Francesca Ekwuyasi, Billy-Ray Belcourt & Anne Carson among 2020 Governor General's Literary Awards finalists
The $25,000 prizes recognize the best Canadian books of the year
Francesca Ekwuyasi, Billy-Ray Belcourt and Anne Carson are among the finalists for the 2020 Governor General's Literary Awards.
The prizes, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are awarded in seven English-language categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature — text, young people's literature — illustration, drama and translation. Seven French-language awards are also given out in the same categories.
The 2020 prizes were delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2021 awards will be given out in the fall.
Ekwuyasi, a writer and filmmaker from Halifax, is a finalist in the fiction category for her debut novel, Butter Honey Pig Bread.
Butter Honey Pig Bread is a novel about twin sisters, Kehinde and Taiye, and their mother, Kambirinachi. Kambirinachi believes she was a spirit who was supposed to die as a small child. By staying alive, she is cursing her family — a fear that appears to come true when Kehinde experiences something that tears the family apart, and divides the twins for years. But when the three women connect years later, they must confront their past and find forgiveness.
Also shortlisted in the fiction category is Thomas King for Indians on Vacation, Michelle Good for her debut novel Five Little Indians, Leanne Betasamosake Simpson for Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies and poet Lisa Robertson for her first novel, The Baudelaire Fractal.
Belcourt is a finalist in the nonfiction category for his memoir A History of My Brief Body. He was the youngest-ever winner of the Griffin Poetry Prize. He was also the first First Nations Rhodes scholar from Canada. But he was once a young boy, growing up in Driftpile Cree Nation in Alberta.
Also nominated in the nonfiction category is Amanda Leduc for her examination of fairy tales, Disfigured, Ivan Coyote for their personal essay collection Rebent Sinner, Tessa McWatt for her memoir Shame on Me and Madhur Anand for her memoir This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart.
Carson, one of Canada's most accomplished poets, is a finalist in the poetry category for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy. Norma Jeane Baker of Troy brings together the mythology of Helen of Troy and Marilyn Monroe to explore the power of beauty.
Oana Avasilichioaei, a poet, artist and translator from Montreal, is nominated in two different categories this year. She is a finalist in the poetry category for her poetry collection Eight Track and is a finalist in the translation category for her translation of The Neptune Room by Bertrand Laverdure.
You can see a complete list of the 2020 finalists below.
The winner in each category will receive $25,000.
The winners will be announced on June 1, 2020.
- Butter Honey Pig Bread by Francesca Ekwuyasi
- Five Little Indians by Michelle Good
- Indians on Vacation by Thomas King
- Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies by Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
- The Baudelaire Fractal by Lisa Robertson
- A History of My Brief Body by Billy-Ray Belcourt
- Disfigured by Amanda Leduc
- Rebent Sinner by Ivan Coyote
- Shame on Me by Tessa McWatt
- This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart by Madhur Anand
- Eight Track by Oana Avasilichioaei
- Norma Jeane Baker of Troy by Anne Carson
- Orrery by Donna Kane
- Render by Sachiko Murakami
- The Dyzgraphxst by Canisia Lubrin
- Harvey Holds His Own by Colleen Nelson, illustrated by Tara Anderson
- Nevers by Sara Cassidy
- Pine Island Home by Polly Horvath
- The Barren Grounds by David A. Robertson
- The King of Jam Sandwiches by Eric Walters
- I Talk Like a River by Jordan Scott, illustrated by Sydney Smith
- Our Little Kitchen by Jillian Tamaki
- Swift Fox All Along by Rebecca Thomas, illustrated by Maya McKibbin
- The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers
- Weekend Dad by Naseem Hrab, illustrated by Frank Viva
- bug by Yolanda Bonnell
- Guarded Girls by Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman
- Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story by Kim Senklip Harvey
- Quick Bright Things by Christopher Cook
- Sound of the Beast by Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
- Amaryllis & Little Witch by Pascal Brullemans, translated by Alexis Diamond
- Back Roads by Andrée A. Michaud, translated by J.C. Sutcliffe
- If You Hear Me by Pascale Quiviger, translated by Lazer Lederhendler
- The Country Will Bring Us No Peace by Matthieu Simard, translated by Pablo Strauss
- The Neptune Room by Bertrand Laverdure, translated by Oana Avasilichioaei