News and Interviews

Governor General's Literary Award Nominees Announced with More Good News for Madeleine Thien!

2016 marks the staggering 80th anniversary of the Governor General's Literary Awards. The shortlists, announced today, are interesting ones this year, with the fiction list especially notable for its cohesion with the other major fiction lists of the year. The GG fiction shortlist features five writers, each of whom also appears on either (but not both of) the the Scotiabank Giller Prize shortlist or the Rogers Writers' Trust Fiction Prize shortlist. Gary Barwin and Madeleine Thien (whose Do Not Say We Have Nothing also appears on this year's Man Booker Prize shortlist) appear on the former, while Anosh Irani, Kerry Lee Powell, and Katherena Vermette appear on the latter.

Catherine Leroux's Le mur mitoyen, translated by Lazer Lederhendler and nominated for the Giller Prize, appears on the GG shortlist for translation. Conversely, there is no overlap at all in non-fiction, with the GG list and the Hilary Weston Writers' Trust Prize for Nonfiction list not sharing any titles. 

The $25,000 awards will be presented at an event in Ottawa on October 25, 2016. Administered by the Canada Council for the Arts, the Governor General's Literary Awards have honoured nearly 700 works by over 500 authors, poets, playwrights, translators and illustrators, during their 80-year lifespan. It's a fascinating anniversary year, and we look forward to bringing you the announcement of the 2016 winners!

The Full List of 2016 Governor General's Literary Award Nominees:


  • Gary Barwin for Yiddish for Pirates (Random House Canada/Penguin Random House Canada)
  • Anosh Irani for The Parcel (Alfred A. Knopf Canada/Penguin Random House Canada)
  • Kerry Lee Powell for Willem de Kooning’s Paintbrush (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Madeleine Thien for Do Not Say We Have Nothing (Alfred A. Knopf Canada/Penguin Random House Canada)
  • Katherena Vermette for The Break (House of Anansi Press)


  • Kamal Al-Solaylee for Brown: What Being Brown in the World Today Means (To Everyone) (HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Teva Harrison for In-Between Days: A Memoir About Living with Cancer (House of Anansi Press)
  • Harold R. Johnson for Firewater: How Alcohol is Killing My People (and Yours) (University of Regina Press)
  • Marc Raboy for Marconi: The Man Who Networked the World (Oxford University Press)
  • Bill Waiser for A World We Have Lost: Saskatchewan Before 1905 (Fifth House Publishers)


  • Joe Denham for Regeneration Machine (Nightwood Editions)
  • Steven Heighton for The Waking Comes Late (House of Anansi Press)
  • Susan Holbrook for Throaty Wipes (Coach House Books)
  • Garry Thomas Morse for Prairie Harbour (Talonbooks)
  • Rachel Rose for Marry & Burn (Harbour Publishing)

Young People’s Literature (Text)

  • Mikaela Everett for The Unquiet (Greenwillow Books/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • E.K. Johnston for A Thousand Nights (Hyperion/Disney Book Group)
  • Trilby Kent for Once in a Town Called Moth (Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada)
  • Martine Leavitt for Calvin (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press) 
  • Tim Wynne-Jones for The Emperor of Any Place (Candlewick Press)

Young People’s Literature (Illustrated Books)

  • Jo Ellen Bogart and Sydney Smith for The White Cat and the Monk (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press)
  • Lucy Ruth Cummins for A Hungry Lion or A Dwindling Assortment of Animals (Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon & Schuster)
  • Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka for Tokyo Digs a Garden (Groundwood Books/House of Anansi Press) 
  • Mireille Messier and Pierre Pratt for The Branch (Kids Can Press)
  • Esmé Shapiro for Ooko (Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada) 


  • Brad Fraser for Kill Me Now (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Colleen Murphy for Pig Girl (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Donna-Michelle St. Bernard for A Man A Fish (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Jordan Tannahill for Concord Floral (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Mary Vingoe for Refuge (Scirocco Drama/J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing)

Translation (French to English)

  • Lazer Lederhendler for The Party Wall (Biblioasis); translation of Le mur mitoyen by Catherine Leroux (Éditions Alto)
  • Rhonda Mullins for Guano (Coach House Books); translation of Guano by Louis Carmain (Éditions de l’Hexagone)
  • Neil Smith for The Goddess of Fireflies (Véhicule Press); translation of La déesse des mouches à feu by Geneviève Pettersen (Le Quartanier)