David Gilmour — A Perfect Night to Go to China
(Thomas Allen Publishers, a division of Thomas Allen & Son; distributed by the publisher)
David Gilmour is a novelist and journalist. He has written five previous novels, including Sparrow Nights, Lost Between Houses and Back on Tuesday. His work has earned widespread praise, including from William Burroughs, The New York Times and People magazine. Gilmour has long been a fixture on Canadian television: as a film critic for CBC’s The Journal and The National; as host of the award-winning Gilmour on the Arts and, most recently, as the weekend host for the Documentary Channel. He lives in Toronto.
A Perfect Night to Go to China is a melding of emotional power and narrative ingenuity. Written with the controlled technique of a mature artist, it is imbued with the tension of a suppressed sob.
John Vaillant — 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 is a journalist who has written for The New Yorker, The Atlantic, National Geographic–Adventure, Outside and Men’s Journal. The Golden Spruce is Vaillant’s first book and has been compared to the works of Jon Krakauer and Sebastian Junger. Combining history, politics, psychology and West Coast ecology, The Golden Spruce (the story first appeared in The New Yorker in 2002) is a dramatic account of a disgruntled logger’s destruction of a legendary tree in the Queen Charlotte Islands. John Vaillant lives in Vancouver.
A stark and hypnotic story about a maverick logger and an iconic 300-year-old tree on the Queen Charlotte Islands, The Golden Spruce is a multi-layered tale that both rebukes and questions Canada’s management of its forests. Meditative and powerful, this book is both a mystery and a lament about greed and the Canadian character.
Anne Compton — Processional
(Fitzhenry & Whiteside; distributed by the publisher)
Anne Compton is a poet, critic and anthologist. Born and raised on Prince Edward Island, she currently teaches literature and creative writing at the University of New Brunswick in Saint John. The author of A.J.M. Smith: Canadian Metaphysical and numerous critical essays, she has also published one other collection of poetry, Opening the Island, and a collection of Milton Acorn’s poetry, The Edge of Home. In 2002, she co-edited the anthology, Coastlines: The Poetry of Atlantic Canada. Anne Compton lives in Rothesay, N.B.
Anne Compton’s voice is unique – at once passionate and refined. Her poems slip into one’s consciousness, a felt presence in a quiet room. Processional is a deft and remarkable achievement.
John Mighton — Half Life
(Playwrights Canada Press; distributed by the publisher)
John Mighton has won the Dora, Chalmers and Governor General’s Awards for his plays, which include The Little Years, Body and Soul, Scientific Americans, Possible Worlds and A Short History of Night. The latter two plays won the GG in 1992 and Possible Worlds was made into a feature film by Robert Lepage. Mighton has a Ph.D. in mathematics (University of Toronto) and has lectured in philosophy at McMaster. In 1998, he developed JUMP, a program for school children experiencing difficulty in math; its success inspired his best-selling book The Myth of Ability. In October 2005 he won the $100,000 Siminovitch Prize in Theatre for his body of work. John Mighton lives in Toronto.
This profoundly moving love story portrays the relationship between two nursing-home residents in a way that is unique, enlightened and virtually flawless. A play about remembering, about forgetting and ultimately about hope, Half Life holds up a mirror to all of us, who will one day face old age. A theatrical masterpiece that is an important addition to the Canadian canon.
Children's Literature (Text)
Pamela Porter — The Crazy Man
(Groundwood Books / House of Anansi Press; distributed by HarperCollins Canada)
(ISBN 0-88899-694-2, bound / 0-88899-695-0, paper)
Pamela Porter is a poet and novelist. The Crazy Man is her second novel for children; her first, Sky, was published in 2004. Her poetry has appeared in literary magazines in Canada and the U.S. Born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, she lived in Texas, Louisiana, Washington and Montana before immigrating to Canada with her husband. She has a Master of Fine Arts in creative writing from the University of Montana. The Crazy Man was inspired by stories she heard from her husband’s family, who have a farm near Weyburn, Saskatchewan. Pamela Porter lives in Sidney, B.C.
Written in prose-poetry that is as spare as the Saskatchewan prairie and yet rich in its yield of what matters – understanding, forgiveness, friendship and a faithful dog – Pamela Porter’s The Crazy Man is impossible to put down..
Children's Literature (Illustration)
Rob Gonsalves — Imagine a Day (by Sarah L. Thomson)
(Atheneum Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Simon & Schuster; distributed by Simon & Schuster Canada)
Rob Gonsalves studied at the Ryerson Polytechnic Institute and the Ontario College of Art. He worked as an architect following graduation, while also painting trompe l’oeil murals and theatre sets in his spare time. After an enthusiastic response to his work at the 1990 Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition, he devoted himself to painting full time. Gonsalves has exhibited widely and his work is found in numerous collections. Imagine a Day follows the successful Imagine a Night, his first hardcover book and a GG finalist in 2003. Born in Toronto, he now lives in Mallorytown, Ontario.
Imagine a book in which anything can happen, in which a normal day can be transformed into a fantastic flight of fancy. Rob Gonsalves’ remarkable surreal paintings let the imagination run wild and will have readers young and old going back again and again.
Fred A. Reed — Truth or Death: The Quest for Immortality in the Western Narrative Tradition (by Thierry Hentsch)
(Talonbooks; distributed by Publishers Group Canada)
English translation of Raconter et mourir : aux sources narratives de l’imaginaire occidental, by Thierry Hentsch
(Les Presses de l’Université de Montréal)
Fred A. Reed is a journalist and award-winning translator. He has won two previous Governor General’s Literary Awards in translation — for Imagining the Middle East (1992) and Fairy Ring (2001, with David Homel). He is a five-time finalist. He has translated Nikos Kazantzakis (Journey to the Morea) and is the author of Persian Postcards: Iran after Khomeini (1994) and Takeover in Tehran: The Inside Story of the 1979 U.S. Embassy Takeover (2000). He has written for Maclean’s, The Globe and Mail, Le Devoir, La Presse and the CBC. Fred A. Reed lives in Montreal.
