
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-7609-0402-6)
Le chant du Dire-Dire is a language born of the body, a powerful voice that draws upon the mythology of our childhoods.
Sébastien Harrisson, Montreal, for Floes et D’Alaska (suite nordique)
(Dramaturges Éditeurs; distbributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-922182-90-3)
The two texts Floes and D’Alaska echo each other in a dialogue on the rejection of resignation. Together they are an audacious and delicate ode to difference.
Steve Laplante, Montreal, for Le Long de la Principale
(Dramaturges Éditeurs; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-922182-75-0)
With this text, Steve Laplante broaches the theme of mourning and wandering in an entirely unexpected way, singular, caustic and tender. He transforms the Quebec vernacular into a language that is theatrical, incisive and rhythmic.
Suzanne Lebeau, Montreal, for Souliers de sable
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-7609-0398-2)
This children’s play by Suzanne Lebeau is a gem of poetic concision and sensorial intelligence that addresses the child in all of us. This is an enchanting fable.
Wajdi Mouawad, Montreal, with the collaboration of Benoît Vermeulen, for Assoiffés
(Leméac Éditeur/Actes Sud; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-7609-2639-4)
The cry of an adolescent in a quest for the absolute, this is the work of an author who has a gift for language and an affective depth, and who transforms into legal fiction the inner quest of a parched youth.
Roland Bourneuf, Cap-Rouge (QC), for Pierres de touche
(Les Éditions L’instant même; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89502-240-4)
Tracing the intellectual journey of an author through his favourite books, Pierres de touche captures the intimate echoes and resonances of a life shaped by reading. The personal tone paints a clear picture of the author, for whom literature is an essential part of life.
Michel Cormier, Beijing, People’s Republic of China, (originally from New Brunswick), for La Russie des illusions: Regard d’un correspondant
(Leméac Éditeur; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-7609-1212-0)
Michel Cormier takes a compassionate look at contemporary Russia, its people and its paradoxes. The work is characterized by an intensely personal investment, a voice that rings true and writing that achieves a breadth beyond the journalistic style of reporting.
Denise Brassard, Montreal, for Le souffle du passage: Poésie et essai chez Fernand Ouellette
(VLB éditeur, a division of Ville-Marie Littérature; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 978-2-89005-967-2)
Remarkably written and grounded in a wealth of culture, this is a detailed portrait of the literary development of Fernand Ouellette. It shows how his writing derived its vitality and inspiration from the combined practice of two literary genres, poetry and non-fiction, that nourished one another.
André Cellard, Ripon (QC), and Marie-Claude Thifault, Rouyn-Noranda (QC), for Une toupie sur la tête: Visages de la folie à Saint-Jean-de-Dieu
(Les Éditions du Boréal; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-7646-0504-2)
Conjugating historical exactitude and compassion, using archival sources in a uniquely creative way, the authors have shaped a reconstruction of life in the asylum of Saint-Jean-de-Dieu. This extremely well-written book traces the tragic destiny of thousands of lives broken by mental illness.
Annette Hayward, Kingston, for La querelle du régionalisme au Québec (1904-1931): Vers l’autonomisation de la littérature québécoise
(Éditions du Nordir; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-89531-049-5)
This work marks a significant step in studies on the literature of Quebec in the first half of the twentieth century. With a rigorous approach and a precise, elegant style, the author allows us to relive a major episode in the literary life of Quebec.
Children’s Literature – Text
François Barcelo, St-Antoine-sur-Richelieu (QC), for La fatigante et le fainéant
(Soulières éditeur; Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 978-2-89607-043-5)
This simple and touching story brings us into the heart of an intergenerational discovery. Opposites attract and interact in a convergence of voices presented with exceptional finesse and stylistic mastery. This is a universal story set in a contemporary context.
Sophie Gironnay, Montreal, for Philou, architecte et associés
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89540-303-6)
Philou wants to build a cabin. What he doesn’t yet realize is that this project is above all going to allow him to build himself. By using the language of architecture, Sophie Gironnay has created a multidisciplinary story that is imaginative and moving, and reaches out to all ages. This is the work of a true novelist, contending with the rigours of apprenticeship and the essence of life.
André Leblanc, Montreal, for L’envers de la chanson: Des enfants au travail 1850-1950
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89540-306-7)
This historical document features snatches of popular songs combined with fascinating photos from the period in a vibrant narrative counterpoint that sheds light on the vicissitudes of child labour. Short texts, information capsules and above all eloquent images encourage reflection and report on a little-known phenomenon of our history.
