Home Arts Canadian authors honored in 75th edition of the Governor General’s Literary Awards

Canadian authors honored in 75th edition of the Governor General’s Literary Awards

by Andria Caputo October 9, 2012
Canadian authors honored in 75th edition of the Governor General’s Literary Awards

Just in time for fall, the selection committee for one of Canada’s most prestigious literary awards, the Governor General award, announced its list of finalists.

Among that shortlist is Concordia’s own David McGimpsey, nominated for his book of poetry, Li’l Bastard.

The award is given to English and French Canadian authors in six different categories: fiction, non-fiction, poetry, drama, children’s literature (text and illustration) and translation. The winners in each category will receive $25,000, a specially bound copy of their book, and literary glory.

McGimpsey, who has been teaching in Concordia’s English Department for 12 years, released his book, Lil’ Bastard, with Coach House Books back in 2011. The book is divided into eight parts, each one inspired by things such as Montreal, country music, and the television show Barnaby Jones. His work strays from the conventional path of poetry, giving readers a refreshing mix of humor and melancholy in his 16-line sonnets.

A Montreal native, McGimpsey loves to travel and he’s often visited Los Angeles and Nashville, cities that feature prominently in his poems.

“The book is about being comfortable in almost all places,” he said. One section of his book entitled “Nashville Songs” uses songwriting and lyric techniques to mirror his appreciation for country music.

In his writing, McGimpsey finds a pleasant medium between humor and the more conventional seriousness of poetry. With his many portrayals of city life, McGimpsey contrasts some serious themes like the poem “movement of the individual and the maintenance of what is inside that individual” with some less serious, more funny themes. He said, “I want my reader to laugh at things.”

When asked if this set him apart from other poets, McGimpsey was reluctant to say yes, but as many poetry readers will know, it is sometimes hard to find a serious poet who can crack jokes and still be nominated for a government literary award.

This year, McGimpsey is nominated alongside many other well deserving Canadian authors. Despite the tight competition, the GG’s are a great way for Canada to recognize and honor great homegrown talents and offer readers a selection of authors to discover.

The winners will be announced Nov. 13 and the awards ceremony will take place Nov. 28 in Ottawa at Rideau Hall.

The Shortlist:


  • Tamas Dobozy, Kitchener, Ont., Siege 13
  • Robert Hough, Toronto, Dr. Brinkley’s Tower
  • Vincent Lam, Toronto, The Headmaster’s Wager
  • Carrie Snyder, Waterloo, Ont., The Juliet Stories
  • Linda Spalding, Toronto, The Purchase


  • Julie Bruck, San Francisco, Calif. (originally from Montréal), Monkey Ranch
  • David McGimpsey, Montreal, Li’l Bastard
  • A. F. Moritz, Toronto, The New Measures
  • Lisa Pasold, Toronto, Any Bright Horse
  • James Pollock, Madison, Wis. (originally from Southern Ontario),Sailing to Babylon


  • Catherine Banks, Sambro, N.S., It is Solved by Walking
  • Trina Davies, Vancouver, The Romeo Initiative
  • Karen Hines, Calgary, Drama: Pilot Episode
  • Cathy Ostlere and Dennis Garnhum, Calgary, Lost: A Memoir
  • Anusree Roy, Toronto, Brothel #9


  • Nahlah Ayed, Toronto, A Thousand Farewells: A Reporter’s Journey from Refugee Camp to the Arab Spring
  • Carol Bishop-Gwyn, Toronto, The Pursuit of Perfection: A Life of Celia Franc
  • Wade Davis, Vancouver, Into the Silence: The Great War, Mallory, and the Conquest of Everest
  • Ross King, Woodstock, U.K. (originally from North Portal, Sask.), Leonardo and the Last Supper
  • Noah Richler, Toronto, What We Talk About When We Talk About War

Children’s Literature — Text

  • Rachel Hartman, Vancouver, Seraphina
  • Deborah Kerbel, Thornhill, Ont., Under the Moon
  • Susin Nielsen, Vancouver, The Reluctant Journal of Henry K. Larsen
  • Judd Palmer, Victoria, B.C., The Umbrella
  • Allan Stratton, Toronto, The Grave Robber’s Apprentice

