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Shortlist for Toronto Book Awards includes previous winners Dionne Brand, Cary Fagan

Dionne Brand (Jason Chow)

The shortlist has been announced for the Toronto Book Awards, which celebrates work evocative of Toronto. The shortlisted books are:

  • Be With: Letters to a Caregiver, Mike Barnes (Biblioasis)
  • Reproduction, Ian Williams (Random House Canada)
  • The Student, Cary Fagan (Freehand Books)
  • Theory, Dionne Brand (Knopf Canada)
  • This Country of Mine, Didier Leclair; Elaine Kennedy, trans. (Deux Voiliers Publishing)

The five authors will receive $1,000 each, and the winning book will receive an additional $10,000. The winner will be announced at the Toronto Book Awards’ annual event, to be hosted by CBC Radio host Matt Galloway on Oct. 2. Tickets are free to the public and can be reserved on Sept. 11 through the Toronto Public Library website.

The writers on the shortlist are familiar names on Canada’s literary prize circuit. Cary Fagan and Dionne Brand have both previously won the Toronto Book Award, in 1991 and 2006 respectively. Reproduction is the first novel from poet Ian Williams and was also a finalist for the Amazon Canada First Novel Award. Mike Barnes won the Danuta Gleed Award for his 1999 short-story collection Aquarium.

This Country of Mine was originally published in French in 2004 but the English translation by Ottawa translator Elaine Kennedy wasn’t published until last December. All of the shortlisted authors will appear at the Word on the Street book and magazine festival in Toronto on Sept. 22.

The shortlist was chosen by the Toronto Book Awards committee, which includes journalist Sarah Hagi, poet Canisia Lubrin, journalist Vicky Mochama, author Damian Tarnopolsky, and editor Daniel Viola.