Books

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

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 fiction.

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.

Eye by Marianne Micros

Eye is a collection of stories by Marianne Micros. (Guernica Editions)

Marianne Micros's collection of short fiction, Eyedraws from old world magic — particularly ancient Greece — to tell stories of nymphs, changelings and wise women through the ages. The evil eye plays a role in many of these stories, preying on the characters' relationships and fears.

Micros is the author of poetry and short fiction. She used to teach English at the University of Guelph. 

Five Wives by Joan Thomas

Joan Thomas is the author of Five Wives. (HarperAvenue, Bruce Thomas Barr)

In 1956, five evangelical Christian missionaries were killed when they ventured into the Ecuador rainforest to convert the Waorani, a group of Indigenous people who had no previous contact with the outside world. Five Wives fictionalizes the story of the women left to deal with the fall-out of their husbands' actions and deaths, which were widely covered by the media.

Joan Thomas is the author of three previous novels. Her novel The Opening Sky was a finalist for the Governor General's Literary Award for fiction in 2014.

Late Breaking by K.D. Miller

Late Breaking is a short story collection by K.D. Miller. (Andrew Leith McRae, Biblioasis)

Late Breaking, a linked collection of short stories, is based on the art of Alex Colville. The collection centres on characters occupying Sackville, N.B., where Colville lived and taught for many years. The characters that Miller portrays are getting older and contending with a world that focuses predominantly on youth.

Late Breaking was also longlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize

Miller's previous books include the short story collections The Other Voice and All Saints, which was a finalist for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize in 2014.

The Innocents by Michael Crummey

The Innocents is a novel by Michael Crummey. (Doubleday Canada, Arielle Hogan)

In The Innocents, a young brother and sister live in isolation in Newfoundland, surviving alone on the bits of knowledge their parents left behind. Their loyalty to one another is the reason they are able to persist through storms and illness, but their relationship is tested as they grow older.

Crummey's novel is also shortlisted for the 2019 Scotiabank Giller Prize and the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

The Newfoundland writer's other books include Sweetland and Galore, both of which were nominated for Governor General's Literary Awards.

The Student by Cary Fagan

The Student is a novel by Cary Fagan. (Freehand Books, caryfagan.com)

The Student by Cary Fagan opens in 1957 as an ambitious young woman named Miriam Moscowitz enters her final year of university. Miriam is drawn into an affair with a free-spirited American student, who leaves her to join the civil rights movement in the U.S. Nearly five decades later, Miriam helps with her son's wedding preparations and finds herself thinking about the past.

Fagan is the author of six novels, three short story collections and several children's books. He is nominated twice for a Govenor General's Literary Award in 2019. His children's book King Mouse, illustrated by Dena Seiferling, is nominated for a Governor General's Literary award for children's literature — illustration.

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