The winners of the Governor General’s Award, a Canadian literature prize that delivers C$25,000 to authors in seven categories (in both English and French), were announced Tuesday by Simon Brault, director and CEO of Canada Council for the Arts. The winner in the fiction category was Thomas King, for The Back of the Turtle (HarperCollins Canada), his first novel in 15 years.
The peer assessment committee for the fiction category consisted of Peter Behrens, Elaine McCluskey, and Uma Parameswaran. “The Back of the Turtle is a novel that joins Thomas King’s mythopoeic vision to his writerly grasp of an actual, sensual world,” the committee said in a joint statement.
It’s been quite the year for King, who also won two major awards for his previous book, The Inconvenient Indian: A Curious Account of Native People in North America (Doubleday Canada): the C$40,000 B.C. National Award for Canadian Nonfiction and the C$25,000 RBC Taylor Prize for Nonfiction. In addition, Daniel Poliquin’s French translation of that book, L'Indien malcommode: un portrait inattendu des Autochtones d'Amérique du Nord (Les Éditions du Boréal), won the Governor General’s Award for Translation (English to French).
HarperCollins Canada had another book among the winners, as Michael Harris’s The End of Absence: Reclaiming What We've Lost in a World of Constant Connection, took the nonfiction prize. The publisher of each winning book receives C$3,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts, to support promotional activities, while the remaining authors on the shortlist, in each category, receive C$1,000 each.
The awards will be presented November 26, by Gov. Gen. David Johnston in a ceremony at Rideau Hall in Ottawa. Here are the remaining winners in the English-language categories:
Poetry | Poésie
Arleen Paré, Lake of Two Mountains (Brick Books)
Drama | Théâtre
Jordan Tannahill, Age of Minority: Three Solo (Plays Playwrights Canada Press)
Children’s Literature (Text)
Raziel Reid, When Everything Feels like the Movies (Arsenal Pulp Press)
Children’s Literature (Illustration)
Jillian Tamaki, This One Summer, text by Mariko Tamaki (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press)