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Governor General's Literary Award Winners Announced, including Honours for Book*hug, Playwrights Canada, & Groundwood Books

gg books 2019

From a poetic exploration of Indigenous trans identity to the keenly imagined story of a brave young girl and her eagle friend, the 2019 winners of the Governor General's Literary Awards span numerous storytelling modes and traditions to bring unforgettable characters and powerful themes to the page. 

The longest running books prizes in Canada - the awards have been presented since 1936 - announced their winners today, with each talented author receiving $25,000 from the Canada Council for the Arts as part of their prize. The winners will be feted at a gala dinner at Rideau Hall in Ottawa on December 12, hosted by Her Excellency the Right Honourable Julie Payette, Governor General of Canada.

After a shortlist featuring a heavy presence of independent presses, the final winners' list clocks in at a balance of half international houses and half Canadian-owned (the latter being represented by Book*hug, and Groundwood Books, and Playwrights Canada Press, with Playwrights Canada earning awards in both the Drama and Translation categories).

In total, over 1,400 books were submitted for consideration across all seven categories in both French and English.

2019 English-language Governor General's Literary Award winners:

  • Fiction: Five Wives by Joan Thomas (Harper Avenue/HarperCollins Publishers)
  • Poetry: Holy Wild by Gwen Benaway (Book*hug)
  • Drama: Other Side of the Game by Amanda Parris (Playwrights Canada Press)
  • Non-Fiction: To the River: Losing My Brother by Don Gillmor (Random House Canada/Penguin Random House Canada)
  • Young People’s Literature – Text: Stand on the Sky by Erin Bow (Scholastic Canada)
  • Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books: Small in the City by Sydney Smith (Groundwood Books)
  • Translation (from French to English): Birds of a Kind, Translated by Linda Gaboriau (Playwrights Canada Press); translation of Tous des oiseaux by Wajdi Mouawad (Leméac/Actes Sud-Papiers)

Congratulations to the winners, shortlisted authors, and their publishers! For more information, including the French language winners, please visit the GG Books website