Books

Chantal Gibson, Heather Birrell, Roxanna Bennett & Charlie C Petch winners of top Canadian poetry prizes

The annual League of Canadian Poets Awards recognize the best in Canadian poetry. Each of the winning poets will receive $2,000.
Chantal Gibson, Heather Birrell, Roxanna Bennett and Charlie C Petch are the winners of the 2020 League of Canadian Poets Awards. (Chantal Gibson, heatherbirrell.com, roxanna-bennett.squarespace.com, charliecpetch.com)

Chantal Gibson's How She Read, Heather Birrell's Float and Scurry, Roxanna Bennett's unmeaningable and spoken word poet Charlie C Petch are the winners of the 2020 League of Canadian Poets Awards.

The annual prizes award $2,000 to each of their winners.

Gibson received the Pat Lowther Memorial Award, which is given to the year's best work of poetry by a Canadian woman.

Gibson's debut collection How She Read gathers genre-blurring poems about the representation of black women in Canada. The book is also shortlisted for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Birrell won the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award, which is given to the year's best debut book of poetry.

Birrell's Float and Scurry features the surreal arrivals of characters like Mr. T, Joni Mitchell, Fidel Castro and her mother. The book explores the pursuit of writing, libraries, well-meaning friends and family and the death of the planet with humour and heart.

Bennett received the Raymond Souster Award, which is given to the year's best poetry book by a member of the League of Canadian Poets.

The Whitby, Ont.-based poet's book unmeaningable casts a satirical eye on an ableist culture that stigmatizes disability and sickness.

Petch was the recipient of the Sheri-D Wilson Golden Beret Award, in recognition of their spoken word poetry. They are also an award-winning playwright and are working on a poetry book that will be published in fall 2021.

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