The Governor General’s Literary Awards are given annually to the best English-language and the best French-language book in each of the seven categories of Fiction, Literary Non-fiction, Poetry, Drama, Young People’s Literature (Text), Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books) and Translation (from French to English). The shortlist was announced earlier this month and we've got a healthy number on nominees this year. Congrats to all of our nominees, and good luck!
Behind so much of what we take for granted in the world of instantaneous communication towers Guglielmo Marconi. Thanks to his wireless system, which came into full use about a century ago, the cables that had constrained communication, slowing the exchange of news and information, disappeared. News and information could be transmitted almost everywhere, instantaneously. Ships could communicate with other ships (which saved at least some of the passengers on the RMS Titanic), financial markets could coordinate with other financial markets, and military commanders could maintain contact with front-line troops. Through a combination of skill, luck, vision, and timing, Marconi popularized-and, more critically, patented-a radio system that profoundly and irrevocably changed the way the world communicated.
Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World
By Marc Raboy
Oxford University Press
YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE - TEXT:
"A story threaded with shimmering vibrance and beauty, A Thousand Nights will weave its spell over readers' hearts and leave them captivated long after the final tale has been told." -Alexandra Bracken, New York Times best-selling author of The Darkest Minds series
Lo-Melkhiin killed three hundred girls before he came to her village, looking for a wife. When she sees the dust cloud on the horizon, she knows he has arrived. She knows he will want the loveliest girl: her sister. She vows she will not let her be next.
And so she is taken in her sister's place, and she believes death will soon follow. Lo-Melkhiin's court is a dangerous palace filled with pretty things: intricate statues with wretched eyes, exquisite threads to weave the most beautiful garments. She sees everything as if for the last time.But the first sun rises and sets, and she is not dead. Night after night, Lo-Melkhiin comes to her and listens to the stories she tells, and day after day she is awoken by the sunrise. Exploring the palace, she begins to unlock years of fear that have tormented and silenced a kingdom. Lo-Melkhiin was not always a cruel ruler. Something went wrong.
Far away, in their village, her sister is mourning. Through her pain, she calls upon the desert winds, conjuring a subtle unseen magic, and something besides death stirs the air.
Back at the palace, the words she speaks to Lo-Melkhiin every night are given a strange life of their own. Little things, at first: a dress from home, a vision of her sister. With each tale she spins, her power grows. Soon she dreams of bigger, more terrible magic: power enough to save a king, if she can put an end to the rule of a monster.
A Thousand Nights
By E. K. Johnston
LBYR/Hachette Book Group
YOUNG PEOPLE'S LITERATURE - ILLUSTRATED:
When an ice storm snaps a small girl’s favorite branch from the tree in her yard, she won’t let it be hauled away. To her, it wasn’t just any branch, “It was my castle, my spy base, my ship . . .” Her neighbor Mr. Frank agrees. He says the branch has “potential,” and the two get to work transforming what was broken into something whole and new, to be enjoyed again and again.
By Mireille Messier & Pierre Pratt
Kids Can Press/Hachette Book Group
BEST TRANSLATION (ENGLISH to FRENCH):
The year is 1996, and small-town life for 14-year-old Catherine is made up of punk rock, skaters, shoplifting, and the ghost of Kurt Cobain. Her parents are too busy divorcing to pay her headful of unspent angst much attention. But after she tries mess - a PCP variant - for the first time, her budding rebellion begins to spiral out of control.
Universally acclaimed as the modern-day coming-of-age story for a generation of Québécois youth growing up in the 1990s, Géneviève Pettersen's award-winning debut novel both shocked and titillated readers in its original French, who quickly ordained it a contemporary classic and a runaway bestseller.
Anaïs Barbeau-Lavalette, the hotly tipped Québécois director behind Inch-Allah (2012), is currently adapting the story to film. Now Esplanade Books is honored to present The Goddess of Fireflies to English readers for the first time in a powerful translation from award-winning novelist Neil Smith, author of Boo and Bang Crunch.
The Goddess of Fireflies
By Genevieve Pettersen / Neil Smith
(all from Playwrights Canada Press, distributed by University of Toronto Press)
Prosper is a fisherman trying to get by in the face of everyday problems: there’s the spectre of the baby his wife desires, the ghost of his dead mistress, his wife’s secret admirer, and the overwhelming lure of the village bar. When a slippery eel salesman arrives in town peddling progress to the rural community, Prosper’s list of problems only increases. Faced with an invasive new species in his lake, his fortunes decline along with the fish population, and Prosper gets a lesson in gift horses and generosity.
A Man A Fish is a part of the 54ology, inspired by events in Burundi.
A Man A Fish
By Donna-Michelle St. Bernard
Concord Floral is a one-million-square-foot abandoned greenhouse and a refuge for neighbourhood kids; a place all to themselves in which to dream, dare, and come of age. But hidden there is a secret no one wants to confront, and when two friends stumble upon it they set off an unstoppable chain of events, from shadows in parking lots to phone calls from the grave. It's time for the teens of Concord Floral to start talking.
By Jordan Tannahill
When Joey enters puberty, his father Jake finds himself in a morally ambiguous position. Joey is severely disabled, but he still has the same sexual desires as any seventeen-year-old boy, only he can’t do anything to relieve the tension. Jake is a widower whose life is devoted to his son, but when he suddenly develops a serious medical condition, he becomes the one to rely on the people around him, including his sister Twyla, his friend Robyn, and Joey’s best friend Rowdy. As Jake’s condition worsens, an ethical dilemma troubles the household as everyone is forced to consider the possibility of saying goodbye.
Kill Me Now
By Brad Fraser
At 4:00 a.m. on a secluded farm, a woman fights to take her life back from a serial killer as her desperate sister and a haunted police officer reach across time and distance in an attempt to rescue her.
By Colleen Murphy
Ayinom, a former soldier from Eritrea, has arrived in Canada without papers, and seeks refugee status. Seen through the eyes of the couple that take him in and the lawyer who represents him, the play lays bare some of the shortfalls of the refugee system as it exists in Canada today. Refuge combines verbatim text from CBC radio interviews with the fictional world of the characters to create a work with uncommon resonance and verisimilitude.
By Mary Vingoe