Nov 01, 2017

By Jane Brown

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The winners of the 2017 Governor General’s Literary Awards have been announced by the Canada Council for the Arts.

From 70 finalists, the peer assessors have chosen 14 outstanding winning titles in English and French. With new work by established authors, illustrators and translators, as well as new favourites by first-time winners, the 2017 GGBooks will find their way on to bookshelves across the country.

“The 2017 GGBooks winners reflect the soaring literary ambitions of the writers, translators, illustrators and publishers. They dispense the essential doses of Canadian imagination, fantasy, ideas, dreams and analysis that a growing number of readers are appreciating and celebrating.”
– Canada Council Director and CEO, Simon Brault.

In her first official ceremony as Governor General, Julie Payette will present the Governor General’s Awards at Rideau Hall on November 29th.

English-language adult winners and comments from the peer assessment committees:

We’ll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night – Joel Thomas Hynes (St. John’s, N.L.)
HarperCollins Publishers “Hynes’s portrait of Johnny Keough is an act of full-throttle imagination and narrative invention. Johnny is a startlingly original creation. His hilarious yet disturbing journey from St. John’s to Vancouver is unforgettable, tragic and ultimately transcendent.” – Darren Greer, Robert Hough, Padma Viswanathan

On Not Losing My Father’s Ashes in the Flood – Richard Harrison (Calgary)
Buckrider Books / Wolsak and Wynn Publishers
“In these moving poems about the father/son relationship set against the Alberta flood of 2013, Richard Harrison’s intimate yet open voice deftly explores subjects as wide-ranging as childhood, middle-age anxiety, dementia and loss with wonder, humour and resilience.” – Nina Berkhout, Evelyn Lau, Douglas Burnet Smith

Indian Arm – Hiro Kanagawa (Port Moody, B.C.) Playwrights Canada Press
“Indian Arm is a timely and evocative manifestation of the characters’ struggle with their
relationship to the land. Hiro Kanagawa masterfully navigates the tension between Indigenous and settler identities as they work to figure out how we can live together. Mythic. Heart-breaking. Poetic.” – Alanis King, Bruce McManus, Erin Shields

The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State – Graeme Wood
(Connecticut, U.S.) Random House / Penguin Random House
“The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State by Graeme Wood investigates a much discussed, little understood phenomenon dominating international news. Meticulously researched and fluidly written, this bracing book delves into a contentious facet of contemporary geopolitics.” – Elaine Kalman Naves, JJ Lee, Ray Robertson

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