By mid-November the Canadian literary awards season winds down. I was listening to 680 News when I heard the announcement for the winner of the Governor General’s Literary Award for Fiction. It was a brief mention of the book title and author, but at least the publishing world was acknowledged for a few seconds on mainstream radio…and a few hundred more book copies were probably sold as a direct result!
The GGs, or the Governor General’s Literary Awards, are now awarded in seven categories, in both French and English, with a $25,000 prize. The awards were established as a way to encourage the growth of a truly Canadian literature.
Check out the Canada Council website for a full listing of all the categories and finalists. The winner in the fiction category was:
Linda Spalding for The Purchase. The author used a slave-owning ancestor for inspiration. Here is a brief summary of the novel:
Pennsylvania 1798. Daniel Dickinson, a young Quaker father and widower, leaves his home to establish a new life with his 5 children and a 15-year-old orphan wife. In an act of misplaced compassion, Daniel buys a young slave boy, Onesimus, setting off a chain of events that sweep over several generations.
Check out this link for the Jury Statement and Linda Spalding’s interesting biography. Did you know that she is married to Michael Ondaatje? Spalding was born in Kansas, and she lived in Mexico and Hawaii, before moving to Toronto in 1982.
Ross King for Leonardo And The Last Supper. The Toronto Star noted that, “King’s investigation into Leonardo’s work is remarkable . . . . King is able to evoke and analyze how Leonardo went about his work and offers a brief, unforgettable, story.”
Here is a summary for the book:
The Last Supper, arguably the world’s most famous painting, defined its creator, Leonardo Da Vinci. This gripping tale recounts the full story behind its creation, including the political events of the time that forced da Vinci to flee Milan with the paint on The Last Supper barely dry.
The 2012 Rogers Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize was awarded to Tamas Dobozy for Siege 13. Dobozy is currently an associate professor in the Department of English and Film Studies at Wilfred Laurier University in Waterloo, Ontario. Here is the jury evaluation for the book:
“From the dark cityscapes of besieged Hungary to the émigré cafés of contemporary North America, Siege 13 spans continents and decades, and in doing so illustrates once again that old maxim: the short story can be both as broad and as deep as a novel. At times gently humorous, at times quietly wise, Dobozy’s thirteen stories dazzle with their psychological nuance and brilliant attention to detail. These stories are never less than breathtaking.”
Hilary Weston Writers’ Trust Prize for Nonfiction was awarded to Candace Savage for A Geography Of Blood: Unearthing Memory From A Prairie Landscape. The jury citation describes the book as a “part-memoir, part history, part geological survey, part lament, part condemnation of the accepted myth of the settlement of the Western Plains, and above all, a haunting meditation on time and place.” Place a hold on the library copy today.