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2007 Governor General's Literary Awards Finalists Announced!

Tuesday, Oct 16, 2007 at 2:48pm

The Canada Council for the Arts has just announced the finalists for the 2007 Governor General's Literary Awards. Notable big-name nominees include Michael Ondaatje, M. G. Vassanji, Barbara Gowdy and Margaret Atwood.

The winners will be announced on Tuesday, Nov. 27 at 10 a.m. EST at La Grande Bibliothèque de Bibliothèque et Archives nationales du Québec, in Montreal.


  • David Chariandy, Vancouver, for Soucouyant
  • Barbara Gowdy, Toronto, for Helpless
  • Michael Ondaatje, Toronto, for Divisadero
  • Heather O’Neill, Montreal, for Lullabies for Little Criminals
  • M.G. Vassanji, Toronto, for The Assassin’s Song


  • Margaret Atwood, Toronto, for The Door: Poems
  • Don Domanski, Halifax, for All Our Wonder Unavenged
  • Brian Henderson, Kitchener (ON), for Nerve Language
  • Dennis Lee, Toronto, for Yesno: Poems
  • Rob Winger, Ottawa, for Muybridge’s Horse: A Poem in Three Phases


  • Salvatore Antonio, Markham (ON), for In Gabriel’s Kitchen
  • Anosh Irani, North Vancouver, for The Bombay Plays: The Matka King and Bombay Black
  • Rosa Laborde, Toronto, for Leo
  • Colleen Murphy, Toronto, for The December Man (L’homme de décembre)
  • Morris Panych, Vancouver, for What Lies Before Us


  • Rodrigo Bascuñán and Christian Pearce, Toronto, for Enter the Babylon System: Unpacking Gun Culture from Samuel Colt to 50 Cent
  • John English, Kitchener (ON), for Citizen of the World: The Life of Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Volume One: 1919-1968
  • Stephanie Nolen, Johannesburg, South Africa (formerly of Montreal), for 28: Stories of AIDS in Africa
  • Karolyn Smardz Frost, Collingwood (ON), for I’ve Got a Home in Glory Land: A Lost Tale of the Underground Railroad
  • Bridget Stutchbury, Woodbridge (ON), for Silence of the Songbirds: How We Are Losing the World’s Songbirds and What We Can Do to Save Them

Children’s Literature – Text

  • Hugh Brewster, Toronto, for Carnation, Lily, Lily, Rose: The Story of a Painting
  • Christopher Paul Curtis, Windsor (ON), for Elijah of Buxton
  • Iain Lawrence, Gabriola Island (BC), for Gemini Summer
  • John Wilson, Lantzville (BC), for The Alchemist’s Dream
  • Eva Wiseman, Winnipeg, for Kanada

Children’s Literature – Illustration

  • Wallace Edwards, Yarker (ON), for The Painted Circus
  • Joanne Fitzgerald, Orton (ON), for The Blue Hippopotamus, text by Phoebe Gilman based on a story by Joan Grant
  • Jirina Marton, Toronto, for Marja’s Skis, text by Jean E. Pendziwol
  • Dušan Petričić, Toronto, for My New Shirt, text by Cary Fagan
  • Duncan Weller, Thunder Bay (ON), for The Boy from the Sun

For the complete list (including French-language categories and book descriptions) click here.

Categories: Awards, buzz

More articles from books



- by David Chariandy

Trade paperback $19.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $17.96

By the award-winning author of Brother
Finalist, Governor General's Literary Award for Fiction
Longlisted for the Scotiabank Giller Prize
Longlisted for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
Winner, ForeWord Magazine Book of the Year Award (GOLD), Literary Fiction
Shortlisted for Ethel Wilson Fiction Prize (BC Book Prizes)
Shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book
Shortlisted for City of Toronto Book Award
Shortlisted for the In Canada First Novel Award
Shortlisted for the ReLit Award, Best Novel
Shortlisted for One Book, One Vancouver
Featured on CBC's "Between the Covers"

A soucouyant is an evil spirit in Caribbean folklore, and a symbol here of the distant and dimly remembered legacies that continue to haunt the Americas. This extraordinary first novel set in Ontario, in a house near the Scarborough Bluffs, focuses on a Canadian-born son who despairingly abandons his Caribbean-born mother suffering from dementia. The son returns after two years to confront his mother but also a young woman who now mysteriously occupies the house. In his desire to atone for his past and live anew, he is compelled to imagine his mother's life before it all slips into darkness--her arrival in Canada during the early sixties, her childhood in Trinidad during World War II, and her lurking secret that each have tried to forget. Luminously poetic, Soucouyant marks the arrival of a major new literary talent in Canada.