Sylvain Meunier, Longueuil (QC), for Piercings sanglants
(Les éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 978-2-89021-903-8)
The author takes the mythical figure of the vampire and adapts it to suit the style of contemporary teens. His finely honed writing, both in terms of image and of the emotions evoked, translates the dilemma of the two heroes, Léa and Adrian, confronting adulthood and immortality simultaneously. Piercings sanglants is a daring alliance of style and form, life’s blood and the powers of fate.
Hélène Vachon, Quebec City, for Les saisons vues par Schouster
(Éditions FouLire; distributed by Prologue) (ISBN 978-2-89591-030-5)
It’s no mean feat to tackle non-fiction for children’s literature. This book by Hélène Vachon, literary in accordance with the demands of the genre, succeeds in captivating us with a subject as simple as the seasons. Humour and realism coexist harmoniously, and the images are original and unexpected throughout.
Children’s Literature – Illustration
Stéphane-Yves Barroux, Paris, France (originally from Montreal), for Superbricoleur: Le roi de la clef à molette.
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89540-319-7)
Superbricoleur is a touching tale, powerfully illustrated. The resolutely graphic approach and combination of solid colours, collages and delicate pencil strokes successfully construct a tender and virile atmosphere for this story of the relationship between a father and son.
Geneviève Côté, Montreal, for La petite rapporteuse de mots, text by Danielle Simard
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89540-148-3)
This is an exquisitely sensitive and refined book. The subtle colours and fine, scattered lines of the illustrations echo the painfully tender relationship between a little girl who is bursting with words and her grandmother, who is losing her own ability to speak. The intangible reality of aging is illustrated with a wonderfully delicate touch.
Manon Gauthier, Montreal, for Ma maman du photomaton, text by Yves Nadon
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89540-185-8)
The difficult subject of the death of a parent is treated with emotion and tenderness. The various illustrative techniques are applied with wonderful freedom, and the result is a book filled with melancholy, whose tones are somber yet touched with hope.
Caroline Merola, Montreal, for Une nuit en ville
(Les éditions Les 400 coups; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89540-261-9)
Caroline Merola takes us on a fabulous nocturnal journey in the city, with surprising imagery, remarkable lighting effects and rich colours. An effective and forceful narrative and well-drawn characters provide strong support for the story.
Daniel Sylvestre, Montreal, for Ma vie de reptile, text by Sylvie Massicotte
(Les éditions de la courte échelle; distributed by Diffusion du livre Mirabel) (ISBN 978-2-89021-876-5)
An illustrated novel that stands out from the rest. The tone, the approach, the sensitivity and the supple construction make for a brilliant and highly artistic work, in perfect harmony with the character of the protagonist.
Translation (from English to French)
Suzanne Anfossi, Montreal, for Trudeau: Citoyen du monde, tome 1: 1919-1968
(Les Éditions de l’Homme, a division of Groupe Sogides, subsidiary of Groupe Livre Quebecor Média; distributed by Les Messageries ADP) (ISBN 978-2-7619-2083-4)
French translation of Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968, by John English (Alfred A. Knopf Canada, a division of Random House of Canada).
We are won over by the fluidity and lively tone of the translation. The large number of quotations from a wide array of sources is one of the major difficulties that the translator has skillfully overcome.
Marie Frankland, Montreal, for La chaise berçante
(Éditions du Noroît; distributed by Diffusion Dimedia) (ISBN 978-2-89018-581-4)
French translation of The Rocking Chair by A.M. Klein (Ryerson Press)
The translator has produced a poetic work through an inventive transposition of the images and sounds that characterize the world of A.M. Klein. She has succeeded with a work that resonates with the sensibility of the poet.
Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, Montreal, for Dernières notes
(Les éditions Les Allusifs; distributed by Gallimard/Socadis) (ISBN 978-2-9228-6843-2)
French translation of Last Notes and Other Stories by Tamas Dobozy (HarperCollins Publishers).
The translators have rendered the intimate, touching language of the author in a sober, simple style. The voice remains familiar despite the strange worlds into which we are transported.
Claudine Vivier, Saint-André-Avellin (QC), for Pas l’ombre d’une trace
(Éditions Hurtubise HMH; distributed by the publisher) (ISBN 978-2-89428-899-3)
French translation of Not a Trace by Norah McClintock (Scholastic Canada)
The translation succeeds in captivating us just as much as the original. We forget we are reading a translation; this is an easily read, engaging work with a light and natural style and convincing dialogue.
