Ivan Coyote, David A. Robertson & Julie Flett among finalists for $25K Governor General's Literary Awards
The $25,000 prizes recognize the best Canadian books of the year
Ivan Coyote, David A. Robertson and Julie Flett are among the finalists for the 2021 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 winner in each category will receive $25,000.
Books published between Sept. 1, 2020 and July 31, 2021 were eligible for the 2021 awards.
Coyote is a finalist in the nonfiction category for their essay collection Care Of.
Care Of is a collection of moving correspondence Coyote wrote in the early days of the COVID-19 lockdown, in response to letters and communications they had received, some of which dated back to 2009. The correspondence ranges from personal letters to Facebook messages to notes received after performing onstage.
Coyote is a writer, storyteller and performer from Yukon. Their other books include Tomboy Survival Guide, Rebent Sinner, Gender Failure, One in Every Crowd and the novel Bow Grip. Coyote won the 2020 Freedom to Read Award, in recognition of their body of work that examines class, gender identity and social justice.
LISTEN | Ivan Coyote discusses Care Of with Shelagh Rogers:
Robertson and Flett are nominated in the young people's literature — illustrated books for their picture book On the Trapline. The prize money in this category is split equally between the author and the illustrator.
On the Trapline celebrates Indigenous culture, and fathers and grandfathers, as it tells the generational story of a boy and his grandfather.
David A. Robertson's picture book On the Trapline is a story of Indigenous language, family and empowerment
Robertson is a writer of Swampy Cree heritage based in Winnipeg. His other books the graphic novels Will I See? and Sugar Falls and the graphic novel series the Reckoner, the picture book When We Were Alone, the YA series Misewa Saga and the memoir Black Water.
Flett is a Cree Métis author, illustrator and artist. She has illustrated several picture books, including Little You, My Heart Fills with Happiness, We Sang You Home and Birdsong.
LISTEN | David A. Robertson discusses On the Trapline with Shelagh Rogers:
Other notable finalists include Rachel Cusk, nominated in the fiction category for her novel Second Place; Joe Ollmann, also nominated in the fiction category for his graphic novel Fictional Father; and Hoa Nguyen, nominated in the poetry category for A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure.
CBC Radio host Falen Johnson is nominated in the drama category for her play Two Indians. Johnson hosts The Secret Life of Canada and recently hosted Unreserved.
The winners will be announced on Nov. 17, 2021.
The 2020 edition of the awards were postponed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The 2020 prizes were handed out in early 2021.
The Governor General's Literary Awards were created in 1936. Past winners include Thomas King, Madeleine Thien, Michael Ondaatje, Alice Munro and Margaret Atwood.
The Canada Council for the Arts is a partner of the CBC Literary Prizes.
You can see the finalists in all seven English-language categories below.
- Fictional Father by Joe Ollmann
- Home Waltz by G. A. Grisenthwaite
- Second Place by Rachel Cusk
- Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning
- You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked. by Sheung-King
You can learn more about the fiction finalists here.
The 2020 winner was Five Little Indians by Michelle Good.
- alfabet/alphabet by Sadiqa de Meijer
- Care of by Ivan Coyote
- Revery: A Year of Bees by Jenna Butler
- The Day the World Stops Shopping by J.B. MacKinnon
- What I Remember, What I Know by Larry Audlaluk
You can learn more about the nonfiction finalists here.
The 2020 winner was This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart by Madhur Anand.
- A History of the Theories of Rain by Stephen Collis
- A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure by Hoa Nguyen
- Sulphurtongue by Rebecca Salazar
- The Junta of Happenstance by Tolu Oloruntoba
- The Untranslatable I by Roxanna Bennett
You can learn more about the poetry finalists here.
The 2020 winner was Norma Jeane Baker of Troy by Anne Carson.
Young people's literature — text
- Blood Like Magic by Liselle Sambury
- Firefly by Philippa Dowding
- Peter Lee's Notes from the Field by Angela Ahn, illustrated by Julie Kwon
- The Fabulous Zed Watson! by Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester
- Unravel by Sharon Jennings
You can learn more about the young people's literature — text finalists here.
The 2020 winner was The King of Jam Sandwiches by Eric Walters.
Young people's literature — illustrated books
- Mii maanda ezhi-gkendmaanh / This Is How I Know Brittany Luby, illustrated by Joshua Mangeshig Pawis-Steckley, translated by Alvin Ted Corbiere & Alan Corbier
- On the Trapline by David A. Robertson, illustrated by Julie Flett
- Out into the Big Wide Lake by Paul Harbridge, illustrated by Josée Bisaillon
- The Library Bus by Bahram Rahman, illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
- The Wind and the Trees by Todd Stewart
You can learn more about the young people's literature — illustrated books finalists here.
The 2020 winner was The Barnabus Project by The Fan Brothers.
- Crippled by Paul David Power
- Selfie by Christine Quintana
- Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes by Hannah Moscovitch
- Take d Milk, Nah? by Jivesh Parasram
- Two Indians by Falen Johnson
You can learn more about the drama finalists here.
The 2020 winner was Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story by Kim Senklip Harvey.
- A Cemetery for Bees by Alina Dumitrescu, translated by Katia Grubisic
- Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati, translated by Helge Dascher and Rob Aspinall
- People, State, and War Under the French Regime in Canada by Louise Dechêne, translated by Peter Feldstein
- The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, translated by Susan Ouriou
- This Radiant Life by Chantal Neveu, translated by Erín Moure
You can learn more about the translation finalists here.
The 2020 winner was If You Hear Me by Pascale Quiviger, translated by Lazer Lederhendler.