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
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: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature — text, young people's literature — illustration, drama 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 Places. All 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 Playbook. H 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.
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 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.
The fiction finalists are:
- All the Quiet Places by Brian Thomas Isaac
- Finding Edward by Sheila Murray
- Probably Ruby by Lisa Bird-Wilson
- Pure Colour by Sheila Heti
- The Most Precious Substance on Earth by Shashi Bhat
The 2021 fiction winner was Tainna: The Unseen Ones by Norma Dunning.
The nonfiction finalists are:
- Aki-Wayn-Zih by Eli Baxter
- All the Frequent Troubles of Our Days by Rebecca Donner
- Generation Dread by Britt Wray
- Persephone's Children by Rowan McCandless
- Rehearsals for Living by Robyn Maynard & Leanne Betasamosake Simpson
The 2021 nonfiction winner was alfabet/alphabet: a memoir of first language by Sadiqa de Meijer.
The poetry finalists are:
- Dream of No One But Myself by David Bradford
- H of H Playbook by Anne Carson
- Horrible Dance by Avery Lake
- Shadow Blight by Annick MacAskill
- Shifting Baseline Syndrome by Aaron Kreuter
The 2021 poetry winner was The Junta of Happenstance by Tolu Oloruntoba.
The young people's literature — text finalists are:
- A Boy Is Not a Ghost by Edeet Ravel
- Sorry for Your Loss by Joanne Levy
- Step by Deborah Ellis
- The Summer of Bitter and Sweet by Jen Ferguson
- Urchin by Kate Story
The 2021 winner of young people's literature — text was Firefly by Philippa Dowding.
The young people's literature — illustrated books finalists are:
- kā-āciwīkicik / The Move by Doris George & Don K. Philpot, illustrated by Alyssa Koski
- Mina by Matthew Forsythe
- The Big Bath House by Kyo Maclear, illustrated by Gracey Zhang
- The Sour Cherry Tree by Naseem Hrab, illustrated by Nahid Kazemi
- Time is a Flower by Julie Morstad
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.
The French-to-English translation finalists are:
- History of the Jews in Quebec by Pierre Anctil, translated by Judith Weisz Woodsworth
- Remnants by Céline Huyghebaert, translated by Aleshia Jensen
- They Called Us Savages by Dominique Rankin & Marie-Josée Tardif, translated by Ben Vrignon
- This Is How I Disappear by Mirion Malle, translated by Aleshia Jensen & Bronwyn Haslam
- White Resin by Audrée Wilhelmy, translated by Susan Ouriou
The drama finalists are:
- Everybody Just C@lm the F#ck Down by Robert Chafe
- Inheritance: a pick-the-path experience by Daniel Arnold, Darrell Dennis & Medina Hahn
- Iphigenia and the Furies (On Taurian Land) & Antigone: 方 by Ho Ka Kei (Jeff Ho)
- Lady Sunrise by Marjorie Chan
- The Piano Teacher: A Healing Key by Dorothy Dittrich