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Three Nova Scotians among 2019 Governor General's Literary Awards finalists

Nova Scotians Sydney Smith, Jo Treggiari and Hannah Moscovitch are among the finalists announced Wednesday in the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards. - photos by Katariina Jarvinen,  Madeleine Kendall, Tarragon Theatre
Nova Scotians Sydney Smith, Jo Treggiari and Hannah Moscovitch are among the finalists announced Wednesday in the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards. - photos by Katariina Jarvinen, Madeleine Kendall, Tarragon Theatre

Three Nova Scotians have been nominated for Governor General’s Literary Awards.

Jo Treggiari, Sydney Smith and Hannah Moscovitch are among the finalists announced Wednesday by the Canada Council for the Arts.

Treggiari, the co-owner of Lexicon Books in Lunenburg, is a finalist in the young people’s literature text category for her psychological thriller The Grey Sisters.

Smith is a finalist in the young people's literature illustrated books category for Small in the City, the first book he has written and illustrated. He shared the prize in 2015 for the book Sidewalk Flowers.

Smith is from Halifax but has been living in Toronto with his family until recently, when he moved back to Nova Scotia.

Halifax’s Moscovitch is a finalist in the drama category for her play What a Young Wife Ought to Know. Taking place in the ’20s, the play tackles the topic of fertility rights and birth control for women in Ottawa.

After a rigorous process, peer assessment committees determined that the 70 nominated books were the best to have been published in Canada in seven categories, in French and in English, according to a news release. They stood out from among roughly 1,400 books submitted to the committees.

“By addressing issues we care about, igniting our imaginations, choosing the right words or brilliantly transposing a story into illustrations, the 2019 Governor General’s Literary Awards finalists stoke the fire not only of our shared cultural life, but of our individual lives, as well,” said Simon Brault, director and CEO of the Canada Council, in the release.

“They represent the richness, strength and excellence of Canadian literature.”

The 14 winners will be announced on Oct. 29. On Dec. 12, Julie Payette, governor general of Canada, will host a ceremony to celebrate the winners at Rideau Hall in Ottawa.

Founded in 1936, the Governor General’s Literary Awards are one of Canada’s oldest literary award programs, with a total annual prize value of $450,000. The Canada Council for the Arts has funded, administered and promoted the awards since 1959.

Finalists are selected by category-specific, language-based peer assessment committees (seven in English and seven in French), who consider eligible books published between Sept. 1, 2018 and Sept. 30, 2019 for English-language books, and between July 1, 2018 and June 30, 2019 for French-language books.

Each winner receives $25,000, with the publisher receiving $3,000 to promote the winning book. Finalists receive $1,000 each.

The 2019 English-language finalists are:

Fiction

Eye – Marianne Micros (Guelph, Ont.), Guernica Editions

Five Wives – Joan Thomas (Winnipeg), Harper Avenue/HarperCollins Publishers

Late Breaking – K.D. Miller (Toronto), Biblioasis

The Innocents – Michael Crummey (St. John's), Doubleday Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

The Student – Cary Fagan (Toronto), Freehand Books

Poetry

Holy Wild – Gwen Benaway (Toronto), Book*hug

How to Avoid Huge Ships – Julie Bruck (San Francisco), Brick Books

St. Boniface Elegies – Catherine Hunter (Winnipeg), Signature Editions

The Grand River Watershed: A Folk Ecology – Karen Houle (Guelph), Gaspereau Press

Treaty # – Armand Garnet Ruffo (Kingston), Buckrider Books/Wolsak and Wynn Publishers

Drama

1 Hour Photo – Tetsuro Shigematsu (North Vancouver), Talonbooks

Other Side of the Game – Amanda Parris (Toronto), Playwrights Canada Press

Thanks for Giving – Kevin Loring (Ottawa), Talonbooks

The Fighting Season – Sean Harris Oliver (Vancouver), Scirocco Drama/J. Gordon Shillingford Publishing

What a Young Wife Ought to Know – Hannah Moscovitch (Halifax), Playwrights Canada Press

Non-Fiction

City of Omens: A Search for the Missing Women of the Borderlands – Dan Werb (Toronto), Bloomsbury

Fryderyk Chopin: A Life and Times – Alan Walker (Ancaster, Ont.), Farrar, Straus and Giroux

Sea Trial: Sailing After My Father – Brian Harvey (Nanaimo, B.C.), ECW Press

Tiny Lights for Travellers – Naomi K. Lewis (Calgary), University of Alberta Press

To the River: Losing My Brother – Don Gillmor (Toronto), Random House Canada/Penguin Random House Canada

Young People’s Literature – Text

Break in Case of Emergency – Brian Francis (Toronto), HarperCollins Publishers

Cold White Sun – Sue Farrell Holler (Grande Prairie, Alta.), Groundwood Books

Girl of the Southern Sea – Michelle Kadarusman (Toronto), Pajama Press

Stand on the Sky – Erin Bow (Kitchener, Ont.), Scholastic Canada

The Grey Sisters – Jo Treggiari (Lunenburg), Penguin Teen/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

Albert's Quiet Quest – Isabelle Arsenault (Montreal), Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

Birdsong – Julie Flett (Vancouver), Greystone Books

How to Give Your Cat a Bath – Nicola Winstanley and John Martz (Hamilton/Toronto), Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

King Mouse – Cary Fagan and Dena Seiferling (Toronto/Calgary), Tundra Books/Penguin Random House Canada Young Readers