Children’s Literature — Illustration

  • Isabelle Arsenault, Montréal, Virginia Wolf, text by Kyo Maclear
  • Renné Benoit, St. Thomas, Ont., Big City Bees, text by Maggie de Vries
  • Jon Klassen, Los Angeles (originally from Niagara Falls, Ont.), House Held Up by Trees, text by Ted Kooser
  • David Parkins, Lansdowne, Ont., In the Bag! Margaret Knight Wraps it Up, text by Monica Kulling
  • Barbara Reid, Toronto, Picture a Tree, text by Barbara Reid

Translation – French to English

  • Sheila Fischman, Montréal, Ru. English translation of Ru by Kim Thúy (Éditions Libre Expression, Groupe Librex, a Quebecor Media company)
  • Michael Gilson, Saint-Lambert, Que., Mafia Inc.: The Long, Bloody Reign of Canada’s Sicilian Clan. English translation of Mafia inc. Grandeur et misère du clan sicilien au Québec by André Cédilot and André Noël
  • John Murrell, Calgary, The Small Room at the Top of the Stairs &Thinking of Yu. English translation of La petite pièce en haut de l’escalier and Je pense à Yu, suivi de Entrefilet by Carole Fréchette (Leméac Éditeurs / Actes Sud)
  • Nigel Spencer, Montréal, Mai at the Predators’ Ball.English translation of Mai au bal des prédateurs by Marie-Claire Blais (Les Éditions du Boréal
  • Shelley Tepperman, Montréal, The List.English translation of La liste by Jennifer Tremblay (Les Éditions de la Bagnole)

French-language finalists:


  • Ryad Assani-Razaki, Montréal, La main d’Iman
  • Charles Bolduc, Montréal, Les truites à mains nues
  • France Daigle, Moncton, N.B., Pour sûr
  • Catherine Mavrikakis, Montréal, Les derniers jours de Smokey Nelson
  • Audrée Wilhelmy, Montréal, Oss


  • Corinne Chevarier, Montréal, Anatomie de l’objet
  • Fredric Gary Comeau, Montréal, Souffles
  • Hélène Dorion, Sherbrooke, Que. Cœurs, comme livres d’amour
  • Christian Saint-Germain, Montréal, Tomahawk
  • Maude Smith Gagnon, Montréal, Un drap. Une place.


  • Geneviève Billette, Montréal, Contre le temps
  • Simon Boudreault, Montréal, D pour Dieu?
  • Fabien Cloutier, city of Québec, Billy [Les jours de hurlement]
  • Evelyne de la Chenelière, Montréal, La chair et autres fragments de l’amour
  • Philippe Ducros, Montréal, Dissidents


  • Normand Chaurette, Montréal, Comment tuer Shakespeare
  • Pierre Nepveu, Montréal, Gaston Miron : la vie d’un homme
  • Pascal Riendeau, Toronto, Méditation et vision de l’essai : Roland Barthes, Milan Kundera et Jacques Brault
  • Yannick Roy, Montréal, La révélation inachevée : le personnage à l’épreuve de la vérité romanesque

Children’s Literature – Text

  • Aline Apostolska, Montréal, Un été d’amour et de cendres
  • Biz, Montréal, La chute de Sparte
  • Louise Bombardier, Montréal, Quand j’étais chien, illustrations by Katty Maurey
  • Camille Bouchard, city of Québec, Le coup de la girafe
  • François Gravel, Montréal,

Children’s Literature – Illustration

  • Marion Arbona, Montréal, Lapin-Chagrin et les jours d’Elko, text by Sylvie Nicolas
  • Manon Gauthier, Montréal, Giroflée Pois-Cassé, text by Marie-Danielle Croteau
  • Élise Gravel, Montréal, La clé à molette, text by Élise Gravel
  • Émilie Leduc, Montréal, La ronde des mois, text by Émilie Leduc
  • Katty Maurey, Montréal, Quand j’étais chien, text by Louise Bombardier

Translation (English to French)

  • Sophie Cardinal-Corriveau, Montréal, Un adieu à la musique.French translation of Carolan’s Farewell by Charles Foran
  • Dominique Fortier, Montréal, Une maison dans les nuages. French translation of The Prophet’s Camel Bell by Margaret Laurence
  • Alain Roy, Montréal, Glenn Gould.French translation of Glenn Gould by Mark Kingwell (Penguin Group Canada)
  • Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, Montréal, Irma Voth. French translation of Irma Voth by Miriam Toews (Alfred A. Knopf Canada)
  • Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné, Montréal, La petite cousine de Freud. French translation of Distantly Related to Freud by Ann Charney


Related Articles

Leave a Comment