Books

Lisa Bird-Wilson, Brian Thomas Isaac and Anne Carson finalists for 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards

The $25,000 prizes recognize the best Canadian books of the year. The winners will be announced on Nov. 16, 2022.

The $25,000 prizes recognize the best Canadian books of the year

Lisa Bird-Wilson, left, Brian Thomas Isaac, centre and Anne Carson, right, are among the finalists for the 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards. (Julie Cortens, Touchwood Editions, Craig Barritt/Getty Images for The Shed)

Lisa Bird-Wilson, Brian Thomas Isaac and Anne Carson are among the finalists for the 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards.

The prizes, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are awarded in seven English-language categories: fictionnonfictionpoetryyoung people's literature — textyoung people's literature — illustrationdrama and French-to-English translation. Seven French-language awards are also given out in the same categories. A total of $450,000 is awarded across all the prizes annually.

The winner in each category will receive $25,000. The remaining finalists will each receive $1,000.

Books published between Aug. 1, 2021, and July 31, 2022 were eligible for the 2022 awards. The finalists and winners are chosen by a peer assessment committee for each category.

The winners will be announced on Nov. 16, 2022.

Bird-Wilson and Isaac are all finalists in the fiction category.

Bird-Wilson, a Saskatchewan Métis and nêhiyaw writer, is nominated for her debut novel Probably Ruby.

Probably Ruby is the story of a girl who is relinquished as an infant, placed in a foster home and finally adopted by a couple who can't afford to complain too loudly about Ruby's Indigenous roots.

Isaac, a writer from Okanagan Indian Reserve, is nominated for his novel All the Quiet PlacesAll the Quiet Places is a coming-of-age story about a boy named Eddie Toma, whose life resembles that of its author in countless ways. 

All the Quiet Places is Isaac's debut novel, which he didn't write until he was in his 70s.

Carson is a finalist in the poetry category for H of H PlaybookH of H Playbook is about a Greek tragedy called Herakles by the 5th-century BC poet Euripides. According to myth, Herakles, known for being a symbol of "manly violence," returns home after years of creating war. Unsurprisingly, he finds he cannot adjust to a peaceful life and kills his whole family. Before he kills himself, his friend, Theseus, intervenes, reminding Herakles that his life has value and potential for redemption. 

Carson previously won the Governor General's Literary Award for poetry in 2020 for Norma Jeane Baker of Troy.

The black book cover has small circle in the middle that looks like a scrap of newspaper material torn off with black and white abstract stripes.

Carson is one of Canada's most accomplished poets. Her accolades include a Guggenheim, a Lannan Foundation fellowship and a MacArthur "genius grant." She recently won the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature. She won the inaugural Griffin Poetry Prize in 2001 for her collection Men in the Off Hours

Other notable finalists include science journalist and sometimes CBC host and broadcaster Britt Wray in the nonfiction category for Generation Dread, past Griffin Poetry Prize finalist David Bradford in the poetry category for his collection  Dream of No One But Myself, Julie Morstad in the illustrated books category for her picture book Time is a Flower, and novelist and playwright Sheila Heti in the fiction category for her novel Pure Colour

Translator Aleshia Jensen received two nominations in the French-to-English translation category. She's nominated for her translation of the novel Remnants and her translation of the graphic novel This is How I Disappear, which she co-translated with Bronwyn Haslam.

The Governor General's Literary Awards were created in 1936. Past winners include Thomas KingMadeleine ThienMichael OndaatjeAlice Munro and Margaret Atwood.

The Canada Council for the Arts is a partner of the CBC Literary Prizes. The 2023 CBC Short Story Prize is currently open for submissions until Oct. 31, 2022.

You can see the finalists in all seven English-language categories below.

Fiction

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for fiction finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

The fiction finalists are:

You can learn more about the fiction finalists here.

The 2021 fiction winner was Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning.

Nonfiction

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for nonfiction finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

The nonfiction finalists are:

You can learn more about the nonfiction finalists here.

The 2021 nonfiction winner was alfabet/alphabet: a memoir of first language by Sadiqa de Meijer.

Poetry

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for poetry finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

The poetry finalists are:

You can learn more about the poetry finalists here.

The 2021 poetry winner was The Junta of Happenstance by Tolu Oloruntoba.

Young people's literature — text

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for young people's literature, text, finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

The young people's literature — text finalists are:

You can learn more about the young people's literature — text finalists here.

The 2021 winner of young people's literature — text was Firefly by Philippa Dowding.

Young people's literature — illustrated books

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for young people's literature, illustrated books finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

The young people's literature — illustrated books finalists are:

You can learn more about the young people's literature — illustrated books finalists here.

The 2021 winner of young people's literature — illustrated books was On the Trapline, which was written by David A. Robertson and illustrated by Julie Flett.

Translation

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for French-to-English translation finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

The French-to-English translation finalists are:

You can learn more about the French-to-English translation finalists here.

Drama

The 2022 Governor General's Literary Awards for drama finalists. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

The drama finalists are:

You can learn more about the drama finalists here.

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