Books

Souvankham Thammavongsa, Ilya Kaminsky & Aleš Šteger to judge 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize

The award annually gives out two $65,000 prizes — one to a book of Canadian poetry and one to an international book of poetry — making it one of the world's richest literary prizes.
Souvankham Thammavongsa (left), Ilya Kaminsky (centre) and Aleš Šteger are judging the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize. (Submitted by the Griffin Poetry Prize)

Canadian Souvankham Thammavongsa, Ukrainian Ilya Kaminsky and Slovenian Aleš Šteger will judge the 2021 Griffin Poetry Prize.

The award annually gives out two $65,000 prizes — one to a book of Canadian poetry and one to an international book of poetry — making it one of the world's richest literary prizes.

Thammavongsa is also the author of four poetry books: Light, which won the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, Found, Small Arguments, which won the ReLit Award, and Cluster. Her first book of fiction, the short story collection How to Pronounce Knife, is shortlisted for the 2020 Scotiabank Giller Prize.

Thammavongsa was in the Lao refugee camp in Nong Khai, Thailand and was raised and educated in Toronto, where she now lives. CBC Books named Thammavongsa a 2020 writer to watch.

Thammavongsa is also judging the 2021 CBC Short Story Prize, which is accepting submissions until Oct 31, 2020.

Kaminsky is the author of the poetry collections Deaf Republic and Dancing In Odessa. He has also edited several poetry collections, including Ecco Anthology of International Poetry and Dark Elderberry Branch: Poems of Marina Tsvetaeva. Deaf Republic won the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and was a finalist for the National Book Award. He received a Guggenheim fellowship in 2018. Born in Odessa, formerly the Soviet Union, Kaminsky currently lives in Atlanta.

Šteger is a poet, editor, translator and literary critic. His books include the poetry collections Odpusti, Kurent and Absolution and the short story collection Berlin. In 2008, he won the Rožanc Award, the highest prize for a Slovenian essay collection, for Berlin.

Submissions from publishers for the 2021 prize are being accepted until Dec. 31, 2020.

The finalists and winners will be announced in spring 2021.

Montreal poet Kaie Kellough won last year's Canadian prize for his collection Magnetic Equator.

Last year's international winner was Time by Lebanese poet Etel Adnan, translated from French to English by American Sarah Riggs.

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