The finalists for the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for translation
The $25,000 prizes recognize the best Canadian books of the year
Here are the finalists for the 2021 Governor General's Literary Award for translation.
The Governor General's Literary Awards are one of Canada's oldest and most prestigious literary prizes.
The prizes, administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, are awarded in seven English-language categories: fiction, nonfiction, poetry, young people's literature — text, young people's literature — illustration, drama 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 Nov. 17, 2021.
The translation category was assessed by Jonathan Kaplansky, Aimee Wall and Anne-Marie Wheeler.
You can see the finalists in all seven categories here.
Get to know the translation finalists below.
A Cemetery for Bees by Alina Dumitrescu, translated by Katia Grubisic
Alina Dumitrescu grew up in former Socialist Republic of Romania, before moving to Montreal in 1988. A Cemetery for Bees is an autobiographical novel based on Dumitrescu's own life and journey. It follows a young woman from Romania to Montreal, as she navigates a new language, city, country and life. The titular bees are the bees of her childhood home, hives were placed throughout the property to discourage the police from stopping by. The bees also provided a distraction for the children, and serve as a metaphor for Dumitrescu's life.
Dumitrescu is a writer from Romania, who now lives in Montreal. She has written both poetry and fiction in French. Her 2016 book, Le cimetière des abeilles, won the Blue Metropolis/Conseil des arts de Montréal Diversity Prize.
Katia Grubisic is a writer, editor and translator. Her translation of Brothers by David Clerson was a finalist for the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translation.
Paul at Home by Michel Rabagliati, translated by Helge Dascher & Rob Aspinall
Paul at Home is the latest memoir from famed Quebecois comics creator Michel Rabagliati. In Paul at Home, Paul is now in his 50s and is a successful cartoonist. But he's divorced, his mother is dying and his daughter has moved out. Paul must figure out how to find meaning and purpose in his life as he gets older and the relationships that defined his adult life are drastically changing.
Rabagliati is a cartoonist from Montreal. He has written several semi-autobiographical comics including Paul Up North, Paul Goes Fishing and Paul Joins the Scouts.
Helge Dascher is a translator living in Montreal. She has translated more than 20 graphic novels from French or German into English, including work by Guy Delisle, Julie Delporte and Phillipe Girard.
Rob Aspinall is a translator. His other works include the translations of 100 Days in Uranium City by Ariane Dénommé and Factory Summers by Guy Delisle (both co-translated with Dascher).
People, State, and War Under the French Regime in Canada by Louise Dechêne, translated by Peter Feldstein
People, State, and War Under the French Regime in Canada is a Canadian history book that looks at the period from the early 17th century to the conquest of New France in 1760. Historian Louise Dechêne looks at the social consequences of this warfare, and the impact it had on the inhabitants of New France, offering a complex and nuanced look at the relationship between the military and regular citizens during this period of early Canadian history.
Louise Dechêne was a history professor at McGill University. She wrote several books on early Canadian history, including Power and Subsistence: The Political Economy of Grain in New France and Habitants and Merchants in Seventeenth-Century Montreal. The French-language edition of Habitants and Merchants in Seventeenth-Century Montreal won the Governor General's Literary Award for French-language nonfiction in 1974. She died in 2000.
Peter Feldstein is a translator and interpreter from Montreal. He won the Governor General's Literary Award for French-to-English translation in 2014 for Paul-Émile Borduas: A Critical Biography by François-Marc Gagnon.
The Lover, the Lake by Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau, translated by Susan Ouriou
The Lover, the Lake was a sensation when it was originally published in French. Now available in English, The Lover, the Lake is a celebration of Indigenous sexuality and sensuality. It is the story of a forbidden but fulfilling love affair between Wabougouni and Gabrie, set against the backdrop of Lake Abitibi.
Virginia Pésémapeo Bordeleau is a visual artist and published author of Cree origin. She has published three novels and four poetry collections, including Blue Bear Woman.
Susan Ouriou is a writer, editor and literary translator from Calgary. She has won the Governor General's Literary Award for translation for her work.
This Radiant Life by Chantal Neveu, translated by Erín Moure
This Radiant Life is a single long poem that looks at the elements that make up our world and the spaces in between. It considers this idea of our individual selves, and how this self is situated in a collective togetherness.
Chantal Neveu is a poet and multidisciplinary artist from Montreal. Her other poetry collections available in English include Coït and mentale.
Erin Mouré is a translator and poet from Calgary, who now lives in Montreal. Her own poetry collections include The Unmemntioable, Kapusta, The Elements and Furious, which won the 1988 Governor General's Literary Award for poetry.