Michael Crummey among fiction finalists for Governor General’s Literary Awards

OTTAWA — Newfoundland writer Michael Crummey has scored his third nomination for a major Canadian book award this season.

Crummey is a finalist for the Governor General’s Literary Awards for fiction for “The Innocents,” published by Doubleday Canada.

The novel, which centres on two orphans living on an isolated cove in Newfoundland, is also shortlisted for this year’s Scotiabank Giller Prize and Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize.

Other contenders for the Governor General’s $25,000 fiction prize include award-winning Winnipeg novelist Joan Thomas for “Five Wives” (Harper Avenue) and Toronto-based K.D. Miller’s short-story collection “Late Breaking” (Biblioasis).

Rounding out the short list are Toronto author Cary Fagan for “The Student” (Freehand Books) and Marianne Micros of Guelph, Ont., for the collection “Eye” (Guernica Editions).

The awards, which are administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, revealed the titles nominated in seven English-language categories on Wednesday.

The non-fiction contenders are: Dan Werb of Toronto for “City of Omens: A Search for the Missing Women of the Borderlands” (Bloomsbury) Alan Walker of Ancaster, Ont., for “Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times” (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) Brian Harvey of Nanaimo, B.C., for “Sea Trial: Sailing After My Father” (ECW Press) Naomi K. Lewis of Calgary for “Tiny Lights for Travellers” (University of Alberta Press) and Don Gillmor of Toronto for “To the River: Losing My Brother” (Random House Canada).

Contending for the poetry prize are: Gwen Benaway of Toronto for “Holy Wild” (Book..hug) Montreal-born and San Francisco-based Julie Bruck for “How to Avoid Huge Ships” (Brick Books) Catherine Hunter of Winnipeg for “St. Boniface Elegies” (Signature Editions) Karen Houle of Guelph, Ont., for “The Grand River Watershed: A Folk Ecology” (Gaspereau Press) and Armand Garnet Ruffo of Kingston, Ont., for “Treaty .” (Buckrider Books).

The finalists in the drama category are: Tetsuro Shigematsu of North Vancouver, B.C., for “1 Hour Photo” (Talonbooks) Amanda Parris of Toronto for “Other Side of the Game” (Playwrights Canada Press) Kevin Loring of Ottawa for “Thanks for Giving” (Talonbooks) Sean Harris Oliver of Vancouver for “The Fighting Season” (Scirocco Drama) and Hannah Moscovitch of Halifax for “What a Young Wife Ought to Know” (Playwrights Canada Press).

The nominees in the young people’s literature category for text are: Brian Francis of Toronto for “Break in Case of Emergency” (HarperCollins Publishers) Sue Farrell Holler of Grand Prairie, Alta., for “Cold White Sun” (Groundwood Books) Michelle Kadarusman of Toronto for “Girl of the Southern Sea” (Pajama Press) Erin Bow of Kitchener, Ont., for “Stand on the Sky” (Scholastic Canada) and Jo Treggiari of Lunenberg, N.S., for “The Grey Sisters” (Penguin Teen).

In the young people’s literature category for illustrated books, the contenders are: Isabelle Arsenault of Montreal for “Albert’s Quiet Quest” (Tundra Books) Julie Flett of Vancouver for “Birdsong” (Greystone Books) Nicola Winstanley of Hamilton, Ont., and John Martz of Toronto for “How to Give Your Cat a Bath” (Tundra Books) Cary Fagan of Toronto and Dena Seiferling of Calgary for “King Mouse” (Tundra Books) and Sydney Smith of Halifax for “Small in the City” (Groundwood Books).

For French-to-English translation, the contenders are: Louisa Blair of Quebec City for “887” (House of Anansi Press), a translation of the original work by Robert Lepage Linda Gaboriau of Montreal for “Birds of a Kind” (Playwrights Canada Press), a translation of “Tous des oiseaux” by Wajdi Mouawad Pablo Strauss of Quebec City for “Synapses” (Talonbooks), a translation of the original work by Simon Brousseau Rhonda Mullins of Montreal for “The Embalmer” (Coach House Books), a translation of “L’embaumeur” by Anne-Renee Caille” and Sheila Fischman of Montreal for “Vi” (Random House Canada), a translation of the original work by Kim Thuy.

Honours will also be doled out in separate French-language categories.

Peer assessment committees chose the 70 finalists from roughly 1,400 titles submitted for consideration.

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.

The winners will be announced on Oct. 29.

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