Donoghue, Winter in running for Trillium Book Award

Emma Donoghue and Michael Winter are among the authors to vie for the 2011 Trillium Book Awards.

Emma Donoghue and Michael Winter are among the authors in competition for the 2011 Trillium Book Awards.

Organizers announced a list of 20 French- and English-language finalists for Ontario's annual literary honour on Monday. Established in 1987, the Trillium Book Awards celebrate literary excellence by Ontario writers.

Irish-born London, Ont.-based Donoghue is an English-language fiction nominee for Room, her harrowing novel about an imprisoned mother and child.

The dark story was nominated for a host of awards — including the prestigious Man Booker Prize. It won the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize  and the regional Commonwealth Writers' Prize for fiction.

Toronto-based, Newfoundland writer Winter is also a contender in the English-language fiction category for his book The Death of Donna Whalen.

The "documentary fiction" title is based on a real-life murder case in St. John's in 1993, with Winter condensing and weaving together court testimony, news reports and recordings from the criminal investigation into a suspenseful tale. The book was also nominated for the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize.

Donoghue and Winter face four rivals for the fiction prize, worth $20,000:

  • What Disturbs Our Blood, by James FitzGerald.
  • The Amazing Absorbing Boy, by Rabindranath Maharaj.
  • Book, by Ken Sparling. 
  • The Reinvention of the Human Hand, by Paul Vermeersch.

Other Trillium 2011 nominees include:

French-language fiction (worth $20,000):

  • Un souffle venu de loin, by Estelle Beauchamp.
  • Laisse-moi te dire, by Murielle Beaulieu.
  • La mémoire de l'aile, by Andrée Christensen.
  • Pendant que l'Autre en moi t’écoute, by Michel Dallaire.
  • Le soixantième parallèle, by Didier Leclair.

English-language poetry (worth $10,000):

  • Sweet, by Dani Couture.
  • Tiny, Frantic, Stronger, by Jeff Latosik.
  • Complete Physical, by Shane Neilson.
  • At the Gates of the Theme Park, by Peter Norman.

French-language children's literature (worth $10,000 and awarded in alternating years with the French-language poetry honour):

  • La piste sanglante, Gilles Dubois.
  • Ariane et son secret, Sylvie Frigon.
  • Étienne Brûlé : Le fils de Champlain, Jean-Claude Larocque et Denis Sauvé.
  • La première guerre de Toronto, Daniel Marchildon.
  • Les voleurs de couleurs, Aurélie Resch.

The finalists will be celebrated at an evening reception and authors' reading in Toronto on June 16, with this year's winners announced at a luncheon the following day.