Poet Anne Carson speaks after winning the Griffin Poetry Prize for her genre-bending "Red Doc", in a 2014 handout photo. Carson and author Thomas King are among the veteran writers nominated for the Governor General's Literary Awards. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Griffin Poetry Prize, Tom Sandler, *MANDATORY CREDIT*

Anne Carson, Thomas King among nominees for Governor General’s Literary Awards

Anne Carson, Thomas King among nominees for Governor General’s Literary Awards

Renowned poet Anne Carson and author Thomas King are among the veteran writers nominated for the Governor General’s Literary Awards.

Each will face stiff competition from a rising class of wordsmiths to clinch the $25,000 prize in their respective categories.

Organizers named the finalists for the 2020 awards, which are administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, on Tuesday — several months later than the usual fall announcement.

They say the review process was delayed because of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the schedule should return to normal for the 2021 competition.

Peer assessment committees selected 70 titles published last year to be shortlisted across seven categories in both English and French.

The winners will be revealed on June 1.

Guelph, Ont.-based King is in the running for the fiction prize for his anti-travelogue, “Indians on Vacation,” from HarperCollins Canada, which was a Writers’ Trust runner-up last year.

Cree lawyer and author Michelle Good also snagged twin nods from the Writers’ Trust and Governor General’s awards for “Five Little Indians,” from HarperCollins Canada. The debut novel follows a group of residential school survivors trying to forge new lives in Vancouver.

Also among the fiction finalists are Halifax’s Francesca Ekwuyasi with her Giller-longlisted debut tracing the intergenerational saga of three Nigerian women “Butter Honey Pig Bread,” from Arsenal Pulp Press; Michi Saagiig Nishnaabeg writer Leanne Betasamosake Simpson for the genre-defying “Noopiming: The Cure for White Ladies,” from House of Anansi Press; and Toronto-born poet Lisa Robertson’s first foray in novel-writing “The Baudelaire Fractal,” from Coach House Books.

Toronto-born, Ann Arbor, Mich.-based Carson is adding to her lengthy list of accolades as a nominee in the poetry category for “Norma Jeane Baker of Troy,” from New Directions Publishing.

She’ll face off against emerging awards darling Canisia Lubrin of Whitby, Ont., who is nominated for “The Dyzgraphxst,” published by McClelland & Stewart, which is up for this year’s Griffin Poetry Prize.

Other poetry contenders include Montreal’s Oana Avasilichioaei for “Eight Track,” from Talonbooks; Donna Kane of Rolla, B.C., for “Orrery,” from Harbour Publishing; and Sachiko Murakami of Toronto for “Render,” from Arsenal Pulp Press.

Cree writer and scholar Billy-Ray Belcourt, who won the Griffin Poetry Prize in 2018, is establishing his cross-genre bona fides as a non-fiction nominee for “A History of My Brief Body,” from Hamish Hamilton.

Hamilton disability rights advocate Amanda Leduc also scored a non-fiction nod for “Disfigured: On Fairy Tales, Disability, and Making Space,” from Coach House Books.

Rounding out the category are Ivan Coyote in Vancouver for “Rebent Sinner,” from Arsenal Pulp Press; Guyanese-born Canadian author Tessa McWatt for “Shame on Me: An Anatomy of Race and Belonging,” from Random House Canada; and Guelph, Ont.-based Madhur Anand for “This Red Line Goes Straight to Your Heart: A Memoir in Halves.”

The finalists in the drama category are: Yolanda Bonnell of Toronto for “bug,” from Scirocco Drama / J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing; Charlotte Corbeil-Coleman of Toronto for “Guarded Girls,” from Playwrights Canada Press; Kim Senklip Harvey of Vancouver for “Kamloopa: An Indigenous Matriarch Story,” from Talonbooks; Christopher Cook of Vancouver for “Quick Bright Things,” from Playwrights Canada Press; and Donna-Michelle St. Bernard of Hamilton for “Sound of the Beast,” from Playwrights Canada Press.

Honours will also be doled out for writing and illustration in children’s literature, as well as French-to-English translation. There are separate French-language categories for francophone writing.

The awards hand out a total annual prize value of $450,000.

Each winner receives $25,000, while the publisher of each winning book receives $3,000 to support promotional activities. Finalists each receive $1,000.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published May 4, 2021.

