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Ivan Coyote, David A. Robertson, and Rachel Cusk among finalists for Governor General’s Literary Awards

The finalists for the 2021 Governor General’s Literary Awards were announced on Oct. 14. Each of the 70 shortlisted authors receives $1,000, with the winners in each category to receive $25,000. The publishers of the winners are awarded $3,000 to promote the winning book. Winners will be announced on Nov. 17 at ggbooks.ca.

This is the second announcement this calendar year, after the 2020 awards schedule was delayed because of the pandemic.


  • Fictional Father, Joe Ollmann (Drawn & Quarterly)
  • Home Waltz, G. A. Grisenthwaite (Palimpsest Press)
  • Second Place, Rachel Cusk (Harper Perennial/HarperCollins Canada)
  • Tainna: The Unseen Ones, Norma Dunning (Douglas & McIntyre)
  • You Are Eating an Orange. You Are Naked., Sheung-King (Book*hug Press)


  • A History of the Theories of Rain, Stephen Collis (Talonbooks)
  • A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure, Hoa Nguyen (Wave Books)
  • Sulphurtongue, Rebecca Salazar (McClelland & Stewart)
  • The Junta of Happenstance, Tolu Oloruntoba (Anstruther Books/Palimpsest Press)
  • The Untranslatable I, Roxanna Bennett (Gordon Hill Press)


  • Crippled, Paul David Power (Breakwater Books)
  • Selfie, Christine Quintana (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Sexual Misconduct of the Middle Classes, Hannah Moscovitch (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Take d Milk, Nah?, Jivesh Parasram (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Two Indians, Falen Johnson (Scirocco Drama/J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing)


  •  alfabet/alphabet: a memoir of a first language, Sadiqa de Meijer (Anstruther Books/Palimpsest Press)
  • Care of: Letters, Connections, and Cures, Ivan Coyote (McClelland & Stewart)
  • Revery: A Year of Bees, Jenna Butler (Wolsak and Wynn Publishers)
  • The Day the World Stops Shopping, J.B. MacKinnon (Random House Canada)
  • What I Remember, What I Know: The Life of a High Arctic Exile, Larry Audlaluk (Inhabit Media)

Young People’s Literature – Text

  • Blood Like Magic, Liselle Sambury (Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster)
  • Firefly, Philippa Dowding (DCB/Cormorant Books)
  • Peter Lee’s Notes from the Field, Angela Ahn (Tundra Books)
  • The Fabulous Zed Watson!, Basil Sylvester and Kevin Sylvester (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Unravel, Sharon Jennings (Red Deer Press)

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

Translation (from French to English)

  • A Cemetery for Bees, translated by Katia Grubisic (Linda Leith Publishing)
    Translation of Le cimetière des abeilles, Alina Dumitrescu
  • Paul at Home, translated by Helge Dascher and Rob Aspinall (Drawn & Quarterly) Translation of Paul à la maison, Michel Rabagliati
  • People, State, and War Under the French Regime in Canada, translated by Peter Feldstein (McGill-Queenʼs University Press)
    Translation of Le Peuple, lʼÉtat et la Guerre au Canada sous le Régime français, Louise Dechêne
  • The Lover, the Lake, translated by Susan Ouriou (Freehand Books)
    Translation of Lʼamant du lac, Virginia Pesemapeo Bordeleau
  • This Radiant Life, translated by Erín Moure (Book*hug Press)
    Translation of La vie radieuse, by Chantal Neveu

The seven French-language finalists are listed on ggbooks.ca.