Governor General's Literary Award Winners

Each year, the Governor General’s Literary Awards (the GGs) honour the best in Canadian literature. As Canada’s national literary awards, the GGs represent the rich diversity of Canadian literature and its authors, translators and illustrators.

2015 Fiction Winner

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    No. 1

    Daddy Lenin And Other Stories

    by Guy Vanderhaeghe

    Bestselling author Guy Vanderhaeghe’s new book of fiction is both timely and timeless and showcases his supreme talent as a storyteller and poignant observer of the human condition. Among these nine addictive and resonant stories: A teenage boy breaks out of the strict confines of his family, his bid for independence leads him in over his head. He learns about life in short order and there is no turning back. An actor’s penchant for hiding behind a role, on and off stage, is tested to the limits and what he comes to discover finally places him face to face with the truth. With his mother hospitalized for a nervous condition and his father away on long work stints, a boy is sent to another family for his meals. His gradually building relationship with a teenage daughter who has been left handicapped from Polio opens unexpected doors to the world. In the powerful title story, a middle-aged man remeets his former adviser at university, a charismatic and domineering professor dubbed Daddy Lenin. As their tense reunion progresses, secrets from the past painfully revise remembered events and threaten to topple the scaffolding of a marriage. With Daddy Lenin and Other Stories , award-winning author Guy Vanderhaeghe returns once again to the form that launched his stellar literary career. Here is a grand master writing at the height of his powers.

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2015 Fiction Shortlist

2015 Non-Fiction Winner

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    No. 1

    Bee Time: Lessons From The Hive

    by Mark L. Winston

    Being among bees is a full–body experience, Mark Winston writes. Bee Time presents his reflections on three decades spent studying these remarkable creatures, and on the lessons they can teach about how humans might better interact with one another and the natural world, from the boardroom to urban design to agricultural ecosystems.

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2015 Non-Fiction Shortlist

2015 Kids' Winners

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    No. 1

    Sidewalk Flowers

    by JonArno Lawson

    Winner of the Governor General''s Literary Award for Children''s Illustrated Book A New York Times Best Illustrated Children''s Book of the Year In this wordless picture book, a little girl collects wildflowers while her distracted father pays her little attention. Each flower becomes a gift, and whether the gift is noticed or ignored, both giver and recipient are transformed by their encounter. "Written" by award-winning poet JonArno Lawson and brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith, Sidewalk Flowers is an ode to the importance of small things, small people and small gestures.

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    No. 2

    The Gospel Truth

    by Caroline Pignat

    2015 Governor General''s Literary Award Winner!! Award-winning author Caroline Pignat's new historical novel recreates the world of a Virginia tobacco plantation in 1858. Through the different points of view of slaves, their masters and a visiting bird-watcher the world of the plantation comes to live in this verse novel. Phoebe belongs to Master Duncan and works in the plantation kitchen. She sees how the other slaves are treated — the beatings and whippings, the disappearances. She hasn't seen her mother since Master Duncan sold her ten years ago. But Phoebe is trying to learn words and how to read and when she is asked to show the master's Canadian visitor, Doctor Bergman, where he can find warblers and chickadees she starts to see things differently. And Doctor Bergman has more in mind that just drawing the local birds. Phoebe's friend Shad works on the plantation as well — but mostly he worries about his brother Will. His brother is the last member of his family and he is determined to escape from the master and the tobacco plantation. He has already been caught and beaten more than once. And the stories about life in Canada can't be true, can they? How does a man survive without the master there taking care of everything? Author Caroline Pignat was interviewed by CanLit for LittleCanadians blog about The Gospel Truth and the Governor General''s finalist announcement. Click here to see the interview .

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2015 Kids Literature & Illustrated Shortlist

2015 Poetry Winner

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    No. 1

    My Shoes Are Killing Me

    by Robyn Sarah

    Winner of the 2015 Governor General?s Award for Poetry Winner of the 2015 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry In My Shoes are Killing Me , poet Robyn Sarah reflects on the passing of time, the fleetingness of dreams, and the bittersweet pleasure of thinking on the ?hazardous ? treasurehouse? that is the past. Natural, musical, meditative, warm, and unexpectedly funny, this is a restorative and moving collection from one of Canada?s most well-regarded poets.

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2015 Poetry Shortlist

2015 French-to-English Translation Winner

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    No. 1

    Twenty-one Cardinals

    by Jocelyne Saucier

    From the author and translator of And the Birds Rained Down , a 2015 CBC Canada Reads selection WINNER OF THE 2015 GOVERNOR GENERAL''S LITERARY AWARD FOR FRENCH-TO-ENGLISH TRANSLATION An abandoned mine. A large family driven by honour. And a source of pain, buried deep in the ground. We''re nothing like other families. We are self-made. We are an essence unto ourselves, unique and dissonant, the only members of our species. Livers of humdrum lives who flitted around us got their wings burned. We''re not mean, but we can bare our teeth. People didn''t hang around when a band of Cardinals made its presence known. With twenty-one kids, the Cardinal family is a force of nature. And now, after not being in the same room for decades, they''re congregating to celebrate their father, aprospector who discovered the zinc mine their now-deserted hometown in northern Quebec was built around. But as the siblings tell the tales of their feral childhood, we discover that Angèle, the only Cardinal with a penchant for happiness, has gone missing - although everyone has pretended not to notice for years. Why the silence? What secrets does the mine hold? ''Rhonda Mullins'' translation of Twenty-One Cardinals expertly embodies the multiple voices inJocelyne Saucier''s complex novel. More than inhabiting the world of one writer, Mullins single-handedly performs the roles of an entire cast of characters. As a translator, her virtuosic deftness is in the restrained power of her writing.'' -Jury citation for the 2015 GG Literary Award Praise for the French edition of Twenty­-One Cardinals : ''With its explosive, poignant, funny and tragic story andmemorable characters, Les heritiers de la mine is an important novel ... Through the destiny of this large family, the author talks about Abitibi, where she lives, and of its broken dreams and cheated workers, the blind power of multinationals,the disappearance of villages and families decimated. Her protagonists have the makings of heroes, the stuff to withstand adversity; they may be local heroes, but their fight is universal.'' - Voir (translated from the French)

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2015 French-to-English Shortlist