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Winnipeg poet wins Governor General's Award

Vermette's debut collection North End Love Songs takes us on a journey through Winnipeg's North end where she grew up, and where she returned to live as an adult.
Winnipeg poet Katherena Vermette wins the 2013 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry. (Lisa D. Meiler)

Winnipeg poet Katherena Vermette has won the Governor General's Literary Award for Poetry.

Vermette's debut collection North End Love Songs takes us on a journey through Winnipeg's North End where she grew up, and where she returned to live as an adult.

Vermette also drew inspiration from her brother's disappearance, and she wrote to a soundtrack of heavy-metal ballads from the late 80s and early 90s.

Vermette said she's thrilled by the news. "When I found out, I was in complete disbelief. I felt cold. I was literally shaking," she admitted. "I've been calling it a blessed shock. My friend was telling me that our body reacts to shock whether it's good or bad."

Vermette says the GG is something that every writer strives for. "Particularly in poetry the GG is the highest award in Canada," she explained. "It's the shining star in a very big sky."

When asked if she writes more than poetry, Vermette laughs. "I'm not just a poet, but a poet at heart. This was a goal of mine and I'm not sure what's next," she explained.

Vermette is an active member of the Indigenous Writer's Collective of Manitoba. She has a children's book coming out next year and she is working on a collection of short stories.

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