Joseph Boyden, Austin Clarke up for Governor General's lit awards

Joseph Boyden and Austin Clarke are among the latest nominees for the Governor General's Literary Awards, one of Canada's most venerable arts honours.
Joseph Boyden, author of The Orenda.

Joseph Boyden and Austin Clarke are among the latest nominees for the Governor General's Literary Awards, one of Canada's most venerable arts honours.

The Canada Council for the Arts, which administers the annual prize, unveiled this year's finalists Wednesday morning. Organizers celebrate English- and French-language writers in seven categories.

Northern Ontario and Louisiana-based author Boyden is nominated for his latest novel The Orenda, while veteran Toronto writer, journalist and teacher Clarke is a contender for his first poetry collection Where the Sun Shines Best.

Public reading

The GG finalists for English-language fiction will read from their work at Toronto's International Festival of Authors on Oct. 28 at 8 p.m.

Boyden, who is also longlisted for this year’s Giller Prize, isn't the only GG nominee in contention for other prestigious literary awards this fall. London, Ont.-born Eleanor Catton, a nominee for her second novel, The Luminaries, is also shortlisted for the 2013 Man Booker Prize (she's the youngest author ever to be short-listed for the U.K. prize).

Toronto-based Colin McAdam, nominated in the fiction category for A Beautiful Truth, is also a finalist for the Rogers Writers Trust Fiction Prize, while Priscila Uppal, a GG contender for her memoir Projection, had earlier been nominated for the Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Non-fiction

The 2013 English-language nominees include:

  • Fiction: Kenneth Bonert (Toronto) for The Lion Seeker; Joseph Boyden (New Orleans) for The Orenda; Eleanor Catton (Iowa City, Iowa) for The Luminaries; Colin McAdam (Toronto) for A Beautiful Truth; Shyam Selvadurai (Toronto) for The Hungry Ghosts.
  • Poetry: Austin Clarke (Toronto) for Where The Sun Shines Best; Adam Dickinson (St. Catharines, Ont.) for The Polymers; Don Domanski (Halifax) for Bite Down Little Whisper; Russell Thornton (Vancouver) for Birds, Metals, Stones & Rain; Katherena Vermette (Winnipeg) for North End Love Songs.
  • Drama: Nicolas Billon (Montreal) for Fault Lines; Meg Braem (Calgary) for Blood: A Scientific Romance; Kate Hewlett (Stratford, Ont.) for The Swearing Jar; Lawrence Jeffery (Niagara-on-the-Lake, Ont.) for Frenchtown; Joseph Jomo Pierre (Toronto) for Shakespeare's Nigga.
  • Non-fiction: Carolyn Abraham (Toronto) for The Juggler's Children: A Journey into Family, Legend and the Genes that Bind Us; Sandra Djwa (Vancouver) for Journey with No Maps: A Life of P.K. Page; Nina Munk (New York) for The Idealist: Jeffrey Sachs and the Quest to End Poverty; Allen Smutylo (Wiarton, Ont.) for The Memory of Water; Priscila Uppal (Toronto) for Projection.
  • Children's Literature — Text: Beverley Brenna (Saskatoon) for The White Bicycle; Shane Peacock (Baltimore, Ont.) for Becoming Holmes: The Boy Sherlock Holmes, His Final Case; Jean E. Pendziwol (Thunder Bay, Ont.) for Once Upon a Northern Night; Valerie Sherrard (Miramichi, N.B.) for Counting Back From Nine; Teresa Toten (Toronto) for The Unlikely Hero of Room 13B.
  • Children's Literature — Illustration: Rachel Berman (Toronto) for Miss Mousie's Blind Date, text by Tim Beiser; Gary Clement (Toronto) for Oy, Feh, So?, text by Cary Fagan; Matt James (Toronto) for Northwest Passage, text by Stan Rogers; Jon Klassen (Los Angeles) for The Dark, text by Lemony Snicket; Julie Morstad (Vancouver) for How To, text by Julie Morstad.
  • Translation – French to English: Robert Majzels (Calgary) for For Sure, English translation of Pour sûr by France Daigle; Rhonda Mullins (Montreal) for And the Birds Rained Down, English translation of Il pleuvait des oiseaux by Jocelyne Saucier; George Tombs (Montreal) for Canada's Forgotten Slaves: Two Hundred Years of Bondage, English translation of Deux siècles d’esclavage au Québec by Marcel Trudel; Luise von Flotow (Ottawa) for The Stalinist's Wife, English translation of La femme du stalinien by France Théoret; Donald Winkler (Montreal) for The Major Verbs, English translation of Les verbes majeurs by Pierre Nepveu.

The winner of each category receives $25,000 as well as a specially bound copy of his or her book. Remaining finalists receive $1,000 each.

The winners will be announced in Toronto on Nov. 13, with a ceremony honouring them to follow in Ottawa on Nov. 28.


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