The winners of the Governor General Literary Awards for 2014 were announced recently. The winners were:
Fiction: Thomas King for The Back of the Turtle
This is Thomas King's first literary novel in 15 years and follows on the success of the award-winning and bestselling The Inconvenient Indian and his beloved Green Grass, Running Water and Truth and Bright Water, both of which continue to be taught in Canadian schools and universities. Green Grass, Running Water is widely considered a contemporary Canadian classic. In The Back of the Turtle, Gabriel returns to Smoke River, the reserve where his mother grew up and to which she returned with Gabriel's sister. The reserve is deserted after an environmental disaster killed the population, including Gabriel's family, and the wildlife. Gabriel, a brilliant scientist working for Domidion, created GreenSweep, and indirectly led to the crisis. Now he has come to see the damage and to kill himself in the sea. But as he prepares to let the water take him, he sees a young girl in the waves. Plunging in, he saves her, and soon is saving others. Who are these people with their long black hair and almond eyes who have fallen from the sky? Filled with brilliant characters, trademark wit, wordplay and a thorough knowledge of native myth and story-telling, this novel is a masterpiece by one of our most important writers.
Non-Fiction: Michael Harris for The End of Absence: Reclaiming what we've lost in a world of constant connection
Only one generation in history (ours) will experience life both with and without the Internet. For everyone who follows us, online life will simply be the air they breathe. Today, we revel in ubiquitous information and constant connection, rarely stopping to consider the implications for our logged-on lives. Michael Harris chronicles this massive shift, exploring what we've gained-and lost-in the bargain. In this eloquent and thought-provoking book, Harris argues that our greatest loss has been that of absence itself-of silence, wonder and solitude. It's a surprisingly precious commodity, and one we have less of every year. Drawing on a vast trove of research and scores of interviews with global experts, Harris explores this "loss of lack" in chapters devoted to every corner of our lives, from sex and commerce to memory and attention span. The book's message is urgent: once we've lost the gift of absence, we may never remember its value.
Poetry: Arleen Paré for Lake of Two Mountains
Drama: Jordan Tannahill for Age of Minority: three solo plays
Three of Jordan Tannahill's fresh and riveting works are featured in this collection, including Get Yourself Home Skyler James , Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes , and rihannaboi95 . Based on a true story, Get Yourself Home Skyler James follows the harrowing journey of a young lesbian who defects from the army when she is outed by fellow soldiers. Peter Fechter: 59 Minutes chronicles the last hour of Peter Fechter's life, a teenager in East Berlin shot while attempting to cross the Berlin Wall in 1962 with his companion. Finally, the award-winning rihannaboi95 centers around a Toronto teen whose world comes crashing in when YouTube videos of him dancing to songs by his favourite pop heroine go viral. Together these solo plays explore the lives of three queer youth and their resilience in the face of violence and intolerance. #147;#133;one of Canada's most promising young independent theatre artists."#151;Alison Broverman, Toronto Star Jordan Tannahill is a Toronto-based playwright, director, and filmmaker. Through his company Suburban Beast, he has developed and presented plays at theatres including Buddies in Bad Times, Canadian Stage, Theatre Passe Muraille, and the Theatre Centre. Jordan is the 2011 recipient of the Inside Out Film Festival's Emerging Canadian Artist Award, the 2011 Ken McDougall Award for Emerging Directors, and the 2012 Enbridge playRites Award. He runs a storefront theatre called Videofag in Toronto's Kensington Market with his partner William.
Children's Literature-Text: Raziel Reid for When Everything feels like the Movies
An edgy and extravagant YA novel about a glamorous boy named Jude. School is just like a film set: there's The Crew, who make things happen, The Extras who fill the empty desks, and The Movie Stars, whom everyone wants tagged in their Facebook photos. But Jude doesn't fit in. He's not part of The Crew because he isn't about to do anything unless it's court-appointed; he's not an Extra because nothing about him is anonymous; and he's not a Movie Star because even though everyone know his name like an A-lister, he isn't invited to the cool parties. As the director calls action, Jude is the flamer that lights the set on fire. Before everything turns to ashes from the resulting inferno, Jude drags his best friend Angela off the casting couch and into enough melodrama to incite the paparazzi, all while trying to fend off the haters and win the heart of his favourite co-star Luke Morris. It's a total train wreck! But train wrecks always make the front page.
Children's Literature-Illustration: Jillian Tamaki for This One Summer
Rose and Windy are summer friends whose families have visited Awago Beach for as long as they can remember. But this year is different, and they soon find themselves tangled in teen love and family crisis. From the creators of Skim comes an investigation into the mysterious world of adults. Sure, Rose's dad is still making cheesy and embarrassing jokes, but her mother is acting like she doesn't even want to be there. Plus, being at the cottage isn't just about going to the beach anymore. Now Rose and Windy are spending a lot of their time renting scary movies and spying on the teenagers who work at the corner store, as well as learning stuff about sex no one mentioned in health class. Pretty soon everything is messed up. Rose's father leaves the cottage and returns to the city, and her mother becomes more and more withdrawn. While her family is falling to pieces, Rose focuses her attention on Dunc, a teenager working at the local corner store. When Jenny, Dunc's girlfriend, claims to be pregnant, the girls realize that the teenagers are keeping just as many secrets as the adults in their lives. No one seems to want to talk about the things that matter. When the tension between Dunc and Jenny boils over, Jenny makes a desperate and destructive move and Rose's mother is galvanized into action. In the aftermath, nothing is completely resolved, but secrets have been aired, which means that things are at least a bit better for everyone. For Rose and Windy, the end of summer brings the realization that, while Awago Beach might always be the same, they have both been changed forever. From Mariko Tamaki and Jillian Tamaki, creators of the multi-award-winning graphic novel Skim, comes a stunning and authentic story of friendship, illustrated with subtly heart-breaking moments and pure summer joy.
Translation -French to English: Peter Feldstein for Paul-Émile Borduas : A critical biography