News Releases - 2009
Governor General’s Literary Awards winning books in space
Ottawa, July 20, 2009 – Canadian astronauts Julie Payette and Robert Thirsk are in space, and so are two Governor General’s Literary Awards (GGLA) winning books: Airborn by Kenneth Oppel (Toronto), published by HarperCollins, and Deux pas vers les étoiles by
Jean-Rock Gaudreault (Longueuil, originally from Saguenay, QC), published by Dramaturges Éditeurs.
At the request of the Canadian Space Agency, the Canada Council for the Arts contributed the books to Robert Thirsk’s official flight kit for his expedition to the International Space Station. Dr. Thirsk brought them in recognition of the fact that he is a descendant of Sir John Buchan, Lord Tweedsmuir of Elsfield, the Governor General who established the Governor General’s Literary Awards in 1936 and author of
The Thirty-Nine Steps.
Authors are over the moon
“I’m so honoured that Robert Thirsk chose to take my novel Airborn with him on his six-month mission,” said Kenneth Oppel. “It’s completely thrilling to think of it in orbit aboard the International Space Station. I’m very proud of Canada’s involvement in the ISS, and the astronauts really do exemplify the best of human cooperation, learning and enterprise. I’m delighted that my book is in such stellar company.”
Kenneth Oppel has written over 20 books and is the best-selling author of Silverwing, Sunwing and Firewing, which have sold over a million copies worldwide and have won numerous awards.
“This is the ultimate voyage,” said Jean-Rock Gaudreault, the 2003 GGLA winner in French Theatre. “Junior, one of the characters in my play, wants to run away to the United States to become an astronaut. Cornelia, a girl of his age, goes along with him, but the train they hope to take does not come by. I feel that Robert Thirsk moves my story forward and helps Junior and Cornelia travel to the stars. This is an unbelievable feeling for me!”
Jean-Rock Gaudreault has written several plays which have been performed more than a thousand times on stage in Canada and abroad. Deux pas vers les étoiles has been translated in English by Linda Gaboriau and is entitled Two Steps from the Stars, published by Playwrights Canada Press.
Downalod images of Dr. Thirsk with Airborn in the ISS, book covers and photos of authors.
Return to Earth
A special ceremony will be held in early 2010 to celebrate the incredible journey and return of the books to Earth. Details will follow closer to the event date.
The Canada Council funds, administers and promotes the Governor General’s Literary Awards. The Governor General presents the award annually to the 14 laureates for their work in the English‑ and French-language categories of fiction, non-fiction, drama, poetry, children’s litterature – text, children’s litterature – illustration and translation. This year’s GGLA finalists will be announced on October 14, 2009 and the 14 winners on November 17, 2009. For more information, visit the GGLA page.
Canada Council for the Arts
The Canada Council for the Arts is a federal Crown corporation created by an Act of Parliament in 1957. The role of the Council is to foster and promote the study and enjoyment of, and the production of works in, the arts. To fulfill this mandate, the Council offers a broad range of grants and services to professional Canadian artists and arts organizations in dance, integrated arts, media arts, music, theatre, visual arts, and writing and publishing. It also promotes public awareness of the arts through its communications, research and arts promotion activities.
The Council administers the Killam Program of scholarly awards, the Governor General’s Literary Awards and the Governor General’s Awards in Visual and Media Arts. The Canadian Commission for UNESCO and the Public Lending Right Commission operate within the Council. The Canada Council Art Bank, which has some 17,310 works of contemporary Canadian art in its collection, rents to the public and private sectors.
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