Books

The finalists for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for drama

The 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards will be awarded to books in seven English-language categories, each featuring five finalists. The winners will be announced on Oct. 29, 2019.
The winners of the 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards will be announced on Oct. 29. (Canada Council for the Arts/CBC)

Here are the finalists for the 2019 Governor General's Literary Award for drama.

The Governor General's Literary Awards are one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious prizes. 

The awards, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are given in seven English-language categories: fictionnonfictionpoetryyoung people's literature — textyoung people's literature — illustrationdrama and translation. Seven French-language awards are also given out in the same categories.

Each winner will receive $25,000. The winners will be announced on Oct. 29, 2019.

You can see the finalists in all seven categories here.

1 Hour Photo by Tetsuro Shigematsu

1 Hour Photo is a play by Tetsuro Shigematsu. (Talonbooks)

1 Hour Photo is inspired by the life of the playwright's 90-year-old friend, Mas Yamamoto, who owned a chain of one-hour photo shops in B.C. The play follows Yamamoto's childhood in a fishing village on the Fraser River, his experience in a Japanese Canadian internment camp and the discovery that led to his successful business venture.

Tetsuro Shigematsu is also behind the acclaimed one-man show Empire of the Son. He is a former writer for This Hour Has 22 Minutes and hosted The Roundup on CBC Radio.

Other Side of the Game by Amanda Parris

Other Side of the Game is a play by Amanda Parris. (CBC, Playwrights Canada Press)

Other Side of the Game tells the story of black women fighting against unjust institutions, while supporting their loved ones who have been incarcerated. Set in Toronto, the play takes place both in the 1970s — as a keen young woman named Beverly joins a group of black activists — and the early 2010s, where Nicole and her ex-boyfriend are stopped by police officer on a basketball court. 

Other Side of the Game is Amanda Parris's first play. She is also the host of the arts show Exhibitionists on CBC.

Thanks for Giving by Kevin Loring

Thanks for Giving is a play by Kevin Loring. (Waubgeshig Rice/CBC, Talonbooks)

In Thanks for GivingThe Thanksgiving dinner table is set. Nan, an Indigenous woman, gathers her children, nephew and settler husband for a feast, but the celebration implodes on itself as resentments, anxieties and secrets rise to the surface. 

Kevin Loring was appointed the first artistic director of Indigenous theatre at the National Arts Centre of Canada. He won the Governor General's Literary Award for drama in 2009 for Where the Blood Mixes.

The Fighting Season by Sean Harris Oliver

The Fighting Season is a play by Sean Harris Oliver. (J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing Inc., Glen Kugelstadt/CBC)

The Fighting Season follows three medical officers — a field medic named Kristy, a surgeon named Terry and a nurse named Karine — on duty in Kandahar during the war in Afghanistan. A life-changing event sends them all back to Canada where they unpack the horrors they have witnessed.

Sean Harris Oliver's play was inspired by his father's own experience treating soldiers in Afghanistan. His previous work includes Bright Blue Future and Redpatch.

What a Young Wife Ought to Know by Hannah Moscovitch

What a Young Wife Ought to Know is a play by Hannah Moscovitch. (Playwrights Canada, Alejandro Santiago)

What a Young Wife Ought to Know is set in Ottawa during the 1920s, before the legalization of birth control. It tells the story of a working class mother named Sophie who, after two difficult births, is advised by her doctor to stop having children. Not knowing how to prevent it, Sophie finds herself pregnant again and faces a brutal dilemma.

Hannah Moscovitch's plays have been staged around the world. The Toronto playwright received the Windham Campbell Prize in 2016, a $150,000 U.S. ($199,125 Cdn) literary prize, for her body of work, which includes East of Berlin, The Russian Play and Bunny.

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