German-language rights sold to Suhrkamp
French-language rights sold to Editions Zoe
Albanian-language rights sold to Shkupi (Macedonia)
Film option sold to Ian Harnarine and Jon Malkiel

Lullabies for Little Criminals

- by Heather O'neill

Trade Paperback $20.95 - Add to Cart

Heather O'Neill's critically acclaimed debut novel, with a new introduction from the author to celebrate its ten-year anniversary

Baby, all of thirteen years old, is lost in the gangly, coltish moment between childhood and the strange pulls and temptations of the adult world. Her mother is dead; her father, Jules, is scarcely more than a child himself and is always on the lookout for his next score. Baby knows that "chocolate milk" is Jules' slang for heroin and sees a lot more of that in her house than the real thing. But she takes vivid delight in the scrappy bits of happiness and beauty that find their way to her, and moves through the threat of the streets as if she's been choreographed in a dance.

Soon, though, a hazard emerges that is bigger than even her hard-won survival skills can handle. Alphonse, the local pimp, has his eye on her for his new girl--and what the johns don't take he covets for himself. If Baby cannot learn to become her own salvation, his dark world threatens to claim her, body and soul.

Channeling the artlessly affecting voice of her thirteen-year-old heroine with extraordinary accuracy and power, Heather O'Neill's debut novel blew readers away when it was first published ten years ago. Now it's sure to capture its next decade of readers as Baby picks her pathway along the edge of the abyss to arrive at a place of redemption, and of love.

Featuring a new introduction from the author

CBC Canada reads winner, Paragraphe Hugh MacLennan Prize for Fiction winner, Orange Prize for Fiction finalist, Governor General's Literary Award finalist, International Impac Dublin Literary Award finalist

Praise for Lullabies for Little Criminals

"A vivid portrait of life on skid row."--People

"A nuanced, endearing coming-of-age novel you won't want to miss."--Quill And Quire

"Vivid and poignant. . . . A deeply moving and troubling novel."--The Independent (London)

"O'Neill is a tragicomedienne par excellence. . . . You will not want to miss this tender depiction of some very mean streets."--Montreal Review of Books


- by Dennis Lee

Trade paperback $18.95 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $17.06

A stunning collection of poetry by one of our most beloved and renowned poets, Yesno is a companion volume to the much-praised Un (Anansi, 2003), and continues Dennis Lee's urgent poetic project, which is to grapple with the question of the earth's and humankind's future. But where the earlier book concentrated on the deadly impasse to which we humans have brought the planet, Yesno is lighter and more playful, canvassing the possibility of hope. It explores an ethic of yesno, simultaneously embracing pessimism and hope. In the author's own words: "Before I began Yesno, I thought it would be a pendulum swing from Un, moving from bleakness to hope. But the poems kept misfiring, sounding forced. Eventually, I realized the task was more complex. Namely, to articulate a world in which the demolition derby and the possibility of living more constructively in the natural order are both real. And at once. So, not just no; not just yes; but yesno."

Citizen of the World

- by John English

Trade paperback $26.00 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $23.40

One of the most important, exciting biographies of our time: the definitive, major two-volume biography of Pierre Elliott Trudeau - written with unprecedented, complete access to Trudeau's enormous cache of private letters and papers.

Bestselling biographer John English gets behind the public record and existing glancing portraits of Trudeau to reveal the real man and the multiple influences that shaped his life, providing the full context lacking in all previous biographies to-date.

As prime minister between 1968 and 1984, Trudeau, the brilliant, controversial figure, intrigued Canadians and attracted international attention as no other Canadian leader has ever done. Volume One takes us from his birth in 1919 to his election as leader in 1968.

