The 2010 Canadian Literary Award Wrap-Up

With the holiday season quickly approaching and the award season mostly wrapped up many people turn to winners of these prominent literary awards to make their book selections for loved ones; that being said I wanted to post a list of many of the “big ones”, with a few of my own thoughts on this years crop of winners of course.

2010 could be described, for the most part, as the year of the first time winner or underdog. Most notably in this list is this year’s Giller winner Johanna Skibsrud’s surprise win over fellow finalists. The Sentimentalists, with it’s small initial print run of only 800 copies, quickly became the hardest book in the country to find. Ian Brown, with his great memoir The Boy in the Moon, beat out a pantheon of literary heavyweights including Margaret Atwood, Alice Munro, and Anne Michaels to take this year’s Trillium Prize. Robert Chafe took home the GG for Drama over well known dramatists like Michael Healey and the legendary Judith Thompson. And, possibly most shocking to me, Linda Gaboriau defeated the legendary translators Sheila Fischman, who had two nominations this year, and 2008 winner Lazer Lederhendler. The biggest heartbreaker of the year has to go to Kathleen Winter for her novel Annabel; this novel was up for the trifecta of the Giller, Writers’ Trust, and the GG, but eventually came out empty handed.

I don’t want to over analyze this years winning list too much, instead I think we should take a moment to reflect on the great depth and talent of our homegrown and adopted literary talent, both new and seasoned. I have listed below many of the major awards, both national and international, that consider Canadian works, please note that not all of these winners are from within our borders (i.e. Booker, IMPAC, etc.). Enjoy and happy shopping.


The Winners

Scotiabank Giller Prize – Johanna Skibsrud, The Sentimentalists

Roger’s Writers’ Trust Fiction Prize – Emma Donoghue, Room

Governor-General’s Award for Fiction – Dianne Warren, Cool Water

Governor-General’s Award for Poetry – Richard Greene, Boxing the Compass

Governor-General’s Award for Drama – Robert Chafe, Afterimage

Governor-General’s Award for Non-fiction – Allan Casey, Lakeland: Journeys into the Soul of Canada

Governor-General’s Award for French-to-English Translation – Linda Gaboriau, Forests (Wajdi Mouawad, Forêts)

Canada Reads –  Nicolas Dickner, Nikolski (trans. Lazer Lederhendler)

Atlantic Poetry Prize -Tonja Gunvaldsen Klaassen, Lean-To

Evelyn Richardson Memorial Literary Prize for Non-fiction – John DeMont, Coal Black Heart: The Story of Coal and the Lives it Ruled

Thomas Head Raddall Atlantic Fiction Prize – Douglas Arthur Brown, Quintet in Canada First Novel Award – Jessica Grant, Come, Thou Tortoise

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best Book, Canada and Caribbean Region – Michael Crummey, Galore

Commonwealth Writers’ Prize Best First Book, Canada and Caribbean Region – Shandi Mitchell, Under This Unbroken Sky

Griffin Poetry Prize, Canada – Karen Solie, Pigeon

International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award – Gerbrand Bakker, The Twin

Man Booker Prize – Howard Jacobson, The Finkler Question

Stephen Leacock Memorial Medal for Humour – Will Ferguson, Beyond Belfast

Trillium Book Award – Ian Brown, The Boy in the Moon

Trillium Book Award for Poetry – Karen Solie, Pigeon

Dartmouth Book Award – Linden MacIntyre, The Bishop’s Man

Toronto Book Award – Mark Sinnett, The Carnivore

One response

  1. Ah, fantastic summary post! I’ll have to put it in one of my LitBits. 🙂

    I too was disappointed for Annabel. I thought it not only well-written but a significant contribution to literary fiction.

    Still have to read Galore, and I keep waffling back and forth over The Finkler Question, but I loved the Carnivore and Beyond Belfast! Ferguson is…addictive.

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