Books

Seth, Téa Mutonji & Zalika Reid-Benta among finalists for $20K Trillium Book Award for Ontario books

A graphic novel by Seth and debut short fiction collections by Téa Mutonji and Zalika Reid-Benta are up for a prize that celebrates Ontario writing.
(From left to right): Seth, Téa Mutonji and Zalika Reid-Benta are among the 2020 Trillium Book Award finalists, an annual $20,000 prize that celebrates Ontario writing. (David Briggs Photography, Sandro Pehar, Submitted by Zalika Reid-Benta)

A graphic novel by Seth and debut short fiction collections by Téa Mutonji and Zalika Reid-Benta are up for a $20,000 prize that annually celebrates Ontario writing.

The 2020 Trillium Book Awards recognize poetry and long-form prose in both English and French. Winners of the prose category each receive $20,000, while recipients of the poetry prize are awarded $10,000.

Seth, Mutonji and Reid-Benta are all English-language finalists for the Trillium Book Award. 

Seth's nostalgic five-part graphic novel Clyde Fans follows two brothers, Simon and Abe Matchard, whose complicated relationship rises to the fore as their family business goes under.

Mutonji's nominated book, Shut Up, You're Pretty, is a set of loosely connected stories following a girl's coming of age in suburban Canada after immigrating from Congo.

Reid-Benta's short fiction collection Frying Plantain gathers interconnected stories from the life of Kara Davis as she reconciles her Jamaican roots with her Canadian nationality. The book was longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Rounding out the shortlist are Sara Peters for her experimental novel I Become a Delight to My Enemies and Christina Baillie and Martha Baillie for their co-autobiography Sister Language.

Doyali Islam is among the English-language poetry finalists for heft. The Toronto writer looks at the nature of illness, pain and sexuality and explores the notion of home in light of chronic pain and suspected autoimmune illness. The book is also a finalist for the 2020 Griffin Poetry Prize.

Islam's fellow nominees are Matthew Walsh for These are not the potatoes of my youth and Roxanna Bennett for unmeaningable, which recently received the Raymond Souster Award.

The French language finalists for the Trillium Book Award are Moi, Sam, Elle, Janis by Jean Boisjoli, AmericanDream.ca by Claude Guilman, Mon père, Boudarel et moi by Aristote Kavungu and Crevaison en corbillard by Paul Ruban.

The finalists for the Trillium Book Award for Poetry in French are Fragments de ciels by Daniel Groleau and Premier quart by Véronique Sylvain.

Winners will be announced on June 17, 2020.

Previous winners include Alice Munro, Margaret Atwood, Austin Clarke and Michael Ondaatje.

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