This is an eminently readable translation of Thierry Hentsch’s book, which awakens in us a desire to return to the great literary classics of western civilization and see them with fresh eyes. Thanks to his breadth of knowledge and superb command of language, Fred A. Reed has demonstrated the very story-telling skills celebrated in the original text.
Biographical notes on French-language winners
Aki Shimazaki — Hotaru
Born in Gifu, Japan, Aki Shimazaki taught pre-school before immigrating to Canada in 1981. After living in Vancouver and Toronto, she settled in Montreal, studied French, and began to write novels in that language. Her rapid mastery of the subtleties of the language and her graceful style were immediately acclaimed. Her first novel, Tsubaki, has been translated into five languages. Her second, Hamaguri, won the Prix Ringuet from the Académie des lettres du Québec; her fourth, Wasurenagusa, received the Canada-Japan Literary Award from the Canada Council. With Hotaru, Aki Shimazaki brings the cycle of five books on the Horibe and Takahashi families to a fitting conclusion, winning the most prestigious literary award in Canada.
Michel Bock — Quand la nation débordait les frontières : les minorités françaises dans la pensée de Lionel Groulx
In his studies at Laurentian University, Lyon II (en France ) and the University of Ottawa, Michel Bock was enriched by history, and today he is returning the favour. His fields of research include the history of French Canada, intellectual history and the history of relations between Quebec and French-language minorities. His research projects have been supported by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada and the Ontario Graduate Fellowship Program. This historian from Sudbury has published in the Revue d’histoire de l’Amérique française, Francophonies d’Amérique and the Revue du Nouvel-Ontario, and written a work on the evolving discourse on identity in the Franco-Ontarian community of Sudbury, Comment un peuple oublie son nom. Michel Bock currently teaches history at the University of Ottawa and lives in the nation’s capital.
Jean-Marc Desgent — Vingtièmes siècles
Poet, novelist and critic Jean-Marc Desgent studied literature and anthropology, was a printer for a number of years, and since 1978 has taught at Collège Édouard-Montpetit. Over the past 30 years he has written 20 books and numerous articles for periodicals in France, Belgium and Quebec. He has won the Grand Prix du Festival International de la Poésie twice — most recently in 2005, for Vingtièmes siècles — and was the winner of the Prix Rina-Lasnier in 2000 and the Prix Félix-Antoine-Savard in 2002. Recently, a critic wrote that the work of Jean-Marc Desgent counts among the most moving and prophetic poetry in Quebec today; his Governor General’s Award this year is further confirmation of this. Jean-Marc Desgent lives in Longueuil, Quebec.
Geneviève Billette — Le Pays des genoux
A finalist for the Governor General’s Award in 2000 for Crime contre l’humanité, and the 2001 winner of the creativity award of the Fonds Gratien-Gélinas and the Louise-LaHaye bursary for Le Pays des genoux, Geneviève Billette has made a strong impression from the start. Her play for young audiences, Le Pays des genoux, has been acclaimed in Quebec and in France, where it was presented with great success at the Festival Méli’Môme in Reims. A graduate of the Université de Montréal and the National Theatre School of Canada, this young playwright writes for radio as well as for the stage, and is the author of the radio play De la barbe à la queue, je suis délicieux. Geneviève Billette is a member of the board of the Centre d’essai des auteurs dramatiques. She lives in Montreal.
Children’s literature (Text)
Camille Bouchard — Le ricanement des hyènes
Camille Bouchard is a versatile talent. A journalist, graphic art director, teacher and production director, he has honed his skills in comics, film, television, theatre and literature. As early as 1984, Télé-Québec (Radio-Québec at the time) produced a half-hour program on his work. A contributor to the periodical Alibis and the author of numerous novels for adults and youth, he recently won the Mr. Christie’s Book Award silver seal for Des étoiles sur notre maison. The library of his native town of Forestville has been named after him. Camille Bouchard is very conscious of the disparities of our world, and sponsors many underprivileged children in developing countries, as well as integrating their stories and situations into his literary work. This world traveler lives in Quebec City.
Children’s literature (Illustration)
Isabelle Arsenault — Le cœur de monsieur Gauguin (by Marie-Danielle Croteau)
After earning a degree in graphic design from the Université de Québec à Montréal, Isabelle Arsenault turned to illustration, and the originality of her work quickly captured the attention of the arts community. The young illustrator has been singled out in several major competitions, including those of Applied Arts, Communication Arts, Lux, American Illustration and Grafika, which named her illustrator of the year for 2005. While her primary focus is editorial illustration for American and Canadian magazines and newspapers, Isabelle Arsenault is eager to branch out into other facets of the craft: she has worked on comic anthologies for Éditions de la Pastèque, including Spoutnik 5. With Le cœur de monsieur Gauguin, she has produced her first illustrations for a children’s book. Her efforts have earned her the Grand Prix LUX 2005 in the illustration category along with the Governor General’s Award. Isabelle Arsenault lives in Montreal.
Rachel Martinez — Glenn Gould : une vie (by Kevin Bazzana)
The work of Rachel Martinez is closely tied to the arts. Prior to becoming a freelance translator in 1999, the multilingual translator and editor was a consultant in a major public relations firm and communications director at the National Theatre School of Canada. She has a B.A. from McGill University and a certificate in translation from the Université de Montréal; she is currently doing graduate studies in translation at McGill. Rachel Martinez is active in the arts community, and is a member of the board of Journées de la culture. This is her first published literary translation. Rachel Martinez lives in Quebec City.