Governor General's Literary Awards·Chaos & Control

New original writing from the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award winners

Joel Thomas Hynes, Cherie Dimaline, Oana Avasilichioaei, Richard Harrison, David A. Robertson and Hiro Kanagawa ponder what happens when chaos seems to envelop our lives.

A special series brought to you in partnership with the Canada Council

Chaos & Control is a special series from the 2017 winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards. (Illustration by Ben Shannon)

CBC Books asked the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award winners to answer the question: "When chaos seems to envelop our lives, how do we regain our footing? In our pursuit of greater control, what meaning or understanding do we unintentionally uncover?"

Six winners responded  — one with poetry, others with short stories and some delivered essays. This is Chaos & Control, a special series presented in partnership with the Canada Council for the Arts. Read on for links to each of the winners' pieces.

On Dec. 7, 2017 at 9 p.m. (9:30 p.m. NT), listen to a special episode on this series from CBC Radio's Ideas, featuring Cherie Dimaline, Oana Avasilichioaei, Hiro Kanagawa and Richard Harrison. If you miss the broadcast, you can stream the episode online here.

If you do come to stay by Joel Thomas Hynes

(Illustration by Ben Shannon)

In If you do come to stayJoel Thomas Hynes leaves a poetic note for a friend coming to stay at his home in Trinity South, N.L.

Hynes won the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction for his novel We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night.

After 'While by Cherie Dimaline

(Illustration by Ben Shannon)

After 'Whilea short story by Cherie Dimaline, features a young, imaginative girl named Lucky who craves her mother's attention.

Dimaline won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text for her novel The Marrow Thieves.

It is to that bedside I go by Richard Harrison

(Illustration by Ben Shannon)

It is to that bedside I go is a personal essay by Richard Harrison about being by his mother's side as she died.

Harrison won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry for On Not Losing My Father's Ashes in the Flood.

Okay by David A. Robertson

(Illustration by Ben Shannon)

In David A, Robertson's short story Okay, a woman anxious about what the future holds receives comfort and advice from her moshom.

Robertson won the Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — illustrated books for When We Were Aloneillustrated by Julie Flett.

Chaotics by Oana Avasilichioaei

(Illustration by Ben Shannon)

Chaoticsa poetic essay by Oana Avasilichioaei, examines how small acts of language can create a ripple effect far beyond our imagining or intention.

Avasilichioaei won the Governor General's Literary Award for translation for the book Readopolisoriginally written in French by Bertrand Laverdure.

The Tower by Hiro Kanagawa

(Illustration by Ben Shannon)

In the essay The Tower, Hiro Kanagawa writes about a time he feared for his son's health.

Kanagawa won the Governor General's Literary Award for drama for Indian Arm.


To encourage thoughtful and respectful conversations, first and last names will appear with each submission to CBC/Radio-Canada's online communities (except in children and youth-oriented communities). Pseudonyms will no longer be permitted.

By submitting a comment, you accept that CBC has the right to reproduce and publish that comment in whole or in part, in any manner CBC chooses. Please note that CBC does not endorse the opinions expressed in comments. Comments on this story are moderated according to our Submission Guidelines. Comments are welcome while open. We reserve the right to close comments at any time.

Become a CBC Member

Join the conversation  Create account

Already have an account?