News and Interviews

"Our Culture Depends on our Literature" - Governor General's Literary Award Shortlists Released

Canada Council Director and CEO Simon Brault had strong and encouraging words for writers and publishers in Canada upon the release of the 2017 Governor General's Literary Award shortlists yesterday, saying, "Our culture depends on our literature, which does us proud around the world.”

From 1,475 titles submitted for consideration in both English and French, 70 books have been selected as the best of 2017. The 81 year old prize program awards $25,000 to the winner in each category. We're excited to present the English language shortlists here today.


  • All the Beloved Ghosts – Alison MacLeod (Brighton, UK) Penguin Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
  • Lost in September – Kathleen Winter (Montreal) Alfred A. Knopf Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
  • The Water Beetles – Michael Kaan (Winnipeg) Goose Lane Editions
  • Uncertain Weights and Measures – Jocelyn Parr (Montreal) Goose Lane Editions
  • We'll All Be Burnt in Our Beds Some Night – Joel Thomas Hynes (St. John’s, N.L.) HarperCollins Publishers


  • All the Names Between – Julia McCarthy (Upper Kennetcook, N.S.) Brick Books
  • On Not Losing My Father's Ashes in the Flood – Richard Harrison (Calgary) Buckrider Books / Wolsak and Wynn Publishers
  • Selah – Nora Gould (Consort, Alta.) Brick Books
  • Slow War – Benjamin Hertwig (Vancouver) McGill-Queen's University Press
  • What the Soul Doesn't Want – Lorna Crozier (North Saanich, B.C.) Freehand Books


  • 1979 – Michael Healey (Toronto) Playwrights Canada Press
  • Indian Arm – Hiro Kanagawa (Port Moody, B.C.) Playwrights Canada Press
  • The Colony of Unrequited Dreams – Robert Chafe (St. John’s, N.L.) Playwrights Canada Press
  • The Virgin Trial – Kate Hennig (Stratford, Ont.) Playwrights Canada Press
  • Within the Glass – Anna Chatterton (Hamilton, Ont.) Scirocco Drama / J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing


  • All We Leave Behind: A Reporter's Journey into the Lives of Others – Carol Off (Toronto) Random House Canada / Penguin Random House Canada
  • The Handover: How Bigwigs and Bureaucrats Transferred Canada's Best Publisher and the Best Part of our Literary Heritage to a Foreign Multinational – Elaine Dewar (Toronto) Biblioasis
  • The Way of the Strangers: Encounters with the Islamic State – Graeme Wood (Connecticut, U.S.) Random House / Penguin Random House
  • Where I Live Now: A Journey through Love and Loss to Healing and Hope – Sharon Butala (Calgary) Simon and Schuster Canada
  • Where It Hurts – Sarah de Leeuw (Kelowna, B.C.) NeWest Press

Young People’s Literature (Text):

  • Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined – Danielle Younge-Ullman (Toronto) Razorbill / Penguin Canada Books
  • Hit the Ground Running – Alison Hughes (Edmonton, Alta.) Orca Books Publishers
  • The Marrow Thieves – Cherie Dimaline (Toronto) Dancing Cat Books / Cormorant Books
  • The Way Back Home – Allan Stratton (Toronto) Scholastic Canada
  • Those Who Run in the Sky – Aviaq Johnston (Iqaluit, Nunavut) Inhabit Media

Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books):

  • Short Stories for Little Monsters – Marie-Louise Gay (Montreal) Groundwood Books
  • The Tragic Tale of the Great Auk – Jan Thornhill (Havelock, Ont.) Groundwood Books
  • Town Is by the Sea – Joanne Schwartz / Sydney Smith (Toronto / Toronto) Groundwood Books
  • When the Moon Comes – Paul Harbridge / Matt James (Toronto /Toronto) Tundra Books / Penguin Random House Canada
  • When We Were Alone – David Alexander Robertson / Julie Flett (Winnipeg / Vancouver) HighWater Press

Translation (French to English):

  • Brothers – Katia Grubisic (Saint-Laurent, Que.) QC Fiction / Baraka Books; translation of Frères by David Clerson, Les Éditions Héliotrope
  • In Search of New Babylon – W. Donald Wilson (Baden, Ont.) Talonbooks; translation of À la recherche de New Babylon by Dominique Scali, La Peuplade
  • Readopolis – Oana Avasilichioaei (Montreal) BookThug; translation of Lectodôme by Bertrand Laverdure, Le Quartanier
  • Social Myths and Collective Imaginaries – Howard Scott (Montreal) University of Toronto Press; translation of Raison et déraison du mythe by Gérard Bouchard, Les Éditions du Boréal
  • The Longest Year – Pablo Strauss (Quebec City) House of Anansi Press; translation of L'année la plus longue by Daniel Grenier, Le Quartanier

Congratulations to all the nominated writers and publishers! We'll be announcing the winners in all categories on November 1, so be sure to visit Open Book to find out who won.