Adina Bresge, The Canadian Press


Just Posted

Ella Stoner, five, is ready to cut off her hair and donate it to A Child’s Voice Foundation. (Photo by Lauren Stoner Photography)
Central Alberta girl to donate her ‘princess hair’ to A Child’s Voice Foundation

A five-year-old girl from Rimbey has never had a haircut before. Now,… Continue reading

Asymptomatic testing will now be available for "priority groups" who are most likely to spread the COVID-19 virus to vulnerable or at-risk populations. File photo by THE CANADIAN PRESS
Alberta adds 1,195 new COVID-19 cases Saturday

Red Deer has dropped to 760 active cases

Lacombe-Ponoka MLA Ron Orr
Central Alberta MLAs comment on UCP members kicked out of caucus

A pair of central Alberta MLAs have commented on the two United… Continue reading

Contributed photo
Johanna Hannaford: Central Alberta designer offers inclusive clothing

By Stephanie Rhodes Local designer Johanna Hannaford’s inclusive clothing creations are smashing… Continue reading

Red life-ring with splash
Started from the bottom: How a family business started and grew in central Alberta

By Carina Moran We started our business in the basement of our… Continue reading

Vancouver Canucks' Zack MacEwen (71), Travis Boyd (72) and Jimmy Vesey (24) celebrate a goal against the Edmonton Oilers during third period NHL action in Edmonton on Saturday, May 15, 2021.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jason Franson
Big third period lifts Vancouver Canucks to 4-1 victory over Edmonton Oilers

Canucks 4 Oilers 1 EDMONTON — Matthew Highmore scored twice in the… Continue reading

A vial of the Medicago vaccine sits on a surface. CARe Clinic, located in Red Deer, has been selected to participate in the third phase of vaccine study. (Photo courtesy www.medicago.com)
Canada’s vaccine rollout operation won’t miss a beat with new military leader: expert

DARTMOUTH — The sudden departure of the senior military officer in charge… Continue reading

Quebec Premier Francois Legault speaks during a news conference on the COVID-19 pandemic, Tuesday, September 29, 2020 at the legislature in Quebec City. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jacques Boissinot
Quebec premier argues province has power to amend constitution in letter to Trudeau

MONTREAL — Quebec Premier François Legault has written a letter to Prime… Continue reading

A demonstrator stands in front of riot police officers during a banned protest in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip, in Paris, Saturday, May, 15, 2021. Marches in support of Palestinians in the Gaza Strip were being held Saturday in a dozen French cities, but the focus was on Paris where riot police countered organizers who said they would defy a ban on the protest, ordered on the grounds that it risked turning violent. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)
Police fire tear gas on banned Palestinian march in Paris

PARIS (AP) — French riot police fired tear gas and used water… Continue reading

Photo by The Associated Press
NYC Pride parade bans police; Gay officers ‘disheartened’

NEW YORK (AP) — Organizers of New York City’s Pride events said… Continue reading

Welcoming cowboy boots at the historic and colourful Last Chance Saloon in the ghost town of Wayne near Drumheller, Alta., on Thursday, Sept. 19, 2019. The bar and hotel are up for sale. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jeff McIntosh
‘It was a going concern’: Remaining bar and hotel in Alberta coal ghost town for sale

WAYNE, Alta. — Built during the First World War, it survived the… Continue reading

A letter from a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 is shown in an undated handout photo. A team of researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to solve the mystery of whether a letter in a bottle that washed up in New Brunswick in 2017 was indeed from a young victim of Titanic shipwreck or simply a hoax. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, N. Beaudry, UQAR *MANDATORY CREDIT*
Real or hoax? Quebec scholars probe mystery letter allegedly from Titanic passenger

MONTREAL — Researchers from Université du Québec à Rimouski are trying to… Continue reading

Minister of Transport Marc Garneau takes part in a press conference on Parliament Hill in Ottawa on Tuesday, Nov. 26, 2019. Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication between the federal Transport Department and the Canadian Transportation Agency regarding passenger refunds throws into question the independence of the CTA, an arm’s-length body. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Sean Kilpatrick
Emails reveal close communication between government, transport regulator on refunds

OTTAWA — Advocates, experts and opposition MPs say correspondence showing close communication… Continue reading

Most Read