Born into a wealthy family in Montreal, Trudeau excelled at the best schools, graduating as a lawyer with conservative, nationalist and traditional Catholic views. But always conscious of his French-English heritage, desperate to know the outside world, and an adventurer to boot, he embarked on a pilgrimage of discovery - first to Harvard and the Sorbonne, then to the London School of Economics and, finally, on a trip through Europe, the Middle East, India and China. He was a changed man when he returned - socialist in his politics, sympathetic to labour, a friend to activists and writers in radical causes. Suddenly and surprisingly, he went to Ottawa for two mostly unhappy years as a public servant in the Privy Council Office. He frequently shocked his colleagues when, on the brink of a Quebec election, for example, he departed for New York or Europe on an extended tour. Yet in the 1950s and 60s, he wrote the most important articles outlining his political philosophy.

And there were the remarkable relationships with friends, women and especially his mother (whom he lived with until he was middle-aged). He wrote to them always, exchanging ideas with the men, intimacies with the women, especially in these early years, and lively descriptions of his life. He even recorded his in-depth psychoanalysis in Paris. This personal side of Trudeau has never been revealed before - and it sheds light on the politician and statesman he became.

Volume One ends with his entry into politics, his appointment as Minister of Justice, his meeting Margaret and his election as leader of the Liberal Party and Prime Minister of Canada. There, his genius and charisma, his ambition and intellectual prowess, his ruthlessness and emotional character and his deliberate shaping of himself for leadership played out on the national stage and, when Lester B. Pearson announced his retirement as prime minister in 1968, there was but one obvious man for the job: Pierre Trudeau.

In 1938 Trudeau began a diary, which he continued for over two years. It is detailed, frank, and extraordinarily revealing. It is the only diary in Trudeau's papers, apart from less personal travel diaries and an agenda for 1937 that contains some commentary. His diary expresses Trudeau's own need to chronicle the moments of late adolescence as he tried to find his identity. It begins on New Year's Day 1938 with the intriguing advice: "If you want to know my thoughts, read between the lines!"
-from Citizen of the World

Elijah of Buxton

- by Christopher Paul Curtis

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Master storyteller Christopher Paul Curtis lends his trademark humour and vibrant narrative style to the gripping tale of eleven-year-old Elijah Freeman. The first child born into freedom in Buxton, Ontario, a settlement of runaway slaves just over the border from Detroit, Elijah is best known in his hometown as the boy who threw up on Frederick Douglass. Not on purpose, of course he was just a baby then! But things change when a former slave calling himself the Right Reverend Zephariah W. Connerly the Third steals money from Elijah's friend Mr. Leroy, who has been saving to buy his family out of captivity in the South. Elijah joins Mr. Leroy on a dangerous journey to America in pursuit of the disreputable preacher, and he discovers firsthand the unimaginable horrors of the life his parents have fled a life from which he'll always be free, if he can find the courage to get back home. Exciting yet evocative, heart-wrenching yet hilarious, Elijah of Buxton is Christopher Paul Curtis at his very best and it's an unforgettable testament to the power of hope.

My New Shirt

- by Cary Fagan, Dusan Petricic

Hardcover $22.99 - Add to Cart
Reader Reward Price: $20.69

Receiving the yearly birthday gift from his grandmother has become David's living nightmare. The "surprise" she always has for him never varies. How can he stop this never-ending flow of stiff, white, scratchy shirts -- "perfect gentlemen" shirts that make him squirm and pull and shift and twitch? David closes his eyes and imagines a long line of shirts -- one for every year of his life -- stretching on forever. Then suddenly, without really intending to, he has done the unthinkable.

"DAVID!" his mother screams. And when David opens his eyes, there are his mother, his father, and his bubbie staring at him. The shirt is no longer in his hands. He has thrown it out the window! Now it is out on the street, in the jaws of his dog, and the very merry chase is on.

Bitingly funny and keenly observed, My New Shirt is graphically presented as a photo album commemorating David's desperate act of liberation from a family tradition badly in need of a change.