Books

Ontario authors Brian Francis, Liz Howard & Ann Shin among finalists for the 2022 Trillium Book Awards

The prize, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, recognizes the best book and best poetry collection by writers from Ontario.
From left: Brian Francis, Liz Howard and Ann Shin are 2022 Trillium Book Awards finalists (Samuel Engelking, Ralph Kolewe, HarperCollins)

Brian Francis, Liz Howard and Ann Shin are among the 16 finalists for the 2022 Trillium Book Awards.

The prize, celebrating its 35th anniversary this year, recognizes the best book and best poetry collection by writers from Ontario.

The winners in both the English and French categories of the Trillium Book Award will receive $20,000, while the winners of the poetry category will receive $10,000.

Toronto novelist Brian Francis is nominated for his memoir Missed Connections, which looks back at a personal ad he placed in a newspaper when he was 21. Years later, he writes back to some of the respondents, while examining his own life as a gay man and how LGBTQ people were able to step out of the shadows and into the light.

Francis is the author of three novels, including the YA books Fruit, which was a 2009 Canada Reads finalist, and Break in Case of Emergency, a finalist for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for young people's literature — text.

Toronto filmmaker and author Ann Shin is nominated for her debut novel, The Last Exiles, which offers a rare glimpse into life in North Korea and the experiences of those daring enough to try to escape.

Shin is a Canadian poet and filmmaker whose documentary My Enemy, My Brother was shortlisted for a 2016 Academy Award and nominated for an Emmy. The Last Exiles was based on her documentary The Defector, which won seven Canadian Screen Academy awards. Her poetry book The Family China received the Anne Green Award in 2013.

Based in Toronto and raised on Treaty 9 territory in northern Ontario, poet Liz Howard is nominated for her poetry collection Letters in a Bruised Cosmos, which invokes the knowledge histories of Western and Indigenous astrophysical science while examining family history and personal tragedy.

Howard is a poet from Ontario of mixed settler and Anishinaabe ancestry. Her debut poetry collection, Infinite Citizen of the Shaking Tent, won the 2016 Griffin Poetry Prize.

"The creativity and excellence of this year's Trillium Book Award nominees is evidence of the talent we proudly celebrate across Ontario and abroad," said Karen Thorne-Stone, president and CEO of Ontario Creates, which produces the awards.

The full shortlists for the 2022 Trillium Prize include:

Trillium Book Award

Trillium Book Award for Poetry

Prix Trillium

Prix de Poésie Trillium

  • À croire que j'aime les failles by Sylvie Bérard
  • Ce qui reste sans contour by Sonia-Sophie Courdeau
  • Exosquelette by Chloé Laduchesse

The winners will be announced at a ceremony on June 21, 2022, which will also honour previous winners who were recognized virtually during the pandemic.

Last year's winners included Souvankham Thammavongsa for her novel How to Pronounce Knife, and Jody Chan for her poetry collection sick.

Previous Trillium Award winners include Margaret Atwood, Dionne Brand and Alice Munro.

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