Small in the City – Sydney Smith (Halifax), Groundwood Books

Translation (from French to English)

887 – Translated by Louisa Blair (Quebec City), House of Anansi Press; translation of 887 by Robert Lepage, Éditions Québec Amérique

Birds of a Kind – Translated by Linda Gaboriau (Montreal), Playwrights Canada Press; translation of Tous des oiseaux by Wajdi Mouawad, Leméac/Actes Sud-Papiers

Synapses – Translated by Pablo Strauss (Quebec City), Talonbooks; translation of Synapses by Simon Brousseau, Le Cheval d'août

The Embalmer – Translated by Rhonda Mullins (Montreal), Coach House Books; translation of L'embaumeur by Anne-Renée Caillé, Héliotrope

Vi – Translated by Sheila Fischman (Montreal), Random House Canada/Penguin Random House Canada; translation of Vi by Kim Thúy, Éditions Libre Expression

2019 French-language finalists (seven categories)

Fiction

La Minotaure – Mariève Maréchale (Montreal), Triptyque, Groupe Nota bene

La terre – Sylvie Drapeau (Montreal), Leméac Éditeur

Le drap blanc – Céline Huyghebaert (Montreal), Le Quartanier

Maisons fauves – Éléonore Goldberg Montreal), Triptyque, Groupe Nota bene

Mina parmi les ombres – Edem Awumey (Gatineau, Que.), Les Éditions du Boréal

Poetry

Fastes – Chloé Savoie-Bernard (Montreal), L'Hexagone, Groupe Ville-Marie Littérature

La cuisine mortuaire – Louise Marois (Saint-Venant-de-Paquette, Que.), Triptyque, Groupe Nota bene

La part habitée du ciel – Michel Létourneau (Rivière-du-Loup, Que.), Écrits des Forges

Le tendon et l'os – Anne-Marie Desmeules (Lévis, Que.), L'Hexagone, Groupe Ville-Marie Littérature

Portages – Louis-Thomas Plamondon (Montreal), La Peuplade

Drama

ColoniséEs – Annick Lefebvre (Montreal), Dramaturges Éditeurs

Et si un soir – Lisa L'Heureux (Ottawa), Éditions Prise de parole

Havre – Mishka Lavigne (Gatineau, Que.), Les Éditions L'Interligne

La nuit du 4 au 5 – Rachel Graton (Montreal), Dramaturges Éditeurs

La vie utile précédé de Errance et tremblements – Evelyne de la Chenelière (Montreal), Les Herbes rouges

Non-Fiction

Cartographie des vivants – Sarah Brunet Dragon (Mont-Saint-Hilaire, Que.), Les Éditions du Noroît

Clin d'œil au Temps qui passe – Antonine Maillet (Montreal ), Leméac Éditeur

La prose d'Alain Grandbois. Ou lire et relire Les voyages de Marco Polo – Patrick Moreau (Montreal), Nota bene

La Société des grands fonds – Daniel Canty (Montreal), La Peuplade

Le droit du plus fort : nos dommages, leurs intérêts – Anne-Marie Voisard (Montreal), Les Éditions Écosociété

Young People’s Literature – Text

Au carrefour – Jean-François Sénéchal (Saint-Lambert, Que.), Leméac Éditeur

Dans le cœur de Florence – Lucie Bergeron (Quebec City), Soulières éditeur

L'albatros et la mésange – Dominique Demers (Montreal), Éditions Québec Amérique

Mon cœur après la pluie – Pierre Labrie (Longueuil, Que.), Soulières éditeur

Où est ma maison? – Édith Bourget (Saint-Jacques, N.B.), Les éditions du soleil de minuit

Young People’s Literature – Illustrated Books

Contacts – Mélanie Leclerc (Saint-Lazare, Que.), Mécanique générale

Jack et le temps perdu – Stéphanie Lapointe and Delphie Côté-Lacroix (Montreal), Quai no 5, Les Éditions XYZ

L'escapade de Paolo – Lucie Papineau and Lucie Crovatto (Longueuil/Quebec City), Les Éditions de la Bagnole

Laurent, c'est moi! – Stéphanie Deslauriers and Geneviève Desprès (Notre-Dame-de-l'Île-Perrot/Saint-Lambert, Que.), Fonfon

Le pelleteur de nuages – Simon Boulerice and Josée Bisaillon (Montreal), la courte échelle

Translation (from English to French)

L'animal langage : la compétence linguistique humaine – Translated by Nicolas Calvé (Montreal)

Les Éditions du Boréal; translation of The Language Animal: The Full Shape of the Human Linguistic Capacity by Charles Taylor, Harvard University Press

Le Yiddish à l'usage des pirates – Translated by Lori Saint-Martin and Paul Gagné (Montreal)

Les Éditions du Boréal; translation of Yiddish for Pirates by Gary Barwin, Vintage Canada

Nous qui n'étions rien – Translated by Catherine Leroux (Montreal)

Éditions Alto; translation of Do Not Say We Have Nothing by Madeleine Thien, Knopf Canada

Onze jours en septembre – Translated by Sophie Voillot (Montreal)

Les Éditions du Boréal; translation of Lost in September by Kathleen Winter, Knopf Canada

Pilleurs de rêves – Translated by Madeleine Stratford (Ottawa)

Les Éditions du Boréal; translation of The Marrow Thieves by Cherie Dimaline, DCB/Cormorant Books

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