Sophie Voillot, Montreal, for La fin de l’alphabet
(Éditions Alto; distributed by Socadis) (ISBN 978-2-923550-07-7)
French translation of The End of the Alphabet by C. S. Richardson (Doubleday Canada, a division of Random House of Canada)
For this novel in the form of short vignettes, the translator has invented a poetic style adapted to the originality of the English idyll. The rhythm and poetry of the French version work well in rendering the text.
The finalists of the Governor General’s Literary Awards are chosen by independent juries (seven English and seven French categories) appointed by the Canada Council. The juries, which meet separately, consider all eligible books published between September 1, 2006 and September 30, 2007 for English-language books and between July 1, 2006 and June 30, 2007 for French-language books. This year, a total of 1,417 titles, 836 in the English-language categories and 581 in the French-language categories, were submitted.
Fiction: Austin Clarke (Toronto), Eden Robinson (Haisla, BC), Rudy Wiebe (Edmonton)
Poetry: Lillian Allen (Toronto), Christian Bök (Calgary), Christopher Dewdney (Toronto)
Drama: Alanis King (Saskatoon), Daniel MacIvor (Halifax), Joan MacLeod (Victoria)
Non-fiction: Michael Bliss (Toronto), Afua Cooper (Toronto), Maggie Siggins (Regina)
Children’s Literature – Text: Deirdre Kessler (Charlottetown), Pamela Porter (Sydney, BC), Simon Rose (Calgary)
Children’s Literature – Illustration: Margaret Atwood (Toronto), Michael Martchenko (Toronto), Ludmila Zeman (Montreal)
Translation: Jo-Anne Elder (Fredericton), Louise Forsyth (Calgary), Hugh Hazelton (Montreal)
Fiction: Anne Dandurand (Montreal), Pierre Karch (Toronto), Monique Proulx (Montreal)
Poetry: Beddiari (Montreal), Tania Langlais (Montreal), Michel Thérien (Ottawa)
Drama: Louise Bombardier (Montreal), Antonine Maillet (Bouctouche, NB), Francis Monty (Montreal)
Non-fiction: Georges Anglade (Montreal), Jean Morency (Moncton), Louise Prescott (Montreal)
Children’s Literature – Text: Anne Legault (Verdun, QC), Daniel Marchildon (Penetang, ON), Jean Sioui (Wendake, QC)
Children’s Literature – Illustration: Isabelle Beaudin (Ottawa), Leanne Franson (Montreal), Pierre Pratt (Montreal)
Translation: Yolande Amzallag (Hampstead, QC), Annie Brisset (Ottawa), Robert Paquin (Montreal)
Bookmark these dates!
Monday, October 22, 8 p.m. – Reading at the International Festival of Authors
- The English-language fiction finalists will read from their shortlisted books as part of the International Festival of Authors at the Premiere Dance Theatre, Harbourfront Centre in Toronto.
- For more information about the reading, contact Becky Toyne, IFOA publicist,
at 416-973-5836 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Thursday, November 15, 7 p.m. – Salon du livre de Montréal
- In honour of the Canada Council’s 50th anniversary, as well as the 30th anniversary of the Salon du livre de Montréal, the Canada Council will hold a special reading featuring the GGLA French-language fiction finalists, hosted by BMO Financial Group. The reading will take place at Salon, in Place Bonaventure. It will be immediately followed by a reception at the Canada Council’s booth.
Tuesday, November 27, 10 a.m. – Announcement of winners
- All winners, English- and French-language, will be announced at La Grande Bibliothèque de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, 475 de Maisonneuve Blvd. E., Montreal
- The winners will speak at the news conference and will be available for in-person and telephone interviews immediately following the announcement.
- The list of winners, downloadable photographs and biographical information will be posted on the Canada Council’s web site – www.canadacouncil.ca – as of 11 a.m. EST on November 27.
Wednesday, December 12, 7 p.m. – Public reading by all Award winners
- Reading by the winners of the 2007 Awards in the Library and Archives Canada Auditorium (395 Wellington St., Ottawa).
- Copies of the winning books will be on sale, and the winners will be available to sign their books immediately following the reading.
- For information about the reading, contact Library and Archives Canada, 613-996-5115.
Thursday, December 13, 6 p.m. – Awards presentation at Rideau Hall
- Her Excellency the Right Honourable Michaëlle Jean, Governor General of Canada, will present the 2007 Literary Awards.
- The awards presentation will be followed by a reception, dinner and entertainment (by invitation only).
- Media representatives wishing to cover the awards presentation should contact
Marie-Ève Letourneau at the Rideau Hall Press Office, 613-998-0287 or email@example.com.
Interviews with authors:
In Montreal (English-language):